My research draws together theories and techniques from information science and science and technology studies to explore design done differently, from ethnographic accounts of feminist making and hacking to collaborative development of alternative infrastructure.
Maintaining the Menstruating Body
My dissertation research examines recent industry and policy initiatives aimed at extending menstrual hygiene resources, and participatory grassroots design programs operating alongside these efforts. I investigate the sociotechnical development of menstruation in these settings through both building Internet of Things (IoT) devices and facilitating collaborative design efforts. This research points to a need for infrastructures of change that support collective care and maintenance, while also accounting for existing entanglements of data, technologies and governance that structure people’s everyday experiences of hygiene access.
Published in ACM CHI, ACM DIS, and Design Issues (forthcoming).
Hacking Culture, Not (Just) Devices
This project examined the motivations, activities, and ideals of people organizing feminist hackerspaces: collaborative workspaces developed to support women’s creative and professional pursuits. Drawing on interviews, participant observation and archival data collected across the Pacific Northwest over two years, we show how members of these spaces use small-scale collaborative design and acts of making to work out their place in society in ways that contest widely accepted understandings of hacking, technology, and collaboration.
Collaborators: Daniela K. Rosner and Rachel Rose Ulgado
Published in ACM CSCW, ACM CHI, Journal of Peer Production, New Media & Society, Making Things and Drawing Boundaries: Experiments in the Digital Humanities (University of Minnesota Press), and ACM interactions.
You can find a zine about this work from artists Amy Burek and Emily Alden Foster here or within the collections of the Barnard Zine Library, the Philadelphia Public Library, Franklin & Marshall College, and others!
With this project, we collaborated with a community arts organization in Atlanta to co-design a series of public, participatory workshops focused on conceptualizing and enacting forms of citizen engagement through technology and cultural heritage. Outcomes of the workshops included an interactive, alternative asset map of the area (pictured above) and residents building their own digital cameras from component parts. By co-developing the design workshops and focusing on community members’ values and interests, we were able to initiate a partnership that placed the community’s goals first. Activities were, in turn, focused on articulating a shared notion of community identity to each other and to a broader audience for both programs of celebration and advocacy .
Collaborators: Christopher Le Dantec
Dork Posters: Parody through Design
Drawing together studies of data-driven mapping with expanding programs of research through design, we examine design parody as a technique for revealing and exploring socio-spatial exclusions both contested and propagated by social media platforms. Dork Posters is a series of satirical marketing materials — website, posters and business cards — that imitates Ork Posters (the Chicago-based design company that popularized typographic neighborhood mapping techniques) to include their representation within digital platforms (Yelp, Zillow and Car2Go). Maps for each platform represent particular Seattle neighborhoods with typographic arrangements to invite inquiry into what technology corporations make matter and where, in ways that challenge the neutrality of neighborhood-based data.
Collaborators: Meredith Lampe and Daniela K. Rosner
Published in ACM CHI.
Cybersecurity Toolkits of/for the Future
The cybersecurity toolkit—collections of digital tools, tutorials, tips, best practices, and other recommendations—has emerged as a popular approach for preventing and addressing cybersecurity threats and attacks. With this project, we seek to interrogate and inform the design and development of cybersecurity toolkits for both near-term and far-term futures. To do so we adopt a mix-methodological approach rooted in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Design. Such an approach holistically considers multiple factors of human practice and experience, including usability and human factors engineering as well as more complex and nuanced aspects such as emotional and cultural experience. While this approach is holistic in its consideration of a multiplicity of factors, it is specific in its focus on the use and design of cybersecurity toolkits.
Collaborators: James Pierce, Nick Merrill, Richmond Wong
This work is supported by the Center for Long Term Cybersecurity, at the University of California, Berkeley.
Re-examining the period app
This project examines mobile applications designed to support the documentation and quantification of menstrual cycle data. Drawing on historical analysis and applying a design-oriented lens, we challenge the ways in which these contemporary technological infrastructures are inscribed with particular histories, and invite participants to make their own sense of menstruation through a series of open activities. Respondents trouble notions of the body that configure it as wholly knowable or primarily for reproduction. Instead, they offer new types of “data” with alternative notions of the body and introduce new layers of depth and understanding to the period app protocol.
Collaborators: Amanda Menking, Jordan Eschler, and Uba Backonja