code and design experiences for beginners
Code underlies contemporary life. Code is social and it is political. It is the material driving systems and experiences. It is software, data, networks, communications. Design shapes contemporary life. Design is social and it is political. It is the material enabling systems and experiences. It is software, data, networks, communications. Code and design, together, are powerful. Our mission is inclusion, literacy, and agency – for everybody.
Jess Parris Westbrook (she/they) is a T1D cyborg (translation: crip reliant on AI-enabled insulin pump technology to stay alive). Westbrook holds feminist, non-binary/genderqueer, and transdisciplinarity worldviews while studying forces at play in social landscapes, educational environments, and learning scenarios. They use art, design, and mixed methods to negotiate, translate, and organize the joys and struggles of complexity, information, and understanding. Pushing beyond the boundaries and constraints of sequential "project" mode and mindset Westbrook continues to expand their perspectives and ways of being and is currently deeply involved in Queering Systems © an immersive, complex, reflexive lived experience that transcends all things defined, established, and normalized in order to feel and embody alternative futures.
Westbrook is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Design, College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University (2016) where they have taught courses across the curriculum areas including UxD/HCI, Graphic Design, Games, and Digital Communication Media Arts. Their educational philosophy integrates creativity, critical technical practice, self-determined learning, and progress theory. Westbrook is also currently a PhD candidate (ABD) in Education. Motivated by the experience of learning, both human and non-human, Westbrook continues to expand their research orientations and practice toolkit(s). Several years of completed coursework intersects leadership themes, curriculum, educational research, and learning sciences. Their dissertation research involves complexity, futures, learning, and human-AI interaction. Prior to joining DePaul’s School of Design, Westbrook was a tenured Associate Professor of Contemporary Practices and Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Chicago, IL (2010-2016) where they also served as the Director of Technology Initiatives developing curriculum, courses, and technology workshops. Westbrook has founded and directed several initiatives including Divergent Design Lab focused on cybersecurity research, and Channel TWo focused on tresspassing and information experiences.
Paige Treebridge (she/her) practices and researches the construction of reality as it happens in social networks and power structures via code. Treebridge is a self-taught creative coder who once bought six very thick Perl books in order to create a single CGI form. She misses Lingo, and regrets time she spent in Actionscript. She first discovered automation in IRC scripting and eggdrop bots. This later became an obsession with chatbots, and conversation simulators. She co-founded and co-directs Channel TWo as an excuse to make generative video art but ended up making zombie riot cops run in artificial life patterns to simulate fish kettling at protests to highlight police omnipresence and security theater.
Treebridge is an experience design researcher and teacher. She's taught courses in neurology and design; creativity and temporal loops; experience design for immersive 3D environments; exploiting existing APIs for critical design; UXD and usability research; and artificial intelligence in UXD (2021). She manages transing/queering CS and alternate reality game projects at Divergent Design Lab. Her new project, Flourish, will focus on the simulation of metacognition.