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Yoko
Akama
Biography

Dr. Yoko Akama is a Senior Lecturer in design in the School of Media and Communication and Research Leader of the Design Research Institute at RMIT University, Australia. Her Japanese heritage and cultural upbringing in zen philosophy has embedded a practice of human-centred design. Her research continues to practice a ‘tao’, or way of being, in engaging and entangling with social ‘wicked problems’. This has led to various partnerships with communities on building disaster resilience in Australia and Japan, and project work with public institutions to scaffold adaptive capacity for well-being and climate change. Trained as a graphic designer, visualisation is a process that features strongly in her work, particularly to catalyse meaning-making, learning and dialogue through participatory interactions. Yoko is a leader of two prominent design networks, the Service Design Network in Australia and Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability Lab in Melbourne. These networks are fostering a community of practice among academia, business, government and community organisations on sharing and building knowledge on the application of human-centred design. She has been awarded with the British Council Design Research Award (2008) and a Finalist in the Victorian Premier’s Design Award (2012) and Good Design Australia Award (2014) which has led to invitations for collaboration and guest lecturing opportunities at several national and international institutions in the UK, US and Japan.

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