Capacity to Care In A Multispecies Future

Wed, March 29, 2023, 1pm

“Making worlds is not limited to humans…humans shape multi species worlds when our living arrangements make room for other species.”
––Anna Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World

Capacity to Care in a Multi-Species Future grew out of MDP discussions around emerging topics at the intersections of cultural anthropology, ecology, and material sciences, and gave rise to the question: How can design and research make a significant contribution to the topic of care in a multi-species future?

It brings the mindset of giving “trust” to nature and generating “care” in cultures. With attention to colossal waste, social inequities, and many more anthropocentric issues. How do designers and researchers work towards uplifting voices of the unheard? How do culture and nature inform the process of designing and researching? What will be the role of emerging technologies?

Capacity to Care in a Multi-Species Future features core faculty and principle of RCD/LA Sean Donahue, and design researcher, storyteller, and educator focusing on social justice Iris Luo.

Sean Donahue
Sean Donahue is internationally recognized for his social justice driven design research. He is core faculty of ArtCenter College of Design's Graduate Media Design Practices program and principal of RCD/LA, his award-winning California based Design studio. Sean's work focuses on 21st Century Global challenges in local contexts, engaging marginalized communities through design in some of the most exciting and complicated parts of the world. His work has been included in the Cooper Hewitt National Design Triennial, the permanent collection of the Smithsonian and recently awarded the title of Design Fellow at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art, London. MFA, Media Design, ArtCenter College of Design. BFA, Graphic Design, Indian University of Pennsylvania.

Iris Luo
Iris Luo is a design researcher, storyteller, and educator focusing on social justice. Her academic background includes arts administration and critical human rights studies. She has studied and worked in China, the United States, and Guatemala. Iris views design as a critical tool for driving social innovation, and her work is deeply rooted in the local context. Her research intersects critical design, participatory art, decolonized civic pedagogy, and sustainable business analysis. Through her research, Iris explores topics such as self-organizing communities, intercultural collaboration, post-trauma healing, cultural identification and representation, and the autonomy of marginalized groups. Her work particularly emphasizes indigenous peoples in rural Latin America and ethnic minorities in China.

Justine Esquivel
Justine (she/her) is a researcher, designer, educator and artist dedicated to collaboratively reimagining and redefining how we care for ourselves and each other in order to move forward into a more inclusively care-full reality. Justine blends her background in ethnography, design, storytelling and business to lead health/care clients and their teams through design + research processes and practices. Previously, she was part of IDEO’s Health Studio where she led research and projects, including creating digital support services for people living with ovarian cancer, making in-home dialysis more accessible and rethinking internal brand messaging for a large biotech company. She has also worked as a Geopolitical Researcher at Microsoft, has been part of social documentary production teams, taught English in Argentina, and was based in Kigali, Rwanda while researching eHealth capacity building efforts in Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique. She served as a Board Member of the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence in Seattle.


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