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Post-Grad Interest Group: Open EcoTech Lab

Maria Li, Open EcoTech Lab image by Maria Li
| Photograph: Maria Li
Written by
Post-Grad Community
Published date
10 March 2023

There has been much evidence showing the urgency of tackling the climate crisis, which requires nations, businesses, and individuals to take action to save our planet. While behavior change was starting to happen, more profound behavioral and cultural change in terms of our relation to the Earth to drive systemic change is vital to fight the climate crisis.

Making technology and data for sustainability more accessible to the public and creatives empowers them better understand the relationship between the ecosystem and human well-being. Bringing art and design to open-source technology development facilitates the development of data-driven innovation for climate emergencies to go beyond solely technical solutions into interventions to drive behavioral and systemic change.

As a hands-on interest group, we seek to bring together cross-disciplinary individuals who are interested or experienced in open-source methods and want to apply these skills to addressing climate emergencies. We want to explore how collaboration across different industries will create a new age of open-source technology for climate emergencies.

The group aims to be an open, inclusive group which welcomes postgraduate students (MA and PhD) at UAL and other interested parties including UAL alumni and science/ engineering postgraduate students from external institutions.

Watch this short video by UNESCO about open science:

What to expect

Activities for this interest group will include (but not limited to):

  • Discussion about the social and cultural implications of open-source technologies/ open science/ open data in the context of climate emergencies
  • Co-creation of a manifesto
  • Collab mixer (open mic for group members to give a 30-second elevator pitch for project ideas and collaborations)
  • Mini hackathons

The aim is to create a cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional platform to foster collaboration between art and science in developing open-source projects that drive behavioral and systemic change to address climate emergencies.

Most meetings will be held in a hybrid format (both in-person and online) and will also be accessible to the external audience via Eventbrite.

You can join at any point of the year.

Our plans

The first meeting will take place on Tuesday 14 March 2023 at Central Saint Martins. More details can be found here.

Get in touch if interested

To register your interest, please email Maria Li at

You can expect to hear from the group leaders via email 2-3 times every month. These emails will notify you of upcoming events. You can also follow our Instagram page for the latest updates: @open_ecotech_lab

Group leader

Open EcoTech Lab is founded and led by Maria Li, a maker and educator with a background in Molecular Biology. Maria graduated with a BSc in Applied Biology from the City University of Hong Kong in 2016. During her studies, she discovered that there are many significant developments in the field of science that do not make it outside the doors of a laboratory. Upon graduation, she co-founded DIYBio Hong Kong, a community bio lab with a vision to democratize biological science. Maria is passionate about experimenting with ways to empower the community with creative confidence to maximize a positive social and environmental impact. She also joined an impact-focused makerspace, MakerBay, as an educator to empower more young people to do innovations that bring positive social and environmental impact. Maria is currently pursuing her MA Biodesign in Central Saint Martins to study how to translate inspirations from nature to design a regenerative future.

Maria Li, Open EcoTech Lab image by Maria Li
| Photograph: Maria Li

Post-Grad Interest Groups

UAL’s Post-Grad Community supports a growing number of issue-specific, cross-disciplinary interest groups led by postgraduate students and academics.

​These groups connect creatives with shared research/practice interests across different specialisms and subject areas.

PhD students have launched interest groups in the past to coincide with exhibitions and symposiums that they have organised under the same theme. Students have also used Interest Groups as a working group towards research or a standalone event or series.

Visit the Post-Grad Interest Group Directory to find more groups or learn how to set up your own!

Get in touch with the Post-Grad Community team