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DRS Spotlight on Dr Mariana Fonseca Braga

Date Published: 30 May 2022

Dr Mariana Fonseca Braga is going to DRS 2022 in Bilbao, let’s ask her a few questions …

What’s your research area?

I investigate the role design capabilities can play in designing and building equitable and sustainable societies. It is widely known that equity is critical to achieving sustainable futures and that tackling global challenges requires designers and decision-makers a holistic perspective to understand and effectively act upon the root causes of unsustainability and their interconnected factors. Within this research scope, I look into how we can anticipate the different impacts of our designs, being them technologies or policies, on people with different backgrounds and lived experiences, focusing on under-served communities or communities that can be considered at disadvantage (sometimes since they are born) due to their socioeconomic, cultural or physical determinants. I have been working mostly on international projects with trans- and interdisciplinary teams in the area of global health challenges.

Tell us about the paper you’re presenting.

I will be presenting two papers during the DRS 2022. In my paper with Emmanuel Tsekleves, we discuss design capabilities for community resilience. This paper was built upon insights from a pilot study we conducted in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis with Brazilian communities. We look particularly at implications for expert design capabilities in this context or how designers can better contribute to tackling these challenges in a multisectoral approach. The second paper I have led is a collaborative work between ImaginationLancaster and the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health. We have conducted a workshop series on the rapid prototype of global health policy targeting different audiences, design researchers, policy-makers and early career professionals. The paper clarifies the creativity deployment of the different groups who joined the workshop series and point out implications for the rapid prototype of situated global health policies in international low-resourceful settings.

What other activities are you doing?

I will be watching other presentations related to my research interests, I also hope to manage time to support other Imagination friends presenting and working on workshops and, of course, to connect to the wider design community and explore Bilbao! I love travelling and getting to places I’ve never been before : )

What are you looking forward to the most?

I am looking forward to meeting with the Pluriversal Design SIG team! I am co-lead of the Pluriversal Design Book Club and we haven’t met in person for several years. Furthermore, what I appreciate the most during international conferences is meeting and catching up with people from different countries and backgrounds that I usually would be not able to meet in other circumstances. During previous conferences, I have connected with great people from India, New Zealand, the USA and Latin America. I hope the DRS becomes even more of a Conference that embraces and values the diversity of people(s). Our conversations make me feel refreshed when I get back home.

Have you any suggestions or tips for people attending their first in-person conference?

Enjoy meeting new people and having conversations beyond your own research interests.

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