Grounding: A Practice-led Graphic Exploration of Ecofeminism, Wellbeing and Ecological Consciousness for Young Women


  • Tara Falconer Auckland University of Technology
  • Marcos Mortensen Steagall Auckland University of Technology



Design Research, Ecofeminism, Ecological consciousness, Graphic Design, Practice-led research


This article presents an artistic practice-led visual design research project that employs a reflective inquiry methodology to write and design a series of outcomes responding to a rhetoric approach that looks at how a female designer can develop connections to nature and how the design outcomes can empower women to care for themselves and the planet. A vast amount of literature articulates nature's healing powers (Miyazaki, 2018; Hardman, 2020). There is also an emergency in thinkers discussing the connections between environmentalism and feminism, looking into the ways nature and women are similarly deemed inferior by patriarchal structures (Escobar, 2018; Gruen, 1993). This research project aims to bring these two views together, looking into the benefits of appreciating nature as a form of self-care to empower and strengthen young women and subsequently increase a desire to care for the depleting natural world. Therefore, this thesis asks: how can communication design strategies and conventions encourage young women to connect with a dialogical relation with nature, fostering wellbeing and ecological consciousness? The study is positioned as a reflective inquiry, meaning that the research process utilises the researcher's personal experiences and writing, with reflections about action, in action and after action, as well as stories and photographs anonymously retrieved from other young women. These inspired an exploration of handmade collages and a graphic set, which led to the generation of a series of outcomes that seek to empower young women to care for themselves through nature. The project has been influenced by overarching issues facing women and nature but approaches them through optimism and positivity. It seeks to highlight the fact that small changes matter, and activism starts from caring for your life and the lives of others, which is what the final outcomes seek to instill in the lives of young women facing an uncertain future.


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Author Biographies

Tara Falconer, Auckland University of Technology

Tara Falconer is a Graphic Designer based in Auckland, New Zealand, and she has recently graduated from Auckland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Design. She majored in Communication Design and grew a passion for socially and environmentally conscious design, enhanced through the work developed inside the selected minor, Design for Sustainability. She is interested in forms of environmetntal  design through an ecofeminist perspective.

Marcos Mortensen Steagall, Auckland University of Technology

Marcos Mortensen Steagall is an Associate Professor in the Communication Design department at the Auckland University of Technology - AUT since 2016. He is the Communication Design Postgraduate Strand Leader and Programme Leader for Communication Design and Interaction Design for Year 3. He holds a Master's (2000) and PhD (2006) in Communication & Semiotics acquired from The Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a PhD in Art & Design from Auckland University of Technology in 2019. Research interest focus on Practice-oriented research in Design through a Global South perspective.


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How to Cite

Falconer, T., & Mortensen Steagall, M. (2023). Grounding: A Practice-led Graphic Exploration of Ecofeminism, Wellbeing and Ecological Consciousness for Young Women. DAT Journal, 8(1), 101–133.