Jeffrey Yoo Warren


My work incorporates and is organized by a variety of themes. As I develop these ideas, I will be posting and refining them here.

Please discuss these themes with me!

Community Science

For over 10 years, I worked at Public Lab, an organization and network I co-founded, to imagine, develop, prototype, and mobilize a new model of public science known as Community Science. Community Science centers on local community knowledge and expertise, and works to build strong networks of local groups across the globe who can fight for accountability and environmental health through affordable, accessible environmental monitoring.

In this theme, I am inspired and influenced by my fellow Public Lab community members and former colleagues, as well as by Natalie Jeremijenko, Max Liboiron and Making and Being, a study of collaborative practices led by Caroline Woolard, and the Study Center for Group Work.


We often grant political, activist, and also technical or scientific work a special status, and separate our lives from those kinds of work. We think of politics as separate from our work, and not a subject for dinners with extended family. This compartmentalization overinflates the sanctity of the work, while failing to truly integrate it into our everyday practices. My aim is to develop commonplace, familiar, and social practices which substantively engage in political, technical, scientific, and activist issues, while normalizing them and deconstructing their special status, allowing them to live with us and enabling us to incorporate our beliefs into everyday decisions and habits.


In order for the future to work differently, we must prototype new ways of being, speaking, making, and interacting. I develop ideas for different ways of making and being which embody my politics, beliefs and identity, through experimental processes, techniques, understandings, and artifacts. I also create and facilitate spaces which provide nourishment for people to engage in creative prototyping.

Everything is a prototype. We just need to get more comfortable with embracing the power of exploratory, collaborative prototyping to find our way out of this mess.


We are often asked to adopt the language, manner, perspectives, and understandings of dominant culture in order to participate, or to achieve ‘mastery’ – especially in environmental knowledge. We are then asked to help reify and reproduce this culture; to jump through hoops, and justify what we know by translating it into the terms and jargon of those in power.

Anti-assimilation is a refusal to translate, remake, reformat, or recontextualize ideas and work into formats and languages required by dominant cultural norms or institutions. It is a reclaiming and celebration of narratives and ideas which come from our histories and traditions outside the dominant culture.

In this theme, I am inspired and influenced by the Design Studio for Social Intervention, Sadie Prego, and Toni Morrison, who wrote:

“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”