Kate Ferguson

I am a designer, placemaker and researcher with a focus on participatory processes.

Kate Ferguson

I am interested in how design projects can be avenues for learning, collaboration, fun, and strengthening communities.

As an architecture student I co-initiated and led a project in Papua New Guinea to design and build a remote health centre with a group of students and local people. I learned so much about the challenges and rewards of participatory work, and faced the limitations of my own skill set. Since then, I have worked in multi-disciplinary settings and explored how professionals and community members can work together productively.

I was a co-founder and COO of CoDesign Studio, a non-profit social enterprise that helped to bring community-oriented placemaking into the mainstream of Australian urban design. In 2014 I authored a Participatory Design Handbook based on experience of a project in Cambodia. The Handbook is a plain English guide for NGOs, designers and students to assist them in the development and implementation of community based projects. I enjoy designing and facilitating learning experiences - from university teaching, to training and mentoring young professionals, and running school holiday programs for teenagers, I love learning with others.

Undertaking a PhD was an opportunity to reflect deeply on participatory design and how designers can engage in complex and political issues. In partnership with Blacktown City Council in Sydney’s western suburbs, I investigated issues related to young people and public space, which led to two design-build placemaking projects with groups of teenagers. Making things together allowed young people to participate in shaping public space in a way that responded to their desires for participation to be practical, creative and sociable. In writing about the project I focused on political and relational themes, and developed the idea of ‘navigating’ as a framework for undertaking participatory design.

I’m currently looking for what is next!

Email: kate@kateferguson.org
Mobile: +61 434 951 145