Dr Joanna Boehnert

Research Fellow in Graphic Design

Harrow Campus Northwick Park HA1 3TP

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Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media | Department

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. 

2018

Design, Ecology, Politics: Towards the Ecocene (2018)
Boehnert, J. 2018. Design, Ecology, Politics: Towards the Ecocene. London Bloomsbury Academic.

2017

Ecological Theory in Design: Participant Designers in an Age of Entanglement (2017)
Boehnert, J. 2017. Ecological Theory in Design: Participant Designers in an Age of Entanglement . in: Egenhoefer, R.B. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design London Routledge.

2016

Knowledge Visualization in Environmental Communication (2016)
Boehnert, J. 2016. Knowledge Visualization in Environmental Communication . Jones, P. (ed.) Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD5) 2016 Symposium . Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Ontario Canada 13 to end of 15 Oct 2016 Systemic Design Research Network.
Design as Symbolic Violence. Design for Social Justice. (2016)
Boehnert, J., Elzenbaumer, B and Onafuwa, D 2016. Design as Symbolic Violence. Design for Social Justice. DRS2016, Design + Research + Society: Future Focused Thinking. University of Brighton, UK 27 to end of 30 Jun 2016 Design Research Society.
Data Visualisation Does Political Things (2016)
Boehnert, J. 2016. Data Visualisation Does Political Things . DRS2016: Design + Research + Society: Future-Focused Thinking. University of Brighton 27 to end of 30 Jun 2016 Design Research Society.

2015

The Politics of Data Visualisation (2015)
Boehnert, J. 2015. The Politics of Data Visualisation. Discover Society. 23.

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