DESIS Discussion Group


Social media as enabling or interrupting engagement with the natural


Discussion Poster web

Emily Carr University’s DESIS group will be hosting a discussion group Mar 23, 2015.

In this hour long critical debate, we will endeavor to understand undergraduate design student’s perception around indirect engagement with nature through technology. Technology does act as a barrier to the real but also enables access to the natural without disturbing the environment.

If you have any questions about this event please contact discussion lead Lisa Boulton:


Who is Social?

who is social.3

Who is Social?  Dialogues in a more-than-human world.

This DESIS initiative researches how social innovation can encompass more than humans. “Who is Social?” is rooted in the understanding that survival on this living, breathing planet is contingent on embracing our relationship with the entirety of the living and non-living world.

‘Who is Social’ brings people into conversation with sentient and non-sentient beings. Animist theory suggests that this conversation is not verbal; it is an embodied communication, situated in haptic, intuitive, sensuous physical space 1. Dialogues in a more-than-human world build capacities for multi-modal, embodied understandings.

Earth-centered religions, aboriginal wisdom, animism, deep ecology, gaia theory, and physics affirm that the earth is alive and always evolving. Many indigenous cultures respect wisdom across a spectrum of granite, cedar and fox. Buddhist religions also acknowledge the life force of sentient and non-sentient beings.

Over recent centuries in contemporary Western society, the relationship between humans and the more-than-human world has ruptured 2; this has fostered the growth of belief systems that permit damage to ecosystems that formerly sustained a diversity of life forms.

‘Who is Social’ seeks to re-engage people with natural world; what does social innovation look like if we engage with the entirety of the ecosphere?

1. Abram, David. 2010. Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. 1st ed. New York: Pantheon Books.

2. Worthy, Kenneth. 2013. Invisible Nature: Healing the Destructive Divide between People and the Environment. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books.

Post-Growth Fashion Dialogues

Emily Carr faculty Hélène Day Fraser recently attended the Local Wisdom dialogue about the craft of use and post-growth fashion, March 2014, at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Day Fraser’s papers on post-growth fashion are pending publication and will soon be posted on this site.local wisdom

DESIS goes to Vancouver Design Conference

Eighth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices

16-18 January 2014
UBC Robson Square
Vancouver, Canada

“Design as Collective Intelligence”

Thursday, 16 January

09:45-10:20 – Lorraine Justice
10:20-10:55 – Alex Beim
10:55-11:40 – Garden Conversation and Coffee Break, Sponsored by the Master of Design program at Emily Carr University

Friday, 17 January
09:00-09:35 – Jorge Frascara and Guillermina Noël
09:35-10:10 – Gregory Henriquez
10:10-10:55 – Garden Conversation and Coffee

Saturday, 18 January
09:00-09:35 – Bonne Zabolotney
09:35-10:10 – Tania Willard
10:10-10:55 – Garden Conversation and Coffee Break