Designing playful engagements with animals to find, imagine, or emphasize non-speciesist practices
Hello, my name is Michelle Westerlaken and I am currently finishing up my PhD in Interaction Design at Malmö University (Sweden). Taking a critical approach to the way we treat other animals in society, I research how we may express imaginations for multispecies worlds. With this I am trying to articulate a counter-concept for the notion of speciesism that can be materialised in the practice of design.
My research builds on critical animal studies, posthumanism, feminist new materialism, and decolonial theory to urge designers towards making more sustainable contributions on a planet in a state of mass-extinction. In practice, I also worked on 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.