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Murktarat Yussuff is a visual artist scholar whose work focuses on community-based participatory design research, architecture, diaspora, hybridity, afrofuturism, and issues of sustainability.
She is currently working with Brian Goldfarb of Communication and faculty members of Biomedical Informatics as well as community members at United Women of East Africa (UWEAST) in City Heights on a collaborative mobile health project. This project seeks to address topics of mental health and stress within the local East African community, through the co-production of illustrated narratives that explore everyday experiences of stress, acculturation, inter generational tensions, and family and individual clinical needs. A pilot mobile application is under development which will feature various interactive graphic novel style narratives to support understanding and dialog on family mental health issues and develop cultural competencies of service providers.
Her independent work is focused on the question of Black Speculative design pedagogy. How can we move beyond an understanding of design as functional aesthetics, towards one that incorporating issues of social justice? What opportunities do Black speculative art, Afro-futurism, and African futurism offer in understanding how the two might be merged. Her work explores the possibility of a Black speculative design aesthetic that invokes themes of reuse found in African futurist and Afro-futurist work, not only conceptually through cultural tradition, but also physically through the sustainable reuse of materials. She is interested in an infrastructural approach to design that considers local economy, human labor, non-Western ontologies and other social ecologies.