Leonardo Imagination Fellowship

In 2020, we partnered with ASU-Leonardo to host a cohort of three fellows who explored experimental art-science innovation practices and created projects that imagined a regenerative, vibrant global future for all, building on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These projects, which blended artistic methods with fields including data science, Indigenous knowledge systems, and circular economy, modeled new ways that art-science approaches can advance resilience, justice, cooperation, and trust.

Leonardo fellowship information
Nandita Kumar

Nandita Kumar is a new-media artist who works at the intersection art, environmental science, technology, and community. She explores the elemental process through which human beings construct meaning from their experiences, by creating sensory narratives through the usage of data, sound, video/ animation and performance, smartphone apps, customized motherboards, solar/microwave sensors.

Nandita’s projects are heavily research-based that has lead her to become interested in “the data”, its representation, and explores methods of engaging audiences through these interactive installations. Her interest lies in propelling the human race towards a sustainable development, which not only focuses on environmental protection but also social development. Her process envisions a desirable future state for human societies in which living conditions and resource-use continue to meet human needs without undermining the “integrity, stability and beauty” of natural biotic systems. Nandita explores the impact of innovative technologies on human lives through her practice. She employs technology as though it were a natural element in an extended ecosystem. Her works as a result are hybrids, rooted simultaneously in human nature while a pervasive electronic layer is integrated seamlessly.

Nandita has shown in Pompidou, ZKM, Kiasma, KNMA, LACMA, REDCAT, ISEA, Jeu de Paume, Film Archive NY, NTAA, RedCat. “Ghar Pe/At Home” (2011-2012), a community art project she curated, has been documented online by Asian Art Archive (Hong Kong). She has also been a speaker at TEDx and MCA, Sydney.Goa, India. www.nanditakumar.com

Full credits: https://leonardo.asu.edu/content/nandita-kumar-video-presentation
Brook Thompson

Brook Thompson is a Yurok and Karuk Native from Northern California. Brook fights for water and Native American rights through speaking to groups and frontline activism. Brook was the 2019 American Indian Science and Engineering Society’s Region 1 representative. She has been an intern for the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in D.C. In 2017 Brook was awarded the American Indian Graduate Center’s Undergraduate student of the year and in 2020 she was won Unity’s 25 Under 25 award. At the moment Brook is in an MS environmental engineering program at Stanford University. Current fights for Miss Thompson include undamming the Klamath River, denying the Jordan-Cove LNG pipeline, and supporting women and Natives in STEM fields. Miss Thompson’s goal is to bring together water rights and Native American knowledge through engineering, public policy, and social action. PORTLAND, United States https://www.brookmthompson.com

More information: https://leonardo.asu.edu/content/brook-thompson-video-presentation
Melanie Valencia

Melanie Valencia is an Andean, originally from Ambato, Ecuador. She is currently pursuing her interdisciplinary PhD in circular economy from both economics and engineering perspectives. Her research focuses on the social determinants of the circular economy, particularly on how the informal recycling sector can be included in this new model in Latin America. She has been working at the intersection of environmental engineering, climate change and social innovation. Most of her work has been related to sanitation and improving waste management in both technical and social aspects with projects in Ghana and Ecuador. She was named MIT Innovator Under 35 in 2016 for her work in CarboCycle, a biotech startup transforming organic waste into a palm oil substitute. She was also one of Project Drawdown’s research fellow to estimate the impact of scaling existing solutions to mitigate climate change. She has been organizer and speaker at multiple events, including Hacking Medicine MIT and Zero Waste Latin America.Quito, Ecuador. http://melvalenciav.blogspot.com/

Full credits: https://leonardo.asu.edu/content/melanie-valencia-video-presentation