Esther Kang (She/her)

Esther Y. Kang (She/her)

PhD in Transition Design

Esther is the Owner and Principal of studio eyk, mentor at NEW Inc, collaborator at the Tech Solidarity Lab (at Carnegie Mellon University's HCII), and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Design. In her capacity as a Teaching Fellow, Esther advises fourth year undergraduate students' capstone projects, in addition to teaching first and second year undergraduate design theory courses.

Previously, Esther led teams across sectors for 10+ years where she brought community-based or community-oriented ethos and practices to historically hierarchical spaces. Examples of projects include equity-centered housing policies for the state of New York, resident-centered city budgeting strategies for South Bend, IN, community-owned databank for Two Bridges (NYC), and transition planning for a White House Initiative under the Obama administration.

Past teaching appointments include New York University (NYU), Pratt Institute, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Art Center College of Design. In this capacity, she taught theory and studio courses to design and policy Master's and PhD students for five years. She was also the primary thesis advisor to MFA candidates in Design for Social Innovation (DSI) at the School of Visual Arts.

Esther received her MA in social design from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her BFA with concentrations in art theory and photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Esther's research focuses on local and transnational political orientations of design in the US context. It urges design to integrate a diasporic sensitivity and a practice of continual re-orientation to account for multi-scalar transitions. Esther also led the qualitative and participatory research for the NSF funded project, "Transformation of Essential Work: Managing the Introduction of AI in Response to COVID-19." (Grant #2037348)

Design Studies courses Esther teaches:

Design Center elective that Esther designed, developed and taught: