callie.thompson@ac4d.com

Alumni

Callie Thompson

Callen Thompson is an artist and textile designer living in Austin, Texas. She studied art at Dartmouth College and Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Callen was born in Melrose, Florida, a sleepy town with 27 lakes and one stoplight. She was raised in the woods, in a house her homesteading parents built by hand. As a sixth-generation Floridian, Callen was taught by her family to always respect the land, especially in a state that cedes often to the interests of development. She honors and protects the land through non-profit work in land conservation, urban organic veggie gardening and a visual practice inspired by the natural patterning of landscapes.

Callen’s work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, Pattern Pulp, Art Hound, and in the West Elm catalogs. She has had solo exhibitions at Gallery Black Lagoon, the West Elm Emeryville flagship and on Buy Some Damn Art. In summer of 2012 Callen joined the Girl’s Guild, a project of AC4D alums Diana Griffin and Cheyenne Weaver. More of her work can be found on: callenthompson.com

Recent blog posts

How designers change their surroundings

For this position diagram, I focused on the following three articles: Edward de Bono. “Serious Creativity.” Journal for Quality and Participation Sept. 1995: 12-18. Print. Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe. “Organizing and the Process of Sensemaking.” Organization Science July/August 2005: 409-421. Donald A Schön. “Problems, frames and perspectives on designing.” Design Studies July 1984:…

Each moment you are happy is a gift to the world

There is a lot of suffering in human society, and plenty of well-intentioned efforts to alleviate that suffering. But sometimes, a key component goes missing from the problem-solving efforts-  personal well-being and grounded happiness. Social workers are familiar with this concept in the form of “self-care for the caregiver.” Social workers work to maintain their…

Genevieve Bell and my dad would be friends…

In our Theory of Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship course with Chris Risdon, we read several batches of readings around technology and human experience. Inspired by Jessica Hagy’s ThisIsIndexed, I made several diagrams referencing our Theory readings. Here’s my favorite, an homage to my dad and Genevieve Bell:

Sometimes technology doesn't do it for you.

A tongue in cheek visualization of my current musings on technology in my life:

Venn Diagrams based on Marsden

I thought about Marsden’s article “People are People, but Technology is not Technology” and applied it to my team’s research into aging in place and elders and technology. Here is my distillation:

Technology and Human Experience

As an exploration of the role of technology in our lives, I wrote the pieces below:    

Working Towards a 'Transparent-Box' of Aging

This blog post explores a few topics: My AC4D group’s design research into aging populations and computing technology “Old People Everywhere” Family’s ability to teach seniors technology Black-box aging My AC4D research group is studying aging populations, technology and “Aging in Place.” All four of us are in our late 20s or early 30s and…

Position Diagram No. 4 – The difficulties of solving complex problems

In the past two weeks at the Austin Center for Design, we’ve been exploring the difficulties designers face when attempting to solve complex problems. My position on this topic is expressed below in a triptych of diagrams. They refer to the following readings: “Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases” by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman; “The…

Position Diagram No. 3 – Ubiquitous Technology

This week, for Jon Kolko’s class, our position diagrams addressed the outcome of ubiquitous technology in the developing world. The catch was that many of us had distinct aesthetic restrictions (mine included the use of only Helvetica, 9 pt), and we weren’t allowed to speak to explain our diagrams as we presented them. The constraints…

Learning about Urban Agriculture

My group in Lauren Serota’s “Interaction Design Research and Synthesis” course is studying urban agriculture education in Austin. We’re interested in the challenges, wins, barriers and victories of teaching urban agriculture in the Austin community. Specifically, we are focused on the experience of a person teaching urban agriculture and, through design thinking, we aim to…

Design Research Methodologies – A Position Diagram

The task this week was to illustrate our stance on design research methodologies- particularly whether designers should be designing alongside their end users through co-creative work or designing for their end users through more removed design processes. I distilled our readings  (see footnotes in diagram for supporting quotes) down into the following charge for designers. I…

Self-Efficacy Part 1

Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capability to achieve a goal or an outcome. The crux of being a designer is that a) you believe in your ability to notice what needs to change and b) you believe you can change them effectively.  If design was taught as a new liberal art in K-12 education,…

The Designer's Task within Society

The theories of Bernays, Buchanan, Chochinov, Papinek and Vitta can be used to inform the designer’s role in society. The rallying cry of Chochinov (“stop making crap”); the power handed to the designer in Bernays’ reminder that public opinion is malleable and can be shaped; Papanek’s admonishment to stop creating sexy objects and tackle bigger…

The Rise of the Compassionate Designer

Jon Kolko posted two bullet points in his syllabus on Monday that struck me: What is the role of the designer in shaping culture Given that the designer’s impact on society is diffused The first bullet point reminded me of a 2009 article by Holland Cotter in the NYTimes, “The Boom is Over, Long Live…

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