susi.brister@ac4d.com

Student

Susi Brister

Susi Brister is a professional artist and university educator. Working primarily in photography and installation, her work uses a whimsical approach to discuss themes of human behavior, visual perception, and the slippage between real and imaginary. A native Central Texan, she holds undergraduate degrees from UT in studio art and cultural anthropology and made it through three harsh Montreal winters to obtain an MFA in studio art photography from Concordia University. Susi taught photocommunications and visual studies courses at St. Edward’s University in Austin before accepting an artist residency through UT Dallas in 2016.

While living in Dallas, Susi was exposed to the field of interaction design and recognized the opportunity to leverage her creative thinking skills, background in human studies, and innate desire to inspire and elevate others to a career designing user-centered products and services which contribute to meaningful social change.

When she’s not working or in the studio, you’ll find her somewhere on the road with her partner and their beloved Anatolian shepherd, Artax, exploring the world in their 1984 VW Vanagon camper van.

Recent blog posts

Recycled Reads: Mapping Service Slices

THE MAPPING PROCESS Our design team – Susi Brister, Adam Niederpreum, and Kelsey Greathouse – has been working with Recycled Reads, a used bookstore that’s a branch of the Austin Public Library system. They sell both ex-library materials and donations accepted from the public. In the early stages of our research, we interviewed 24 research…

More Talking, More Doing

LESS TALKING, MORE DOING Less Talking, More Doing has become a de facto school motto here at AC4D. At some point early in our first week, an alumnus mentioned that we would hear this during the year frequently from our teacher Jon Kolko in the course of our group work. Although I have yet to…

Practicing Drawing People

As part of our coursework for Quarter 1, we have a studio drawing class that meets weekly on Saturdays. It’s important for us as designers to learn to visualize ideas and scenarios quickly and accurately. There will come moments where time is limited and we’ll need to present an idea that is immediately comprehensible, and…

Examining Perspectives on the Role of Design Research

In our theory course, Design Society, and the Public Sector, we have been investigating the role of design research through a variety of perspectives presented in the following texts: Designs on Dignity: Perceptions of Technology Among the Homeless – Christopher A. Le Dantec, W. Keith Edwards A Tale of Two Publics: Democratizing Design at the…

Using Photographs to Prompt Responses from Research Participants

This has been a full week – we’ve been reading and discussing design theory, practicing drawing objects in perspective, and conducting research activities for our team projects. As with last week, when I wrote about my experience sorting books in the back room of Recycled Reads, the most exciting and personally fulfilling aspect of my…

PRACTICING EMPATHY: JUDGING BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS

During a contextual inquiry at Recycled Reads this week I had the opportunity to work with one of their staff members to literally judge books by their covers (along with a few other criteria). As part of the Austin Public Library system, the primary mission that Recycled Reads undertakes is to accept ‘weeded’ books and…

A Comparative View of the Role of Design in Society

This diagram illustrates the relative positions of five authors – Edward L. Bernays, Victor Papanek, Neil Postman, John Dewey, and Maurizio Vitta – regarding the role of design (or design-related fields) in society, based on importance, from the following texts: Manipulating Public Opinion: The Why and The How by Edward L. Bernays Design with a…

A Constant Progression Towards Improvement

“PRACTICE, PRACTICE, AND ALL IS COMING”  – Sri K. Patthabi Jois In 2004 I started practicing a type of hatha yoga called ashtanga yoga, which was developed in India in the first half of the 20th century by Sri K. Patthabi Jois. Ashtanga is characterized by a codified series of postures that are practiced without…

DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS

There were insights upon insights to take away from this week, ranging from insights about our specific design proposals, to insights about the process of design, to discoveries of a very personal nature about each other and ourselves. We are all a little weary from absorbing and processing the layers of insightful information from the…

The Value of Visual Communication

As we continue our design bootcamp this week, there’s still dark patches clouding aspects of the process for me, but I found a sense of clarity today through making vignettes and storyboarding product ideas. Humans naturally appreciate the value of visual storytelling. Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams beautifully illuminates how our ancestors drew vignettes…

SINKING IN A QUAGMIRE OF UNCERTAINTY

You know when you succeed, and it feels good. You (usually) know when you fail, and it doesn’t feel good, but at least it feels definitive. Even failure is preferable to where I find myself today, in the murky ambiguity of not knowing how to make sense of this process. I’m stuck in a quagmire…

Bootcamp Design Project, Day One

Today we listened, and then we did things. And notably, we got involved with real people out in the real world. After an introductory overview of design strategy over the course of the morning, we divided into teams and jumped into our bootcamp design project. Broadly targeting the improvement of public transportation, my teammates and…

First Day Impressions

Today was my last first day of school…again. When I earned my MFA ten years ago, I thought my official student days were over. Making the decision to go back to school to learn a new discipline at the age of 39, I’ve felt at times courageous and at times completely paralyzed with fear. Although…

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