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Prathima Muniyappa is a Designer, Conservator and research assistant for the Space Enabled research group. She is a PhD candidate in the Media Arts and Sciences at the Media Lab.  She is interested in addressing issues of social justice, democratic access for historically marginalized communities and enabling indigenous agency. She has been vastly privileged to live and learn from the wisdom of indigenous communities the world over from the Soliga in the western ghats of India, to the Lichanthay in Chile. Her research investigates alternative cosmologies and cultural ontologies for their potential to contribute to the emerging discourse on techno-imaginaries in the realm of space exploration, synthetic biology and extended intelligence.
Before coming to MIT Media Lab, she completed a Master in Design Studies in Critical Conservation at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard under a Fulbright Scholarship. In investigating traditional indigenous knowledge, practices and folkways for conservation, her design research on Sacred groves and alternative forest practices’ assumes complete synergy between the constructed categories of ‘nature’ and ‘culture’, and leverages the philosophy of non-duality as an operational paradigm. It achieves this synergy by investigating cultural identity as an ecological manifestation.

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