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Spring 2024

DSI Designer in Residence: Mari Nakano

 

Mari Nakano (she/they) is a second-generation Nikkei Nisei Japanese-American designer, systems strategist, coach, and educator focused on exploring where and how to meaningfully contribute to movements centered around agriculture, food, and eco-stewardship as they relate to social and environmental justice.

They do this primarily through an ongoing practice in visual and participatory design, blending creative, structured, and emergent approaches that aim to deepen relationships and align ourselves to the needs and visions that our communities dream of.

Mari is a collaborator and gravitates to working within multi-disciplinary environments focused on social and environmental transformation. They have worked with mission-driven teams within global NGOs, small start-ups, local governments, and non-profits. Most recently, Mari has serving in strategic advisory, project management, and volunteer roles for organizations centered around food access and community engagement.

“I Show Love Through Food” is the working title for their residency, which will serve as a time for them to further understand food’s power and explore how this medium when combined with the themes of natural cycles, heritage, nourishment, belonging, and reconnection, can inform our social design practices. 

“Food has been a medium that has helped me throughout my life to build relationships and connections with people, other forms of life seen and unseen, my ancestors in the spiritual world, and myself. It is a universal necessity for the thrival of all living things, and something I believe serves as a powerful tool that catalyzes new connections and re-connections with other living beings, humans or otherwise.” – Mari Nakano

PHOTO BY ELENA MUDD

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