Silvana Juri, a PhD Researcher at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design, was recently awarded a fellowship from the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research at Carnegie Mellon University. The Steinbrenner Institute fellowship program “provides support to exceptional, second-year Carnegie Mellon students who work on cutting-edge environmental research.”
Juri, who is both a PhD Candidate in Transition Design and a Teaching Fellow at the School of Design, is adopting a transition design approach with her thesis, which tries to promote transformations to food systems so that they can be more sustainable and resilient.
“During my research, I'm exploring the concept of food wisdom as a potential heuristic and a capacity to develop with and through design, as a strategy to generate food culture changes,” said Juri. “This type of challenge and its complexity however, is not possible to tackle in isolation or only from the perspective of design, so I have been actively working in collaboration with the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS) and other organizations in Uruguay, where this exploration is being carried out collectively and in a inter and transdisciplinary way.”
During a process that Juri started in 2019, she has been trying to facilitate a multi-stakeholder process that has included researchers, artists, chefs and many other actors mostly from Uruguay but also from across the world.
“At present, we're working on ten projects that explore different topics and areas related to the Uruguayan food system, which we will be showcasing in a virtual open event in March 2021,” added Juri. “With my designerly approach and skills, I help facilitate this collective learning experience while also contributing to imagine, understand, visualize and communicate what these potential pathways of change may be while exploring what type of wisdom we're adopting and/or helping to enhance.”
For Juri, it’s the resources and the people at Carnegie Mellon that have aided her in the pursuit of her PhD.
“The experience of being part of the School of Design has enabled me to gain access to various resources and bright and supporting people who have enriched my thinking, skills, and knowledge,” said Juri. “This extends from my fellow PhD colleagues, faculty and staff, but also, to the students that I am privileged to interact with because of my Teaching Fellow role. The increased sense of community that exists here has been very inspirational and so far resulted in various collective projects with my peers. Having the chance to be based at a renowned international institution, has also meant being able to have access to places, resources and people that I would otherwise have not been able to so easily.
“The PhD program in Transition Design is a supporting space and community in which to creatively and critically explore and expand your research skills and enhance not just your academic career but, in particular, design-led practices that seek to enable more just and sustainable futures.”
“Silvana is an outstanding individual, and this prestigious award is a testament to her skill and expertise,” added Professor Jonathan Chapman, Director of Doctoral Studies at the School of Design.
“Her research into sustainable food systems has the potential to make a considerable impact in the world, and is already shifting the debate within and beyond our program.”
Since 2007, Steinbrenner Fellowship Awardees receive up to $50,000 and present their findings during a poster session at the annual Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Colloquium, held during the spring semester. The School of Design wants to congratulate Silvana Juri and all of this year’s recipients.