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Deepa Butoliya named Public Engagement Faculty Fellow


Deepa Butoliya, assistant professor of art and design, received the distinguished honor of being named a Public Engagement Faculty Fellow by the University of Michigan Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). She is one of 14 faculty members chosen to participate in the fellowship program that provides resources and support for scholars and researchers incorporating public engagement into their work. 

The fellowship allows faculty members to consider how they can prioritize outward engagement in their scholarly activity and translate it into meaningful public impacts. 

Since launching in 2020, the Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship program has supported 75 U‑M researchers in pursuing ethical, equitable, and effective public engagement through research and creative practice.

During a five-week Studio Experience program, the fellows will network, learn about many forms of public engagement, and develop skills and project plans. After completing the Studio phase, the faculty members can apply for up to $15,000 in funding and in-kind support from OVPR and other university partners to implement their ideas into real-world projects.

Design, however critical, does not emerge exclusively in closed studios of designers or classrooms. Instead, it happens at the sites of the everyday struggle to survive, resist, and subvert.”
Deepa Butoliya, Associate Professor and U‑M Engagement Fellow

Butoliya’s research is located at the intersection of models of knowledge and critical thinking emerging from multiple and global perspectives. Her research over the past few years has focused on critical perspectives and practices in design. She researches critique in design from multiple pluriversal perspectives. 

As part of her research, she has co-curated an international exhibition titled Communal Design Collective Futures and organized a symposium to explore current grassroots and community-oriented design practices grounded in abolition principles by bringing local perspectives on the knowledge, research, and practice of this speculative futures design genre. Butoliya has presented her research and conducted workshops at IDSA, Making Futures, EPIC, CHI, IASDR, and PRIMER conferences.

In 2023, Butoliya was awarded the North Campus Dean’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit Award for her work with Detroit-based community organizations, including Afrofuture Youth Detroit and Detroit Justice Centre, Feedom Freedom Growers Urban Farm, where she has researched understanding the design practices of marginalized communities.