Meet: Floris van der Marel

Hey everybody, my name is Floris and I am currently doing my doctoral studies at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia and Aalto University in Finland studying power and agency in participatory design. In particular, my research focuses on experiences and tactics of diverse people as they participate in organisational change-making, with a rural healthcare facility as my main case study. Through his work, I aim to combine Participatory Design and research practices to contribute to political activism by amplifying unheard voices and challenging power imbalances and normative hierarchies.

Originally, I graduated from a Master program called Design Research for Interaction at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and Middle East Technical University in Turkey with a project researching the sociological impact of a small wood stove in a tribal area in India. This got me passionate about exploring tensions resulting from varying ways of being and doing, resulting in several years of gathering practical experience in designing, facilitating and researching Participatory Design practice in several contexts, e.g. promoting sustainable consumption with consumer groups for the European Union in Vietnam, studying genuinely inclusive design with communities for MIT’s International Design Centre in Singapore, developing design-based education for the Frisian Design Factory in the Netherlands and studying early-career experiences of designers in tech companies for Aalto University Design Factory in Finland.

Through Crisis Interrogatives, I have found other critical minds that are concerned with patriarchal hierarchies and hegemonic power structures standing in the way of social justice. Our coffee chats and initiatives support me in getting to know more perspectives, that simultaneously challenge and support my work.

By Floris van der Marel

I have a strong interest in power and agency in participatory design, which I am currently unpacking as part of my PhD research, building on my educational and professional background in design research for interaction.

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