The DESIS Scholarship is awarded to a graduate student each year who develops research in line with the theories and objectives of the DESIS Lab at Emily Carr University, and plays a supportive role in DESIS lab events throughout the academic year. The DESIS Scholar has direct access to DESIS Lab faculty and resources.
2021 DESIS Scholars:
Marcia Higuchi, Morgan Martino and Pat Vera
Marcia Higuchi is a communication designer and researcher from UNESP, Brazil. Her research is focused on which ways design can empower children’s ecological wisdom and political agency as future stewards in the environmental crisis.
Through a dialogical and reflexive approach, she aims to investigate the importance of storytelling, sharing how our own personal experiences brought into a broader understanding of our social relations, can affect our sense of interdependence and belonging to nature.
In her first year at Emily Carr, Marcia developed a series of cross-DESIS workshops that included participants in both the Emily Carr DESIS Lab (Vancouver), and the Rio DESIS Lab (Rio de Janeiro).
Morgan Martino is an interdisciplinary designer, researcher and facilitator, whose work focuses on building and supporting communities that can foster caring relationships, critical learning, and informed social change. Morgan’s current research practice explores how everyday material culture and designed systems inform and reflect our complex relationships to care.
During her career as a student of Industrial Design and Social Practice + Community Engagement (SPACE) at Emily Carr, Morgan has had many opportunities to foster her community practices. Through the creation of small communities such as the Mixtape Collective and Vintage Digicam Club, Morgan aimed to recontextualise perceived obsolete technologies as tools for artistic expression and alternative media engagement.
In 2020, Morgan collaborated with Naomi Boyd to be a part of the Shumka X DESIS Satellite residency, where she was able to co-develop Pocket Change; a series of workshops centering the pocket as a lens to help unpack wicked design problems. Most recently, Morgan created the Roving Designers, a place based design collective exploring how to engage in design work outside of traditional studio contexts. This year, Morgan has acted as the Undergraduate Coordinator for DESIS, helping to communicate the values and goals of the lab and invite other students to become involved in its work.
Pat Vera is an architect, designer and researcher whose work focuses in incorporating Indigenous knowledge and alternative epistemologies into land-based design and pedagogy as a way of building sustainable futures with practices that already manifested in an equitable, respectful and balanced relationship with the earth.
Pat’s current research promotes the Pluriverse as the space in which to converse among different worldviews, creating community-oriented design practices that can work towards healing from the systemic damage caused by the colonial matrix of domination.
In her practice, Pat brings in her own background from Paraguay with the Guarani peoples’ cosmovision and the native Guarani language that she speaks as a way to recognize her own “borderlands”: those cultural borders that she redefines as intersectional margins, where the racialized view of capitalist and modernist societies define and delimit geographies and cultural identities, creating oppression, discrimination and marginalization. For Pat, recognizing our own positionality in the world makes us recognize the others in their own opening the space for a Pluriverse world where different ways of being and knowing can build community and transform realities of exclusion, racism, social and ecological distress into possibilities of change.
Pat’s research work is available at: http://fullresgradstudios.ecuad.ca/pvera/
2019-20 DESIS Scholar: Joshua Singler
Joshua Singler is a designer and researcher whose practice focuses on unearthing rhythms, patterns, and layers embedded within the complex nature of our daily interactions with the public realm. Joshua’s research practice aims to tap into the power of communication design with the objective to intervene, disrupt, and inspire a redirection to the habitual routines of everyday life.
While obtaining his Bachelor of Design (BDes) at York University–Sheridan College’s Joint Program in Toronto, Ontario, Joshua’s final thesis project “Story/telling” received an Honourable Mention for the Mosaic Award for Storytelling from the Registered Graphic Designer’s Association of Ontario (RGD). Joshua’s undergraduate project ‘A Title. Magazine’, was a single-issue print publication successfully launched through Kickstarter and was created with the intention of establishing a platform to share stories from the underserved LGBTQ+ community.
Through social and cultural analysis, photographic typologies, manipulation of analogue technologies, a variety of printing techniques, and deep reflection on human interaction and co-habitation, Joshua aims to engage the community around him to think more consciously about their daily lives.
You can follow Joshua’s research process as it unfolds by visiting his blog: www.joshuasingler.com/blog
2018 DESIS Scholar: Reyhaneh Yazdani
Reyhaneh Yazdani is an architect, designer and researcher whose experience design-based work addresses concerns in the areas of: social equality, democratic design and cultural empowerment. Her creative-social practice aims to challenge public perception as well as incite social change.
Her current research explores the intangible quality of food-based design encouraging critical conversations, social engagement and cross-cultural relationships in the contemporary political climate.
2017 DESIS Scholar: Natalia Gomes Franca
Natalia Gomes Franca’s research was centred on theories of empathy and how empathetic communication helps communities collaborate and grow. Her research paper, ‘Sensory Storytelling’, documents her participatory research into non-verbal ways for people to understand one another’s emotional states. This paper was accepted at the Cumulus 2016 Conference in Hong Kong. While at Cumulus, Natalia was also able to represent the Emily Carr DESIS Lab at the DESIS Assembly Hong Kong 2016. As our representative, she presented a project from the Emily Carr DESIS lab to an international gathering of DESIS labs. Her final thesis, Sensory Cards: Fostering Empathy and Connection within Community Groups can be found at (http://ecuad.arcabc.ca/islandora/object/ecuad%253A12928).