Mila Stepanovic is the PhD candidate at Politecnico di Milano we are going to introduce today. She was born in Belgrade, Serbia, she is 29, and she is doing her PhD in Design. We asked her a few questions, to get to know her and her research.
Hi Mila! Tell us about your PhD research project
My PhD in Design is about design for behavioural change concerning the use of technologies.
Through my research, I explore how we can design more conscious and technological artefacts able to tackle the behavioural change towards healthier and more sustainable behaviours. The main objective of my research is to suggest new critical approaches that can help in designing more conscious technologies in the present.
How do you approach this change?
I suggest approaches based on critical design practice, i.e. design fiction principles, such as “what if” scenarios and diegetic prototypes.
To achieve the objective of my research, I set different workshops and hackathons, in which I involved design students, professionals and researchers.
How was your passion for design born?
I entered the field of design very early: I studied industrial design at high school. Then, I graduated in Industrial Design at the Faculty of Applied Arts at Belgrade University. In December 2016, I obtained the MSc in Design and Engineering at Politecnico di Milano.
Why did you apply for a PhD?
I developed my interest in design research between BSc and MSc.
During my MSc thesis, I had the chance to collaborate in a European funded project with my supervisor. From that moment, I was involved and directly in touch with what really needs to conduct a design research. I did one year as a research fellow, and therefore I decided to continue with a PhD.
Why at Politecnico di Milano?
Because I am aware that this institution could give me all necessary knowledge, both from a theoretical and a methodological point of view. In addition, the program is highly engaging: it encourages involvement, letting you taking part in many activities. I have had the chance to meet and listen to a lot of talks and lectures by the most important people from the world of design research.
I am aware that this institution could give me all necessary knowledge, both from a theoretical and a methodological point of view.
What are your interests, beyond research?
My second main passion is art. In my free time, I love drawing and painting, but also visiting exhibitions. I also like literature and reading. I am passionate about sports, which I practiced during the period of my Master of Science thesis.
Milan is an ideal place for art lovers. What areas have you liked the most?
It would be hard to select a specific part of Milan as my favourite one. Milan is full of inspiring places for people passionate about design, such as Triennale Milano, Museo del Novecento, Fondazione Prada, Brera district, Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia.
Still, if I would have to choose an area of this city as the most inspiring for me, I think that would be the Lambrate district, an old industrial zone. It is very typical, very specific for Milan; also historical, especially referring to post-World War II period. Today, it has become a place of new design and architecture studios, but it also gets very lively, especially during the Fuorisalone time.