Professional Identity & Vision

Professional Identity

I am a feminist design researcher who stays with the trouble of a problem instead of creating solutions. This means that I research the entanglements between humans and emerging technologies and their effects. I craft designs that help me research troubles and engage with humans and non-humans. The designs are created to be used as a research tool, not sold. 

Crafting, for me, means having an artefact in mind but being open to refining its appearance and functionality during the making process. I apply additive manufacturing techniques, textile making techniques, and electronic skills to create these artefacts. I strive to explore new techniques to express my thoughts and involve people in a project, which sometimes means making a tablecloth, a 3D-printed artefact, or a website. This striving for exploration derives from a general sense of curiosity and critical thinking. I am always curious about how something works, whether in the digital or physical realm. I am a critical thinker, and I will always ask why. This makes me boil down the reasons someone could have and understand the underlying pattern. It helps me to find ways to reimagine a different path to walk. 

All this helps me communicate with people. I am a very open, honest, and sensitive person. My skills are to empathise with people and ask questions that might not seem obvious. I can create a safe space in interviews because I truly care about my participant’s feelings.

At the bottom, you can see photos of networking moments and presentations. At CHI, I met Elizabeth Churchill, senior director at Google. The other image was taken during a workshop about applying more-than-human methodologies in industry. Lastly, an image of me co-hosting the Prompt Battle at TU/e.

Vision

In the current era, it is challenging to envision a world free of technology. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the extent to which we are intertwined with it in our interconnected society. Our daily activities generate massive amounts of data, much of which is collected and used in ways over which we have little control. Corporations use this data to forecast our behaviour, tastes, and probable purchases, forming a digital reflection of ourselves. Surprisingly, these beings appear to know more about us than we do about them.

In the middle of this, institutions such as the European Union are making noteworthy efforts to protect our digital rights while promoting a sense of empowerment. However, while these actions are critical, they are slow and insufficient on their own. 

Users of these systems should be able to understand the complexity and entanglements of behaviour altering systems in their lives. I think that artists and designers might have a key role in making these entanglements understandable and offering design alternatives for practitioners. Designers are equipped with tools and methods that can bring them closer to the core of what humans long for. Pairing this with meaningful and responsible design alternatives, the future could look differently. Data scientists and technologists could help implement them on a large scale and make them robust for the future. As there is a tendency towards protection of privacy among people with knowledge about these issues, I believe that everyone should have the right to data privacy. 

As technology develops, the complexity is getting more difficult to grasp as well. Some designers have the skills to understand the technical background of technology, its potential, and ways of implementing it. I believe that those designers are well equipped to create responsible solutions.