Lauren Atkins is a transdisciplinary design strategist, designing sustainable interventions by bridging the worlds of strategy, research and design, emphasizing an understanding of the human experience, towards an inclusive and participatory practice.
She is currently an MFA candidate in Parson’s Transdisciplinary Design program. After managing international public health and development projects, she recognized the missing human factor in much of this work, leading to inefficiency, unsustainable solutions, a lack of engaging strategies and a notion of imposing interventions on people, which do not match the culture and norms of a specific population.
At Parson’s Lauren has been able to foster a practice of applying ethnographic design skills, emphasizing the contextual, considering cultural semiotics and aesthetics in designing with communities, simplifying complexity and turning problems into opportunities for interventions. She has used her research skills combined with design methods to humanize and reframe complex issues to link environmental justice, complex data and technological innovations in partnering with NASA and a community-based organization in Harlem; and, in addressing sexually transmitted disease testing in University health clinics by creating an improved and humanized alternative to current testing practices. Most recently, she worked on a team in developing a speculative design project to visualize and address the issue of ethics and various forms of regulation of artificial intelligence.
Before Parson’s Lauren worked in human rights, public health and international development project management for the World Health Organization and US Naval Medical Research Center, as well as strategy design and creative direction for local businesses and non-profit organizations. she considers herself a global citizen, having grown up between Frankfurt, Germany and Los Angeles, California, and, having lived and worked in Texas, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Spain, the UK, South America and Switzerland. She speaks English and German fluently, with conversational French and Spanish skills. She is driven by her curiosity and love to continue exploring, learning and connecting with people. When she is not in school or working, she enjoys freelance travel writing and photography, and, teaching yoga to seniors and veterans.