Multispecies Ethnography and More-Than-Human Design

When:2 Aug 2016, 4pm - 5:30pm
Venue:Morven Brown 310 (map ref C20)
Who:Anne Galloway (Victoria University of Wellington)
Tree Rings - Anne Galloway

Public Seminar, Environmental Humanities


Our impact on the earth has been so significant that scientists have proposed that our current geological era be renamed the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans. Regardless of whether or not the change is officially made, researchers across the social sciences and humanities are finding the concept a fruitful lens for “staying with the trouble of living and dying together” (Haraway 2010) in a wounded world. Despite, or perhaps because of, its problem-solving imperative, design has played a significant role in creating and maintaining many of the material and cultural problems associated with this new era. Even when product and object-centred design is replaced with people-centred and service design, human needs and desires are privileged above all else. But what if we refuse to uncouple nature and culture? What if we deny that human beings are exceptional? What if we stop speaking and listening only to ourselves? This presentation focuses on multispecies ethnography as a means to understand relations between humans and nonhumans, and question the potential of animism and vitalism to help us forge new relations. More-than-human design is then introduced as complementary ways of thinking, doing, and making that emphasise the practice of care and imagination—and challenge us to work with, not against, vulnerability, humility and interdependence.

About Anne Galloway

Anne Galloway is Senior Lecturer, Culture + Context Design, at Victoria University of Wellington. Leading the More-Than-Human Lab, her research examines intersections of people, nonhuman animals and technologies, and explores creative methods for public engagement around related matters of concern. Anne also spends as much time as possible at her rural home, where she shepherds small flocks of rare-breed sheep and ducks. twitter: @annegalloway | web:

Enquiries please contact Thom van Dooren (

Image by Sheila Miguez (Creative Commons)

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