Making Futures 2021

Re-crafting the Local-Global Maker Relationship

The seventh edition of our Making Futures biennial international research conference will be held on 16th September 2021.

Stephanie Owens

Head of School of the School of Arts + Media at Plymouth College of Art |Co-Editor, Making Futures Journal, Convener of the Making Futures Research Group| E-mail:


Stephanie Owens is an interdisciplinary artist, creative researcher, and curator interested in the influence of digital networks on contemporary aesthetics and the production of subjectivity.

From 2011-2017 Stephanie was Director of the Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) where she organised Cornell’s first art biennial focused on intersections between art, design and nano science, which was the subject of “Collaboration on Campus: Nanotechnology and Contemporary Art“, a documentary by Art21. Her curatorial and collaborative projects focus on the relationship between materiality and cultural objects in the context of representational and post-representational aesthetics.

She is a founder of Mobile Geographies, a locative-media initiative at The New School's Parsons School of Design (NYC) and co-founder of the storefront new media art space MediaNoche (NYC), the first artist-run gallery for digital art in Upper Manhattan. Some of Stephanie's curatorial projects include Technologies of Place, funded by New York Foundation for the Arts, SELF[n]: Art & Distributed Subjectivity, Intimate Cosmologies: The Aesthetics of Scale in an Age of Nanotechnology (Cornell University), and Abject/Object Empathies (Cornell University).

Stephanie exhibits her work internationally, including recent exhibitions at the First Beijing International Media Arts Exhibition (Beijing, China), Dashanzi Art Festival (Beijing, China), 5th Ewha Media Art Exhibition, (Seoul, Korea) and the Machinista International Arts and Technology Festival. Frequently a speaker on art and technology, she recently presented papers at College Art Association (CAA), SIGGRAPH (Los Angeles) and Consciousness Reframed: Art, Identity and the Technology of Transformation (Lisbon) and was the artist-in-residence in 2018 at COPE NYC in Brooklyn, NY.

She has taught digital media, art, aesthetics, interaction design and contemporary art theory at Cornell University, Universita IUAV di Venezia, Parsons MFA Design & Technology Program and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is founding director of Empathy Academy, a project-based research platform for collaborations in art, design and materials science with partner universities and organisations in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

As well as being the Head of School for our school of Arts + Media at Plymouth College of Art, Stephanie is the Convener of the Making Futures Research Group. The Making Futures Research Group (MFRG) is a coalition of educators, artists, designers, scientists and social entrepreneurs who are interested in how traditional methods, materials and cultures of making might exist in future contexts through the use of emerging practices and technologies.

As a group of active practitioners, the MFRG explores the interface between organic and digital materiality as a means to better understand the construction of identity and cultural representation. As an exploration of materiality in the context of making more broadly, it seeks to investigate, through materials research and the development of an interdisciplinary pedagogy, the link between matter, networks and place.

Working as an interface between the studio curriculum and the Making Futures biennial conference at PCA, the MFRG operates on the horizon of matter and new technologies as a way of reimagining creative authorship across science, engineering, design and art.