My research and teaching raise questions around the social, ecological and material sustainability of human action, and the role of design therein.
I was born in Australia and have lived in France, Germany, Denmark, the United States, the UK and Japan. I hold a PhD from Monash University (Art, Design and Architecture), and the CSIRO (Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation / Material Science and Engineering); and an MA (Interaction Design), from the Royal College of Art, London. I do not hold an undergraduate degree. I moved to Umeå in March 2022, from Denmark, where I founded and ran the University of Southern Denmark (SDU)’s BodyBio|Soft Lab, and recently opened FoodLab. I came to academia late after a career in theatre and performance, then research and speechwriting (for two Chief Scientists of Australia and one Prime Minister). I have worked as a cook in New York, a trapezist in Paris, and have ridden a BMW GS motorbike, solo, around Australia.
In parallel to my professorship at Umeå, I maintain a partial position in the department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics at SDU in Esbjerg, where I coordinate local efforts on the FUSILLI project (fusilli-project.eu / koldingfood2030.dk), working closely with Kolding Municipality, and assisting twelve participating cities across Europe to develop and implement Food Living Lab roadmaps to transform their food systems to be more sustainable. I sit on the Academic Council of the Estonian Academy of Art, Tallin; am Associate Editor of She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics and Innovation; am on the international advisory board of the Collaborative Future-Making research platform at Malmö University, Sweden; and am a founding member of the Feeding Food Futures research collective. I currently supervise PhDs at: SDU, RMIT, KU Leuven, University of Salzburg, and Estonian Academy of Art.
My research and teaching raise questions around the social, ecological and material sustainability of human action, and the role of design therein. I use experimental methods to examine how embodied engagement with the materiality of the world can assist people in thinking in new ways; develop new possibilities for future action that can be implemented today; alternative responses to challenges we face, whether these are planetary in scale or concern the nature within us. I use performative and probiotic methods, participatory and speculative research through design, to open up new ways of thinking, through moving, making and doing. I undertake pedagogical research, to infrastructure new roles for design in the twenty-first century, including through biodesign and design with living things. At the same time, I challenge the role of designer as a maker of things, products, cultural artefacts or services, positing that the role of the designer is to examine relationships and dependencies, and do as little as possible: to leverage participatory and co-creative design methods to help people to infrastructure their own agency—to understand what they need to regenerate the world around them, sand take action o that humans and non-humans alike might flourish. Much of my research, teaching and methodological development is focused on food (from multispecies perspectives).