We eat, sleep, dream, play and even perish by design.° To design is to affect and / or effect change. So, effectively, we're all designers. Yet, more often than not, we're unaware of the various ways we impact our surroundings. Consider today's headlines: population growth; increasingly asymmetrical development; environmental degradation...fiscal peaks, plateaus and cliffs. We are a dynamic network of forces that simultaneously transverse and mold landscape, psyche and soma.
In order for design to serve as a re-directive practice toward more sustainable° futures, the practice of design must be transformed, by design.
Public Works with the assumption that every environment is a classroom and every classroom is a conversation that informs the way we perceive the world and, consequently, ourselves.
By harnessing design as a means to ask questions, we investigate, [dis]assemble and [re]frame everyday environments as adaptive interfaces. This inverted analytic framework regards solutions as problems–inflexible outcomes–and questions as solutions–opportunities for reflection and adaptation. In this context, doubt becomes the primary vector for critical thinking that interrogates the authority and aesthetics of what we've come to know as common sense. Each design is therefore an opportunity to exchange knowledge, advance critical discourse and [re]negotiate the boundaries of Possibility.
In other words, to [un]learn.°
With limited knowledge and expanded literacies, perhaps we can begin to migrate toward the terra incognita of Sustainability° ...
We're a motley crew of creatives who Assemble according to the needs of each project–Experienced yet experimental, Confident yet curious. We're A DIVerse blend of artists, engineers, biologists, sociologists, fathers, BROTHERS, friends...AND neighbors, including
Kiersten Nash believes passionately in the power of creativity–the power to ask: why? what if...? and how might we...? In 2013, Kiersten founded Public Works as a platform for catalyzing creative civic engagement by expanding the capacities of individuals and organizations to understand how they can and do impact their environment–be it a patch of grass, park or public policy.
Recognized as an artist, designer and educator, Kiersten prefers the more elusive moniker Thinker-Tinkerer. She integrates cultural theory with her experimental prowess as an artist and training as a former athlete to navigate the nuances of everyday attuned to the visible and invisible infrastructures that mold perceptions, conceptions and mobilities.
Her collaborations have been recognized by such notable institutions as The Municipal Art Society of New York for The Children's Library Discovery Center (2012, Excellence in Architecture and Urban Design as Neighborhood Catalyst) and the National Endowment for the Arts (2014, Art Works grant recipient for Livestream).
Her research presentations include [Un]Learning: A Dialectical Approach Toward Sustainability (2015, Cumulus Mumbai Conference); [Un]Learning X Design From The Ground, Up (2015, LearnxDesign Conference); [Un]Learning for Tomorrow By Design (2014, AIGA Design Educators Conference); and D.Tour: Detroit, Going Nowhere, Going Somewhere (2012, The American University of Paris).
She has co-designed and facilitated workshops throughout the US, Europe and Asia including Surface Tension (University of Kentucky, Lexington); Photography, Expanded (Magnum Foundation, NYC); Physical Training (Parsons The New School for Design, NYC); and Designing Futures (Said Business School, University of Oxford).
Harlem, New York
Brooklyn, New York
Drew works as an intermediary between individuals, organizations and institutions to rebuild the social infrastructures ruptured by urbanization. His empathy and acumen as a strategic designer are influenced by his experiences as a public housing organizer, investigative journalist, critical race theorist and fifth generation Kentuckian.
Drew's partnership with Public Works began in 2016. His current collaborations involve facilitating communal remediation in Casper, Wyoming as well as understanding urbanization and cultivating civic engagement with folks across Kentucky. Drew currently resides in the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn with his dogs Gracie & Musket and his much smarter, much better looking partner, Colette.
East Lansing, Michigan
Zach is a designer, educator, & dj. His work is united not by a subject, genre or medium, but by a methodology of mixing that serves as a catalyst for transdisciplinary interventions. Sampling from the languages of graphic design, interaction design, experience design, speculative design and music-making, his work ranges from the design of digital research tools and services for high school students to physical products intended to subvert the influence of algorithmic inference on our lives.
Ben translates his experiences into poignant melodies that resonate across cultures. He tells stories. And he would like you to do the same. It’s a serious request, and his enthusiasm is genuine. “I’m such a mutt myself, biologically and socially, that it just makes sense to express that as my pedigree. In the end, that’s what folk music is all about; each of us telling our own story.”
Queens, New York
While working on his Ph.D. in neuroscience, Sean began to consider the world according human neurons. In said world, both a cold winter day and big ol’ bear hug feel the same–both translate into a sequence of electrical impulses. As a creative technologist, Sean develops innovative tools to understand the human condition from a diversity of perspectives, including our neurons. Sean’s mantra? Build, break, learn…repeat.
Brooklyn, New York
Dan works with individuals and organizations to identify who, what and why in order to determine the how…and then, makes it happen. Some people have a way with words, Dan has myriad. His capacity to creatively interpret a context–be it a policy or kitchen pantry–is extraordinary.
Christopher Taylor Edwards
Brooklyn, New York
Part anthropologist, part strategist—Christopher collaborates with a diversity of communities to construct resiliency through public service design. He is currently exploring the powerful, albeit precarious, practice of transdisciplinary design as a graduate student at Parsons The New School for Design.
San Francisco, California
Marina laced up her first pair of tap shoes at the age of 4. She’s been studying the mechanics of movement, interaction, and improvisation ever since. From the stages of Germany’s Rudolstadt Folk Festival to the streets of Udaipur, Rajasthan, Marina choreographs alternatives to the everyday that move toward social justice.
Bland is a MacGyver-kinda guy who can take a simple idea, roll up his sleeves, and physically fashion a wonderland around it. Where most see outdated infrastructure or underutilized space, Bland sees opportunities for innovation. His work has received many accolades including an Innovation by Design award from Fast Company.
Rashid Adetokunbo Okikiola Owoyele
Rashid’s passion for political, social, economic and environmental justice have led him from Indianapolis to Bogota and from New York City to Paris as a qualitative researcher, career coach, communications specialist, program manager and design strategist. Suffice it to say, whatever the context, Rashid has a a unique capacity to connect individuals and opportunities.
Brooklyn, New York
Christina dives deep. Literally. From jumping in Bulgaria’s famed fountains while developing a children’s museum to combing the Costa Rican rainforests for opportunities to catalyze a science curriculum, Christina embraces the affordances embedded in every environment to move minds and bodies.
Brooklyn, New York
Jon could just as easily be found planting a pylon as a pepper. As a LEED-certified builder and DSNY Master Composter, Jon has contributed to the development of large-scale commercial properties, homes, theatrical sets, and community farms. Frequently, these worlds collide: for details regarding how to ‘Build Your Own Composter’ check out Jon’s chapter in the Easy Compost Handbook published by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
As well as The Kentucky Geological Survey + Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Department of Environmental Quality + LexArts + University of Kentucky + The Magnum Foundation + China File + Downtown Partnership of Baltimore + Ian Teh + Jun Mizumachi + Justin Maxon + Christopher Patten + Lynda Sing + Maia Ramnath + Matthais Krek + + + + +
Public Works...some assembly required.
Care to connect, collaborate and make Public Works?
Send us an email or, better yet, give us a buzz!
+1 646 884 4218