Daniela Rosner

Spring 2018

Figure and Ground: Amplifying the Public Imagination of the Central Area

This quarter-long directed research group aims to develop tools and projects that elevate the under-recognized stories, experiences, and histories of the historically Black Central Area. In the context of decades of disinvestment and current development-driven displacement, Central Area organizations, activists, and residents are engaged in a process of imagining ‘Africatown,’ a vision of the neighborhood as a place where a multiplicity of black life and cultural expression thrives. Drawing from a diversity of theoretical perspectives, including cultural geography, theories of black space, urban studies, and critical race studies, we use a hands-on, empirically-informed research and making practice to nourish a project of self-determination and imagination. Through design we elevate the legacies of innovation and community-building within the Central Area by inverting the valorized figures of contemporary urban development with the stories selectively rendered as (back)ground. Expected products include both concrete tools and interpretive reflections. 

Further Reading

+  Taylor, Quintard. The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle’s Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era. University of Washington Press, 2011.
+  Fullilove, M.T., 2001. Root shock: the consequences of African American dispossession. Journal of Urban Health, 78(1), pp.72-80.
+  Africatown Design Weekend

Related Press

$82.5K grant will help Africatown continue Midtown Center art and activation project, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog 
+  Midtown: Public Square kicked back in review process as board says plan for community art not enough, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog 
+  Midtown design looks too much like SoLU, not enough like the CD — Can new Central Area Design Review Board help?, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog 
+  In Seattle’s Central District, residents, artists imagine a 'parallel universe,' Seattle Times

Required Availability

+  Register for 2 to 3 credits for spring quarter. Indicate availability for additional quarters (not required).
+  Meet for 1-2 hours each week.
+  Work 4 to 6 hours each week outside of meetings.

How to Apply

We seek an engaged, interdisciplinary group of scholars, activists, and makers. 

Space is limited. Please email organizers Azzurra Cox ( and Daniela Rosner ( with the following information indicating eligibility:

+  Confirmation that you meet the availability requirements.
+  Schedule availability.
+  A few paragraphs describing your experience relevant to the required experiences outlined above and motivation for joining. In your explanation please talk about past experience, activism or scholarship that has informed your work.

Winter 2019

The internet of evocative objects: a deployment of public IoTs

Note: enrollment in this DRG is at capacity for Winter 2019

This DRG will examine how Internet of Things (IoT) devices installed within public settings might contribute to the coordinated work of resource distribution and broad public hygiene infrastructure. We will test, deploy, and trace interactions with a set of networked devices built to support the circulation of menstrual resources (e.g., pads and tampons) within public restrooms at the Seattle Public Library. In doing so, we seek to understand how maintenance staff and patrons care for or access public health resources through public IoT. In addition to collecting numerical data through the IoT devices (e.g. product levels), we will draw on qualitative research methods of participant observation and ethnographic interviewing to further understand how maintenance staff and members of the public relate to and interpret IoT installations. To circulate this research to the broader public, participants of this DRG will develop a website to document and share the IoT designs for download, as well as short accounts of qualitative research findings.

We welcome applicants with interests in qualitative research and/or strong backgrounds in physical computing. Participants will be expected to commit 6 hours per week, enrolling in two units of credit.

The group will be comprised of 3-5 DRG participants, and co-led by PhD students Brian Kinnee and Rafael Silva, UCSD Postdoctoral Fellow Sarah Fox, and faculty member Daniela Rosner.  

Note: enrollment in this DRG is at capacity for Winter 2019

Winter 2019

Designing interactive critical design artifacts to celebrate the women of Atari

Co-directed by Pernille Bjørn and Daniela Rosner

Note: enrollment in this DRG is at capacity for Winter 2019

This project uses a collaborative design process to build an interactive installation (e.g., museum exhibit, conference exposé, and/or Maker Faire display) that showcases the hidden stories of women in computer gaming. In particular, we focus on the women of color who made crucial engineering contributions to Atari, an early computer gaming company. According to media historian Nathan Esmenger, women made up roughly 30% of computer programmers well into the 1970s, half as many as today. The 1980s represent a crucial period of change for women's participation in computing. Across the decade, images of the weird, brilliant male computer hacker took increasing hold of the popular imagination, appearing in the storylines for major movies and the headlines of popular news account. 

Focusing on 1980s Atari developments, our interactive installation will utilize "makerspace" methodologies (e.g., IoT development, tangible interaction, and gaming) to draw people into stories of Atari women. We will explore and challenge industry notions of who is or should become a programmer, engineer, and designer by revisiting the accounts of women whose labor remained hidden within the Atari products and their marketing. In doing so, we call on members of the contemporary game-development and wider IT industry to help rewrite engineering histories to highlight key computational know-how contributed by groups underrepresented within computing fields today. We hope to end the quarter with a proposal for a ComicCon 2019 panel in Seattle in order to present and demonstrate the interactive installation.

Required Availability

+  Register for 2 to 3 credits for spring quarter. Indicate availability for additional quarters (not required).
+  Meet for 1-2 hours each week.
+  Work 4 to 6 hours each week outside of meetings.

Required Experience

Participants in this DRG must have at least one of the following skills and experiences:
+  Outreach coordination: Experience interviewing and using qualitative research methods such as fieldwork observation
+  Visual and interaction design: Experience with design and branding, Adobe Illustrator or the like, web development
+  Maker mindset: Familiar with the UW CoMotion makerspace and digital prototyping tools 

Note: enrollment in this DRG is at capacity for Winter 2019

Dr. Rosner's Research Group archive