Dr Joanna Boehnert
Research Fellow in Graphic Design
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Joanna Boehnert is a Research Fellow in Design at CREAM (Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media). Her work focuses on the intersection of design, the environment and the political economy. She investigates the role of communication design in the creation and reproduction of power relations and environmental problems. More specifically, she studies the following issues:
- Environmental communication and ecological literacy
- The visual communication of environmental information
- Ecological theory and ecological literacy in design and in higher education
- Sustainable design, transition design and socially responsive design practice
- The political economy of design and its environmental consequences
- Discourse analysis and discourse mapping of environment movements
- Knowledge visualisation and system mapping for problem solving, design and education
- The role of images in the reproduction of power structures and knowledge systems
- Critical approaches to data visualisation and information design
- The use of data and financial metrics in environmental communication
Her research typically examines the social, economic, political and bio-physical causes of environmental degradation. She addresses conceptual divides between disciplines with design methods such as knowledge visualisation and systems mapping. Her work demonstrates how communication design can enable learning, problem solving and collaborative responses to environmental problems.
Following the work of green and ecological economists, she is exploring the hypothesis of sustainable de-growth. Herein qualitative growth is made possible by the de-prioritisation of quantitative economic growth. She is an advocate of transition design as an approach for responding to environmental problems from a social justice perspective. She is currently finishing work on a book titled Design, Ecology, Politics: Towards the Ecocene to be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2017.
Joanna is founder of EcoLabs, a studio devoted to advancing ecological literacy with design (established 2006 – http://www.eco-labs.org). She completed an AHRC funded PhD in 2012 at the University of Brighton titled: ‘The Visual Communication of Ecological Literacy: Designing, Learning and Emergent Ecological Perception’. In 2013 - 2014 she held a CIRES Visiting Fellowship at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado Boulder. During this time she developed a research project titled ‘Mapping Climate Communication’. She is Canadian.