Emilie Jensen MFA Collaborative Design Thesis 2020
Navigating The Plasticene: A Designtific Approach
There is no doubt that a connection exists between the plastic fork I’m using and the environmental challenges our planet faces, yet inspiring action at the individual level can be challenging and often feels hopeless. Mobilizing data through graphics, and having collaborative conversations and brainstorming sessions across knowledge bases, can help us connect the dots to make these relationships more visible. This thesis focuses on a design-led exploration of how change-makers from both design and scientific disciplines can and should join forces to tackle wicked problems. Here I examine the prevalence of plastic pollution in Oregon rivers, mapping out a waste stream profile as a means to understand the ways in which the presence of riverine plastics might be influenced by the recycling behaviors of local Portland residents. Through research and collaboration I design a communication tool that better guides Portland residents through the plastic recycling process, while also contextualizing how their relationship with plastic impacts our social and environmental ecosystems.