Julka Almquist from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago visited ITU and gave an extraordinary lab talk September 17, on Senses & Futures.

Senses & Futures

What can designers learn from an exploration of the senses? And how might they reveal new forms of knowledge and shape a more thoughtful future? I will explore three examples encompassing different sensory experiences that reveal new forms of knowledge: The Halprins’ Collective Creativity Workshops, Hector Galvan’s La Casa Tropical, and Sissel Tolaas’ Scent Language. All three have challenged existing narratives and power structures opening up space to shape alternate realities, which in turn allow designers to shape new visions of the future. I will present early ideas about senses and futures in an effort to have an exploratory discussion and consider possible theoretical grounding.

Julka Almquist is an interdisciplinary design researcher with many years of experience as an ethnographic researcher and designer. Her ethnographic research has taken her to a variety of cultural contexts including the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, and Botswana. She worked for four years at IDEO Chicago as a design researcher and five years as a research fellow in Mayo Clinic’s SPARC Innovation Lab. She has a PhD in Planning Policy and Design from the University of California, Irvine. Her PhD examined the participatory design process for a 100-year project to build the Orange County Great Park. She is particularly passionate about food design projects and designing for the public sector. Her current work includes examining design thinking for libraries and exploring the relation between senses and futures.