As a Design Anthropologist, I know that humans want to build products, services, and systems that solve challenges we face, make experiences delightful and memorable, and enhance our relational well-being. I also know how complex it is to align human needs, business goals, and cultural technologies. I use my skills in anthropology, human centered design and user experience to help clients uncover human and cultural insights, generate tactical empathy, and implement impact-oriented solutions.
I co-founded Missing Link Studios, a research and design collaborative that uses design thinking and the social sciences to create strategy, media, and experiences for businesses and organizations. At the Studio, I especially enjoy researching and producing media like podcasts, sound and websites for social impact-oriented clients.
Podcasting and educational media are huge passions of mine. Some projects I've work on include:
I am dedicated to education and empowerment. I teach design-centered courses in the the Greater Boston Area around topics such as design and user research, digital cultures, products and marketing, and participatory and media design.
My career in educational media podcasting inspires me to play with the idea of being a Research Artist, which I define as a practitioner who infuses and transforms our experiences of academically-grounded, deep research with delight, spectacle, and provocation. To this end my work blends science communication, public education, curiosity and wonder with rigorous research to help expand public consciousness, empathy and collective problem solving.
Civic Media Design
Co-PI, Researcher, Teacher + Author
Make FOIA Work
Make FOIA Work is a news literacy project that reimagines journalism through design-oriented, participatory and collaborative journalism pedagogies.
Working across classrooms, design studios, newsrooms and employing participatory design and data visualization tools, participants created collaborative data-driven and engagement-based stories that developed from successful FOIA requests. The project explores how data visualization and participatory design can change the way we create stories, gather news, or produce local reporting?
Digital Production + Creative Direction
I head a research and design collaborative that uses social science methodologies to diagnose and solve problems for businesses, educators, and social impact-oriented organizations. We connect the dots between research, data, design, and public media, and we help organizations and individuals more effectively share their stories with the world. We especially love working with community and educational organizations, non-profits, museums, and cultural institutions that want to spread public benefit through media.
Services include discovery and exploratory research, experience analysis, digital production and design, branding, cultural strategy, and public media outreach.
Education + Teaching
Design Thinking + Research,
Lesley University, College of Art and Design
Civic Media Methods: Participatory Design
Emerson College, Media Design Masters Program
Products and Marketing (Entrepreneurship)
Olin College of Engineering
I teach courses that help emerging professional designers and civic practitioners understand who they are designing for, how to understand their own values as designers and to apply them, to question universalizing claims, and to contextualize designs in cultural specifics.
I also teach methodologies, techniques, and tactics for design research including observational research, empathy building, ideation, validation and prototyping.
Visual Design + Web Development
Website Designer, Information Architect, User Experience
I designed and manage the Business Anthropology Community website, a thriving initiative the brings together the best of business practices, design, career networking, teaching, and visibility for anthropology in business. The community is a venue for sharing knowledge and resources and for enlarging the discussion on the value of business anthropology both intellectually and as an applied practice.
Following my design values of simplicity, attention to detail, and information clarity, my portfolio demonstrates some of my aesthetic inspirations with clean lines, breathable space, and inviting visual design. I regularly consult with users and stakeholders to iterate and improve site mechanics and interaction experience.
Research + Strategy Consulting
Research Fellow and Consultant
Peruvian Ministry of the Environment
As a field anthropologist and research fellow working in Peru, I ran and coordinated the 2015-2016 Payments for Agrobiodiversity Conservation Services (PACS) program with six Aymara and Quechua communities, which supported the cultivation and conservation of five endangered varieties of quinoa. Across 2 years, I conducted a broad cross section of interviews, focus groups and observational and live-in research among farmers, scientists, government employees, chefs and international development organizations.
I designed and carried out surveys, framed economic field experiments and total economic value surveys aimed at understanding and measuring topics like how people share agricultural and scientific knowledge, make decisions about what food to grow, and willingness to pay for conservation.
Consultant + Researcher
Kai Pacha Foods
Early Client Scouting for food startup, Problem and Product Definitions, Observational Research, Fact Checking
Aug 2012 – Aug 2018
Specializations: Design Anthropology, Biodiversity Conservation, Food Studies, Science and Technology, Climate and Environmental Change
My work as a Cultural Anthropologist and PhD Candidate focused on researching, designing and implementing conservation methodologies for at-risk Andean crops in southern Peru. Working between academic and applied realms, I combined ethnographic methods, design anthropology, participatory research, conservation best practices and market studies to improve communication and insight between government ministries, international NGOs, agricultural agencies, entrepreneurs and farming communities to improve farmer livelihood, ecosystem maintenance, and food security outcomes.
Dissertation: Designing the Future of Food: Quinoa Agrobiodiversity in 21st Century Highland Peru
Make FOIA Work: Participatory Design Field Guide
This guide provides the techniques, methods and reflections that came out of the Make FOIA Work project and the Participatory Methods class in the Media Design program at the Engagement Lab and Emerson College.
This guide is designed for journalists, educators, students, and communities to use and follow for creating more collaborative, participatory and inclusive projects.
Crowdsourcing the Conversation: On the Future of Podcasting, Public Engagement, and Exercising the Anthropological Tool Kit
We explore the This Anthro Life Podcast project through three themes: anthropology as a conversation, the contemporary need for generalists, and why we see podcasting as a means to public engagement, but not an end in and of itself.
Consulting Podcasters: Prototyping a Democratic Tool for Multiple Voices, Storytelling and Solution Finding
Much like Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes had created a niche for himself as a “consulting detective,” there are an increasing number of consulting anthropologists who apply their training, skills, and specialties to helping people define and solve problems today. As anthropologists and podcasters for This Anthro Life, the authors of this paper approach podcasting as a democratic audiovisual production that provides space for multiple voices through storytelling and conversation. Drawing on experiences in design anthropology, media production, and speculative fiction, this paper prototypes the contours of “consulting podcasting,” the work of collaboratively generating shared knowledge for shaping sustainable futures.
Cooking Up an International Market for Quinoa
In Peru, a chef and an agronomist are using the kitchen of a five-star hotel to create an appetite for threatened varieties of a traditional crop. SAPIENS, August 2017
Talking Anthropology: Podcasting for the Public (Part One)
Following on a recent piece by Lindsay A. Bell on Podcast Pedagogy, this two-part post explores the potential of the podcast medium outside of traditional academic settings, taking its cue from the mission and work of the This Anthropological Life podcast created, hosted, and produced by PhD students Adam Gamwell, Ryan Collins, and Aneil Tripathy at Brandeis University.
Of Quinoa, Agricultural Science, and Social Change
Adam Gamwell rounds out the anthropologies #22 issue on food. Gamwell is a public anthropologist and PhD Candidate at Brandeis University working across food, design, science, and markets. His research is based in southern Peru on quinoa. He is also Creative Director and host for This Anthro Life Podcast.
Let me help take your business to the next level. I offer workshops and short-term consulting in design (web, visual and audio), research, ethnography, and strategy
Design Thinking, Innovation Research and Facilitation
I have taught and implemented design thinking and participatory research for over three years and love helping people and organizations frame, scope, and execute design challenges.
Media Design Workshops
I'll teach your group the fundamentals of media production, ethnographic narrative, the value of media for research and business, and deliver tools in how to get started.
Interviewer and Dialogue Facilitation
With 5 years hosting and producing podcasts, over 10 years in higher education, I can facilitate conversations and conduct interviews that get to the heart of the matter and bring clarity and insight.
Branding and Marketing Strategy
I'll work with you or your team to craft succinct, ear catching elevator pitches and value propositions to attract clients, jobs, and clarify your value.
Design Research + Social Listening
Engagement in processes of monitoring social media, traditional media, and targeted contextual research for mentions of brands, competitors, products to discern trends and themes relevant to stakeholder development and growth.
Audio Production and Sound Engineering
I have been a live and studio recording musician for over 15 years and work with a range of professional audio equipment including DAWS like PreSonus and Zoom, and software including Apple Logic Pro X and Adobe Audition, and Hindenburg. I work with all range of microphones and instruments.
Podcasting and Field Recording
As part of producing This Anthro Life for the past 5 years, I serve as producer and sound engineer. I have specialty in vocal recording, mixing, and mastering. I work in studio as well as on location.
Web Design + Branding
Work from the ground up or if you just need a refresh. Comfortable working across content management systems (CMS) like Wordpress, and branding strategy.
Interaction Design Foundation
Design Thinking | UX Design | User Research | Gestalt Psychology
Professional Associations + Volunteer Work
March for Science
National Operations Team
Marketing and Communications Volunteer, Since December 2018
AIGA The Professional Association for Design
American Anthropological Association
Since August 2009
Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC)
Consortium of Applied and Practicing Anthropologists (COPAA)
Society for Applied Anthropology