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Laura Forlano

Professor, Art + Design and Communication Studies and Distinguished Senior Fellow at The Burnes Center for Social Change

College of Arts, Media and Design

Laura Forlano, a Fulbright award-winning and National Science Foundation funded scholar, is a disabled writer, social scientist and design researcher. She is Professor in the departments of Art + Design and Communication Studies in the College of Arts, Media, and Design and Distinguished Senior Fellow at The Burnes Center for Social Change at Northeastern University. Forlano is also an Affiliated Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. She received her Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University.

Forlano’s research is focused on the aesthetics and politics at the intersection between design and emerging technologies. She has used participatory workshops, collaborative games, exhibitions, speculative videos, prototypes and performances to imagine alternative futures for living with data and computation.  Over the past fifteen years, she has studied the materialities and futures of socio-technical systems such as autonomous vehicles and smart cities; 3D printing, local manufacturing and innovation ecosystems; automation, distributed labor practices and the future of work; and, computational fashion, smart textiles and wearable medical technologies.

Prior to her current position, she was Associate Professor of Design at the Institute of Design and Affiliated Faculty in the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology. In 2019-2020, Forlano was Institute of Advanced Study Fellow (IAS) at Durham University (UK), working on a project called “Material Imagination”. In 2018-2019, she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Digital Life Institute at Cornell Tech and Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

She is the author of Cyborg (with Danya Glabau, forthcoming MIT Press) and an editor of three books: Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press 2019), digitalSTS (Princeton University Press 2019) and From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen (MIT Press 2011). Forlano’s research and writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals in the fields of design, communications, human-computer interaction and science and technology studies including the following: ACM Interactions, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human InteractionCityInternational Journal of CommunicationShe JiCatalystDesign Issues, the Journal of Peer ProductionFibrecultureDigital Culture & SocietyADAJournal of Urban TechnologyFirst MondayThe Information Society, and the Journal of Community Informatics.

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  • Education

    Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University
    M.I.A. in Science and Technology Policy, Columbia University
    Diploma, International Relations, The Johns Hopkins University

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