Nov 18 - Research Presentation: Dr. Will Odom in conversation with Dr. Gillian Russell

Fall 2020 SIAT Graduate Research Colloquium

Convened by: Dr. Kate Hennessy
hennessy_kate [at]

The Graduate Research Colloquium aims to be a forum for the building of community, for exposure to diversity of research work and methods, and for fostering understanding of disciplinary commonalities and differences. SIAT (School of Interactive Arts and Technology) is a strongly interdisciplinary program and the Research Colloquium aims to reflect this by exposing students to a broad range of approaches to research in the areas of Interactive Arts, Design and Technologies.

Through this colloquium series, presentations by SIAT faculty, SFU non-SIAT faculty, and outside visitors will be scheduled alongside presentations by students. Where possible, presentations by international visiting researchers will be integrated into the program. The emphasis is on a community of research which includes students. This colloquium is designed to engage students in discussion and debate on the utility, results and methods of research; on work-life balance; on health and wellbeing; to be introduced to one another and to the members of the broader research and industry community.

This week students are introduced to Dr. Gillian Russell's research on Speculative Interventions: Employing the imaginary in Value-Sensitive Design.

This talk will address the potential for the imaginary as a design tool for social change. Designer and researcher Gillian Russell will introduce her recent work which explores the role of contemporary design practice in future imagining, future literacy and future ethics. Working at the intersection of design, anthropological futures, and narrative environments, her work uses a combination of speculative intervention and value-sensitive design to engage publics to question the authority of a specific reality in order to foreground its assumptions and ideologies – raising awareness that if reality is made, then it can be unmade and made anew.


Gillian Russell is a Vancouver-based designer, curator and researcher whose work centres on the interplay between design and its critical contexts. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the Digital Democracies Institute, SFU, a lecturer at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the co-founder of the ‘Defamiliarization Lab’ – a transdisciplinary platform for developing methodologies and tools to re-imagine design’s role in sensing the world anew. 

Her work has been featured at the Porto Design Biennale, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon, Helsinki Design Museum, Design Museum London, London Design Festival, Milan Furniture Fair and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Gillian holds a PhD in History of Design at the Royal College of Art, London (2017) which was undertaken with AHRC funding in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum.