Sasha Costanza-Chock, a designer and media scholar, has accepted a joint appointment as a Research Scientist with the Media Lab and Department of Urban Studies + Planning (DUSP), effective July 1.
Costanza-Chock (who is transgender and uses they/them or she/her pronouns) has been a member of both the Media Lab and DUSP communities for many years, as a co-PI in the Center for Civic Media, and as an affiliate with both the Community Innovator's Lab and the new Data + Feminism Lab led by Media Lab alum Catherine D'Ignazio. They are known for their work on networked social movements, transformative media organizing, and design justice, a way of connecting design—of interfaces, applications, objects, the built environment, systems—to ongoing struggles for collective liberation and ecological survival. Their most recent book, Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need, was published by the MIT Press in March and has been making waves across multiple fields.
Tod Machover, Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media, head of the Opera of the Future research group, and academic head of the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, says: “We are thrilled to have Sasha Costanza-Chock join us this year at the Media Lab and in MAS, bringing their unique combination of scholarship, media design, and activism to a variety of research, teaching, and mentorship activities. I know that our community will benefit greatly from Sasha’s bracing vision for creating technologies that enhance equity and promote community.”
Chris Zegras, Professor of Mobility and Urban Planning and head of DUSP, says: “We are excited to have Sasha formally be part of the DUSP community this year, where they have long been active. Not only does their work complement so well what DUSP does, but Sasha’s joint appointment with Media Lab will allow us to strengthen existing, and build new, collaborative bridges.”
In addition to their work at MIT, Costanza-Chock is a Senior Research Fellow at the Algorithmic Justice League and a Faculty Affiliate with the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, as well as a board member of Allied Media Projects and a member of the Steering Committee of the Design Justice Network.