For each conference, a small number of Emerging Scholar Awards are given to outstanding graduate students and emerging scholars who have an active research interest in the conference themes. Emerging Scholars perform a critical role in the conference by chairing the parallel sessions, providing technical assistance in the sessions, and presenting their own research papers. The 2021 Emerging Scholar Award Recipients are as follows:
Sofie Boons is an award-winning jewellery designer currently working as Craft Council Research Fellow and Research Associate for the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England. She is completing a PhD investigating the design implications, possibilities, and limits of utilising man-made crystals in the development of jewellery. Prior to starting her research Sofie worked as the Head of Academy for the British Academy of Jewellery. After graduating from the Royal College of Art she has continually exhibited her jewellery internationally and her artefacts are held in the collections of a range of industry leading galleries.
Sarvpriya Raj Kumar believes that design transforms the world that we live in! He is a student of product design at the University of Rome, Italy and is working towards finishing his thesis on ‘Racing Motorcycle Chassis Design’. He also works as a design engineer for the motorcycle racing team of the University. He has recently won Dassault Systemes’s competition Project of the Year 2020. His research interest lies in additive manufacturing, generative design, smart materials and reverse engineering, and his paper on generative design is in the course of publication. His work experience in the industry includes stints in mechanical engineering, product design, and additive manufacturing fields. He has also worked as a teaching assitant at the University of Rome. Being a pro-active person, he loves solving problems and facing new challenges, which motivate him to develop innovative products by striking the right balance between design and engineering.
Tyhe Reading is a visual communication designer and photographer whose work is primarily focused on representing the natural environment. Currently a PhD (Design) candidate at University of Newcastle (UoN), Tyhe’s research is focused on understanding the role that visual communication design can play in the strategic development of environmental campaigns, ultimately aiming to influence pro-environmental behaviour.
Mariana Prieto is the founder of Design for Wildlife where she leads projects that aim at large scale behavior change to achieve wildlife conservation goals. She is adjunct associate professor at Art Center College of Design and pursuing a masters in biology with Miami University, in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society. In 2018 she was named TED Resident for her work in conservation and IDEO.org Global Fellow in 2013. Mariana has been a guest faculty/lecturer at CIID in Denmark, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Parsons School of Design, SVA, Caltech University, USC Marshall School of Business, and most recently, featured on The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur. She lives in New York City with her husband and her three pets.
Lauren Meranda is a multi-disciplinary designer specializing in projects for cultural institutions, social activism, civic engagement, and public memory through experimental media, collaborative storytelling, and interactive design for physical spaces. As a designer and producer of visual culture, Lauren strives to find means by which to let public memory emerge from the stories of the people it is bound to define. A single story does not have to be the only one we tell. The projects and exhibits she works on seek to empower the individual to participate in the storytelling process and expand public memory to include previously unheard voices.
Willhemina Wahlin is a lecturer in design in the School of Communications and Creative Industries at Charles Sturt University (CSU), Australia. Willhemina’s research focuses on the role of design as an advocacy tool for human rights and social justice, in particular, the role of the designer in the creation of ‘difficult knowledge’ exhibitions. Her interest in this field evolved from her work as Creative Director for PROOF: Media for Social Justice, a New York-based non-profit organisation that utilises visual storytelling for human rights and peacebuilding. With PROOF, Willhemina has designed multiple travelling exhibitions that focus on issues such as genocide prevention, gender violence, child soldiers, systemic inequality, and criminal justice. More recently, Willhemina has led a team of researchers to pilot PROOF’s Picture Justice program within the Australian regional context. Through a multidisciplinary workshop program that uses Design Thinking as its foundation, Picture Justice Australia provides participants with a range of skills in problem solving, visual storytelling, and civic engagement.
Dr. Prajakta Parvatikar (PhD, Visual Art) is a practicing teacher (associate professor) in leading design institute from Mumbai, Rachana Sansad. She graduated in visual communication, typography, advertising, and design from Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai. Dr. Prajakta is significantly guiding budding talent in the advertising-design profession for over two decades, exposing them to the rich Indian culture. With fundamental and new teaching methods, her projects predominantly focus on exploring Indian traditional art forms. Her motto as an educator has always been to keep changing with the changing times; but never forgetting one's roots.
Adrienne Bennie is a doctoral candidate from Auckland, New Zealand and is pursuing her PhD at the University of Arts London, Chelsea College of Arts, United Kingdom. As a practice-based PhD candidate, her research investigates spatial design as a form on interrogative design, applied to the issue of homelessness. Her research currently examines the way space is treated in relation to the body, public space, and private space. Her research seeks to create a dialogue about how the city controls space for the homeless while challenging viewers of her installations within space to ask questions about society and how these constructed social spaces affect those experiencing them, identity, and public perception of homelessness.
Maria Vidali studied architecture at Portsmouth and Kingston University. She holds an MPhil degree in history and philosophy of architecture from Cambridge University and a PhD from the University of Thessaly in Greece. Her research work, "Village and Land, The outlying chapels of the island of Tinos," was published in 2009. Since 2007, she has run her own practice in Athens. She has taught at the Drury Centre in Greece, at the University of Thessaly, School of Architecture, and since 2017, she has been teaching at CYA, Athens (a studying abroad programme based in Cambridge, Massachusetts). Her research interests are focused on narrative as a methodology for architectural education.
Since earning his PhD in art, design, and media from The University of Portsmouth, Dr. Gil Dekel dedicated his work to help people become conscious of creative processes and ‘tap’ into inspiration. Gil is lecturer for The Open University's award winning Design Thinking course and designer for Southampton University. He is also Reiki master/teacher and co-author of the Energy Book. His educational resources can be accessed on www.poeticmind.co.uk/research
Maya Jenkins is an MFA candidate at The Ohio State University, studying design research and development with a specialization in human-computer interaction. Her previous educational background is in communication technology and Japanese studies. As a designer, she seeks opportunities to advocate for the user in areas where design methodology may be less utilized, especially regarding healthcare experiences. Her body of work reflects exploration in UX design, design research, and developing virtual reality experiences. Her current thesis work explores using service design methods to create strategies bridging the perspective of the students and facilitator expertise in order to design impactful mental healthcare experiences in colleges and universities.
Being a Graduate Scholar was a great opportunity to learn some dynamics on how to organize and chair an International Conference. This will help in future professional works"
This experience allowed me to improve my fluencey in the english language. It also gave me confidence to talk to an unkown audience while also learning from the experienced professionals in the design world."