About Catalina Alzate
Catalina was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, where she graduated with a degree in design, and an award-winning thesis project that bridged participatory design practices and microeconomics. After that, she worked in design studios and start-up incubators before moving to India to work as a Research Assistant and later as a Faculty at Srishti Manipal Institute of Art Design and Technology in Bangalore. In India, she was involved in Participatory Design + Community Healthcare projects with rural communities, in collaboration with Digital Rights and Community Health organizations. Catalina moved to the US where she graduated with an MFA in Arts, Technology and Emerging Communications from UT Dallas, and then served as a Faculty in the School of Design and Creative Technologies at UT Austin, where she taught courses that incorporate critical theory in design, and a special topics course on Design and Policing.
During her time living in India, Catalina built networks of research, activism and friendship in Southeast Asia, by attending training programs in technology-facilitated gender-based violence, evaluating and allocating research funds for projects on gender and digital technologies based in South Asia, Africa and South America, and serving as a subject matter expert and graphic designer in various projects by The Association for Progressive Communications and the International Development Research Centre in Canada (IDRC). Catalina participates in advisory groups that directly inform international bodies such as UN Women and the United Nations Population Fund on the conceptualization and analysis of the material impacts of online or technology-mediated violence in the lives of women and gender non-conforming people.
Research and publications
Ongoing and upcoming research
Catalina uses feminist theory, the lens of participatory design, and the dynamic structures of service and systems design to conduct and evaluate interventions related to Community Healthcare and Emerging Technologies, with a special interest in Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice. These interventions, manifested in a spectrum of creative possibilities, from expressive introspective works to workshops and long-term community design processes, emphasize the collective and interdependent aspects of healthcare, not only to acknowledge the importance of context on health, but to also intervene in those contexts. Addressing the external and internalized systems of structured inequity in our society is understood as a central design task. Reflection-in-action and incorporating the physical body in design processes are ongoing practices that nurture these efforts.