Designing playful engagements with animals to find, imagine, or emphasize non-speciesist practices
Hello, my name is Michelle Westerlaken and I am currently in the third year of my PhD in interaction/game design at Malmö University (K3) in Sweden. My research centres around the design of playful interactions for – and with – animals. By inviting animals as players and participants in the design process, I aim to create new scenarios that challenge anthropocentric practices. Aligning with approaches from fields like posthumanism and critical animal studies, I aspire to contribute to changing the way we currently treat animals in society. My PhD includes both theoretical reflections as well as practical design work including the design of playful artefacts that involve cats, dogs, ants, and penguins. I plan to graduate in 2020.
Besides doing my research, I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on the topics of playful interaction and experimental game design.
During the last five 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.