Research

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. 

 A design workshop gathering members of grassroots organizations and health workers together to imagine new policies, design, and systems meant to improve menstrual resource accessibility. 

A design workshop gathering members of grassroots organizations and health workers together to imagine new policies, design, and systems meant to improve menstrual resource accessibility. 

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 DIS and Design Issues

 
 Image from a zine about the research we conducted in feminist hackerspaces.

Image from a zine about the research we conducted in feminist hackerspaces.

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!

 
 Interactive asset map that resulted from the first Community Historians workshop.

Interactive asset map that resulted from the first Community Historians workshop.

Community Historians

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

Published in ACM CSCW and ACM DIS.

 A screenshot of the Dork Posters website, a design parody. 

A screenshot of the Dork Posters website, a design parody. 

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.

 
 The contents of a period packet, featuring craft materials for recording menstrual "data." 

The contents of a period packet, featuring craft materials for recording menstrual "data." 

Re-examining the period app

This project examines mobile applications designed to support the documentation and quantification of menstrual cycle data. Drawing on a historical and 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