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Betti Marenko

Contextual Studies Leader, BA Product Design
Central Saint Martins
Betti  Marenko


Betti Marenko is a design theorist, academic, educator and consultant. She leads the Contextual Studies element of the course since 2007, having previously held teaching posts at the University of Essex and University of Urbino. She holds a PhD and a MA from the University of East London and a First Class degree in Sociology of Culture and Semiotics from the University of Urbino. Her commitment to education has been recognized by the UAL Teaching Award, which she won in 2014.

Betti has a background in sociology, philosophy and cultural studies, over a decade of experience in design studies education, and an internationally acknowledged research profile. Her interdisciplinary approach brings together design studies, continental philosophy and the analysis of digital cultures to investigate the relationships between design, society and technologies, and their role in shaping possible futures. Influenced by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, her work examines the tension between design taken as way of speculating on, and instigating, the future, and thought that addresses materiality, affect, the virtual and the nonhuman. Betti's interest is in repositioning design in the 21st century as a problematising tool for thinking, making and creating change, with particular attention to digital technologies.

Her work features frequently in international conferences, collections and peer-reviewed journals such as Design and Culture, Design Studies and Digital Creativity. She is the co-editor of the volume Deleuze and Design (Deleuze Connections Series, Edinburgh University Press 2015, with J. Brassett) - the first book to use Deleuze and Guattari to provide an entirely new theoretical framework to address the theory and practice of design. She is regularly invited to speak internationally in the field across continental philosophy, design and the analysis of technology and culture. She has given talks and lectures at Stanford University; MIT; Art Center Pasadena; California College of the Arts San Francisco; Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis; Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam; La Sapienza, Roma; University of Applied Sciences, Den Haag, and keynoted at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

She is Specially Appointed Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Key publications

(in press) Algorithm magic. Simondon and technoanimism. In Believing in Bits: Digital Media and the Supernatural. Simone Natale and Diana Pasulka (eds.) Oxford University Press

(in press) FutureCrafting. Speculation, design and the nonhuman, or how to live with digital uncertainty. In Hybrid Ecologies. S. Witzgall, M. Kesting, M. Muhle, J.Nachtigall (eds). Zurich, Diaphanes AG

(in press) The un-designability of the virtual. Design from problem-solving to problem-finding. In UnDesign: Critical Practices at the Intersection of Art and Design. G. Sade, G. Coombs, A. McNamara (eds.) London, Routledge

2018. FutureCrafting. A speculative method for an imaginative AI. AAAI Spring Symposium Series. Technical Report SS-18. Association for the Advancement ofArtificial Intelligence, Palo Alto, California, 419-422

2017. Filled with wonder. The enchanting android from cams to algorithms. In Encountering Things. Design and Theories of Things. L. Atzmon and P. Boradkar (eds.) London, Bloomsbury. 19-34

2017. Incertitude, contingence et intuition matérielle: un cadre de recherche pour un design mineur. In Biomimétisme: Science, Design et Architecture. M. Antonioli (ed). Paris, Éditions Loco. 31-43

2016. Animistic design: how to reimagine digital interaction between the human and the nonhuman. Digital Creativity. Special issue: Post anthropocentric creativity. S. Roudavski and J. McCormack (eds.) London, Routledge. 52-70 (with P. Van Allen)

2015. When making becomes divination: uncertainty and contingency in computational glitch-events. Design Studies 41. Special issue: Computational making. T. Knight and T. Vardoulli (eds.) London, Elsevier. 110-125

2015. Digital materiality, morphogenesis and the intelligence of the technodigital object. In Deleuze and Design. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press. 107- 138

2015. Introduction. In Deleuze and Design. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press. 1-30 (with J. Brassett)

2014. Neo-animism and design. A new paradigm in object theory. Design and Culture. 6.2. Special issue: Design, thing theory and the lives of objects. L. Atzmon (ed.) London, Berg. 219-242

2010. Contagious affectivity. The management of emotions in late capitalist design. In Negotiating Futures, Design Fiction. 6th Swiss Design Network Conference Proceedings, Basel. 134-149

2009. Object-relics and their effects: for a neo-animist paradigm. MEI Médiation and Information. Special Issue: Objets & communication. 30-31. B. Darras and S. Belkhamsa (eds) Paris, l’Harmattan. 239-253


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