Contributor Biographies
Amina Abbas-Nazari / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

Amina is: a designer…but not really a designer. A singer…but not really a singer. An artist…but not really an artist.

Wenbo Ai / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

I am a PhD student at Royal College of Art, where my research is looking at participatory communication design and health promotion. I studied for a BA in Visual Communication Design at Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in China, and an MA in Service Design Innovation at University of the Arts London. My research areas include visual communication design, service design, design thinking, design anthropology, participatory co-design, inclusive design and social design.

Nick Bell / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

I am a PhD candidate in the School of Communication with co-supervision in the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art. My practice-led research explores the ‘infrastructuring’ of open peer-driven design processes that nurture social commons. Situated within communities of place, I am experimenting with participatory methods leaders of communities can use to widen access for residents to participation in local social assets. An increased incidence of social interactions aims to foster conditions locally that can bring preventative mental health benefits.

Currently, however, our rights as humans do not extend to an environment or system that can keep us healthy. Our enshrined health rights are merely for health care – a protection that normally comes into effect when we are ill (United Nations 1948). Our approach to health is pathogenic – based on factors that cause disease. My research asks, what would happen to design if our approach to health is salutogenic (Antonovsky 1979) – based on factors that support health and wellbeing? More specifically, if our approach to mental health was preventative, how could design contribute to that?

Karen Bosy / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

When I was a child, my family moved from Toronto, a city in the middle of a continent to a largely rural island in the Caribbean sea. Although I was young, this move away from extended family and a place I understood as my world, brought into view for me the constructedness of my reality. As James Lingwood explains: ‘we learn to interpret the conversations associated with photography, cinema, painting, street signs and so on,’ and our knowledge of these systems ’lead us to believe that the world is a fixed and orderly place’ (cited in Kester, 1995). Lingwood’s comment corresponds to an early impression of my new home where, mixed in with my astonishment at the clichéd truth of the velvety heat of the scented tropical air, was my awareness of the unfamiliar design of street lighting.

As a result of this move, my understanding of television also changed. What had been for me a remotely controlled, public form of entertainment became a tool for communication within the community. My mother’s informational puppet show on the subject of tooth brushing, she was in public health then, was broadcast daily. The puppets could be found in the opening time slot on the sole TV channel of this island, which wisely broadcast only during after school hours. Later my school selected me and other girls to play the pirates for a television commercial promoting Captain Bird’s Eye ready-made food for children, which was also broadcast in the UK. This experience highlighted for me the role of dispersal and site within the potential of moving image.

Subsequently back in Toronto, I studied painting at OCA(D) and in then Florence. Later, I moved to London to study printmaking and painting at The Slade School of Fine Art. Currently I move between London and Toronto; my work is held at the Eagle Gallery. As a PhD candidate at RCA, I am considering the unfixed nature of site and conversations associated with media in the context of dispersal and documentartist art practice and using video and other media within my practice-based research. My recent papers on the subjects of the monument in art practice and daydreaming (unspecific thought), and the blog as a frame can be found in researchonline.rca.ac.uk. Links to my published writing can also be found on my blog: kmbosy.com/blog.  More on vault series and information on my research can be found in PROVA Journal 5, Correspondence, 2020 at PROVA:http://www.provarca.com/prova-journal-2/prova-5/ and on the RCA Research Biennale site https://research-biennale.rca.ac.uk.

Trent Kim / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

My name is Trent Kim and I am a Glasgow-based South Korean born Scottish artist. I was trained in theatre lighting design and art-based research, and I am most interested in the medium of light and researching how lighting reveals the world to us.

I am currently a part-time PhD student at Royal College of Art revisiting the art of Lumia by Thomas Wilfred (1889-1968) through the lens of practice. I am critically re-enacting the early 20th-century artist’s prototyping. I term this particular type of prototyping ‘mythopoetic prototyping.’

Outside my PhD, I teach New Media Art at the University of the West of Scotland, serve as a board member of Vanishing Point and a member of the Scientific Committee at xCoAx. I am also currently involved in other community projects, including: Paisley School of Arts (funded by Renfrewshire Council and in partnership with Dr Rachael Flynn); Dynamic Dunure (in partnership with South Ayrshire Council); Bridging Digital (funded by ERASMUS and in partnership with Intercult (Sweden) and Fablevision Studios (Scotland).

Charlotte Lengersdorf / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

I am a visual communicator, researcher and lecturer born in Germany and based in London. I specialise in type design, interactivity and critical theory with specific emphasis on the nonsensical, undetermined and unknown. I hold a BA from Peter Behrens School of Arts in Düsseldorf and an MA from the Royal College of Art in London. I am currently a PhD candidate in the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art, funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.

Larissa Nowicki / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

Visual artist and researcher, Larissa Nowicki, is currently a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, London where she received an MA in Communication Art and Design. She holds a BA in Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of Design. Her practice-led research is performed by hand through gendered processes, which have long been associated with marginalized communities (i.e. weaving, sewing). Her practice across art and design draws from a material based non-linguistic form of communication. In her research she is developing alternative practice-based methods for expanding feminist scholarship within art history through hands-on making with materials. Nowicki’s artwork is held in both private and public collections. She is represented by Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

Kam Rehal / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

Kam Rehal is a PhD Candidate in the RCA School of Communication and Programme Leader for Graphic and Digital Design at the School of Design, University of Greenwich. His research interrogates emerging perspectives of place – encountered within the current social and political context – and questions the role and responsibility of the subjective researcher within local communities. Through his research-practice, Kam explores design, writing and making, situated within the theoretical and material contexts of conversation, environment, participation and performance.

In 2019, he designed, co-edited and contributed works to the flash fiction collection ‘Story Cities: A City Guide for the Imagination’ – engaging the physical printed book to facilitate reading as a narrative spatial practice.

Since 2018, as part of an EU (£4m) research project funded by Interreg Europe, Kam has been working with colleagues at the University of Greenwich, leading on the development of a co-design research methodology to engage Academic and Social Partners across North West Europe – the Ruhr area, Greater London, Flemish Triangle, European Metropolis of Lille, and Tilburg. The ‘Empowering Youth through Entrepreneurial Skills’ project aims to produce a common (EYES) approach, communications and digital tool that can be implemented across regions to support Coaches, Volunteers and Young People in addressing educational, employment, training and entrepreneurial needs.

Prior to his academic appointment he led the graphic design team at the Natural History Museum and was senior designer at Imperial War Museums. Kam’s professional design experience covers environmental graphic design for museums, galleries and physical spaces, book and editorial design for publishing, art direction and design management, and frequent collaborations with other artists, writers, researchers and makers.

Claire van Rhyn / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

Claire van Rhyn is a design researcher and educationalist with a distinctly post-disciplinary approach. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, funded by the AHRC’s London Doctoral Design Centre. Her work investigates the body as modality of communication. Through employing a participative Social Design approach – influenced by choreographic thinking and awareness-based approaches – her research develops a Collaborative Improvisational methodology for supporting processes of social transition within educational communities.

She holds a MSc in Education Research with distinction from University of Exeter. As transition consultant, she has worked with numerous school communities, as well as in-service and pre-service teacher training. She has researched social cognition in schools with Universities of Cambridge, Exeter and Roehampton.

Claire is a member of the Presencing Institute’s Social Presencing Theatre research group. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Design Research Society. As Assistant Director for Shambhala Art Europe, she teaches and hosts workshops internationally on the subject of perception, embodiment and mindful-aware approaches to creativity. Claire’s early professional background is in Art Directing and Publishing Design.

Kirsty Smith / Issues 1 (Vol. 1)

Biography text from Kirsty is pending.