Designing engagements with animals to find, imagine, or emphasize non-speciesist practices
Hello, my name is Michelle Westerlaken and I have a PhD in Interaction Design from Malmö University (Sweden). Taking a critical approach to the ways many humans have been attempting to silence other living entities for far too long, I want to find out how we can imagine and construct multispecies worlds. My research and design works build on posthumanism, feminist technoscience, critical animal studies, and decolonial theory to investigate possibilities for more sustainable contributions on a planet in a state of mass-extinction.
My PhD thesis is titled ‘Imagining Multispecies Worlds‘ and presents a Multispecies Bestiary in which 10 protagonist species (including, among others, forests, worms, mice, and monsters) guide the reader through a collection of multispecies stories. In practice, I also carried out (participatory) design projects together with cats, dogs, ants, and penguins.
Besides doing my research, I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on the topics of playful interaction and experimental game design.
During the last seven years, I collected existing examples of technologically mediated (human -) animal interaction in all kinds of contexts that I am sharing on this blog together with my own projects and reflections. On this website you can also find my academic publications and my interaction design portfolio.