Other Biological Futures | Issue 4, Journal of Design & Science. Edited by Dr. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Natsai Audrey Chieza, Emeka Okafor, Jim Ajioka, and Justinas Vilutis

Other Biological Futures: Decentralising Biotech

MIT Media Lab, MIT Press

Emeka Okafor’s work catalyses African innovation. He is a co-founder of Maker Faire Africa and curator of TEDGlobal Africa, and sits on the board of the Gearbox International Foundation. Jim Ajioka is a professor of synthetic biology at the University of Cambridge. His interest is in distributing emerging technology in the developing world, and is working on  projects ranging from creating an arsenic biosensor with non governmental organisations in Nepal, to Colorifix, a company developing a more sustainable fabric dyeing process.

Synthetic biology is regularly promoted as a technological solution for those who are impoverished in the global south by providing food, medicines, and energy. But how often are technologies designed by the people they are being designed for? While more traditional forms of biodesign exist across Africa, the UK is investing in building synthetic biology capacity in southern Africa. Could these technologies be developed in new ways under local conditions? Emeka and Jim discuss how “contextualising technology” could encourage equity, and together, imagine new models of collaboration that could emerge.

For full article go to Other Biological Futures.


Dr. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Natsai Audrey Chieza


Conversation: Emeka Okafor, Jim Ajioka, and Justinas Vilutis
Photography: Justinas Vilutis


Journal of Design & Science
Issue 4
Other Biological Features

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