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Design Explorations for Alternative Ways of Knowing: Spiritual, Indigenous, and Transhuman

This research theme extends beyond traditional modes of understanding and embraces diverse perspectives, including spiritual, indigenous, and transhuman perspectives. Exploring alternative ways of knowing from a design perspective can broaden our understanding of the world and create more inclusive, meaningful, and transformative design solutions. Additionally, critical reflection on the assumptions and biases inherent in mainstream design practices opens possibilities for more diverse and holistic design approaches. For instance, when design is approached through a spiritual lens, it acknowledges the interconnectedness of all beings and the potential for design to facilitate deeper connections, meaning, and well-being. Indigenous ways of knowing, based in cultural, historical, and spiritual traditions of indigenous communities, fosters design approaches drawn on traditional ways of knowing, values, and aesthetics, integrating them into contemporary design practices. Transhuman design explores the intersections of technology, human enhancement, and the future of humanity. Designing from a transhuman perspective involves embracing emerging technologies and envisioning their potential impact on human capabilities, consciousness, and identity.  


Indigenous ways of knowing; Spiritually-informed design; Transhumanism; Design futures; Alternative ways of knowing, doing and being 

Advising Team 

Susan Melsop
Elizabeth Sanders 

Current Students Working on the Project 

Dominique Gedanke Flaksberg’s thesis topic is Earth Centered Design Pedagogy: Learning from and Alongside the Ivy Pora in Brazil, MFA expected 2024. 

Profile Description and Preferred Qualifications 

This approach requires openness, respect, and active engagement with different cultural, spiritual, and technological perspectives. 

Additional Information

Melsop, S. Embedding Mindfulness Practices into Community-engaged Learning to Advance Social Innovation Education presented at the Hawaii International Conference for Arts and Humanities, 2021.