Iris Luo
Iris Luo
Ph.D. Student
Human Centered Design


Iris Luo is an interdisciplinary researcher, curator, and educator from China. Her academic background includes arts administration and human rights studies. Her research intersects pluriversal design, community organizing, de-archiving, civic/alternative pedagogy, and indigenous epistemologies, with the primary approach of action research and ethnographical inquiry, and is rooted in a trans-local context.

From 2020 to 2023, Iris conducted research on art as an intervention in rural China and the cultural ecology of Maya textiles in Guatemala. Currently, she is working on the theory of "the Ocean as Paradigm" to ontologically shift the narrative of world-building.

From 2023-2024, Iris is a research fellow at the Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR) in the year of "The After School." From 2024-2025, Iris has been granted the Charlotte A. Jirousek Fellowship from Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection to make an exhibition entitled "The Making of Barkcloth: Place, Gender, and Trans-Local Community."

I practice curation and study curatorial strategy through the lens of historiography to social design. I focus on the collaboration between grassroots collectives with/in institutional settings and alternative knowledge production through action. Community engagement and civic pedagogy are at the core of my curation.

In the context of museology and anthropology, I study the application of indigenous philosophies to post-development theories and place-based design. By seeing tradition in transition rather than passively in the past, I study how to preserve intangible cultural heritage, such as craftsmanship, by connecting the local artisan communities with a global audience.

Trans-locality is the main framework I use, and I am currently working on the theory of "the Ocean as Paradigm" to ontologically shift the narrative of world-building by prioritizing relationality as the essence of existence and rethink the shape of a possible cultural collective.

2023, M.A., Human Rights and the Arts, Bard College

2021, M.F.A., Theatre Management & Producing, Columbia University

2018, B.A., Finance, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics

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