jessica charlesworth

About Jessica

Download Resume 

Jessica is a speculative designer and currently teaches in Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

She has experience working for both public and private sector organisations to explore the future implications of their field and explores ways of using design to unravel and provoke rich interactions between people, technology, products and services. Whether critiquing science-related themes or exploring how science and technology development affect our attitudes towards death and mortality, Charlesworth’s work addresses fundamental questions about society’s institutions, ambitions and behaviors.

Revealing insights into her working process, Jessica’s projects explore new possibilities and alternative futures. In contrast to commercial industrial design where new products are developed for immediate consumption, Jessica approaches design as a tool for discussion and provocation bringing big issues, and their impacts on our messy everyday lives, into focus.

Since graduating from the Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art, she has run her own practice conducting speculative design projects, often collaborating with scientists, futurists, designers and academics including think tanks Foresight (UK) and the Institute for the Future (US).

Jessica has exhibited at London Design Festival, MAKVienna, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Ace Museum in Los Angeles and twice at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Her work is held in the permanent collection of MAKVienna.

Jessica has run workshops and tutoring sessions at the Art Center in Pasadena, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Glasgow School of Art, Bath School of Art &Design,  the Royal College of Art, Lancaster University and the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest.

Jessica has previously conducted and taken part in numerous projects whilst working for leading design research and service design consultancies including SeymourPowellForesight, Sense Worldwide and Engine Service Design. Clients have included Habbo, Nokia, Design Council, Vodafone, T-Mobile and GE.

Other consulting work includes Appleyards Uncertainty Management Unit, FutureLab Education think tank and the Institute for Advanced Studies research unit in Lancaster University.

Exhibitions Summary

In September 2012, again in collaboration with Tim Parsons, they created ‘A Form of Happiness’ .  A molecular space-filling wooden and magnetic model of the neurotransmitter dopamine. A rhetorical object representing the chemical desire it might create in the mind of a customer thinking of purchasing it.  Currently on show at Selfridge’s No Noise campaign and previously  on show at  ‘Image for a Title:Placebo Effects In The Cultural Landscape’ during the London Design Festival in September 2012.

In June 2012, again in collaboration with Tim Parsons, they installed The Builders Lounge at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago as part of their current exhibition Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity  open from June 30th to September 23rd cialis online.

In January 2012, Jessica exhibited  The MeMo Organization Cabinet an installation at the Chicago Cultural Center in downtown Chicago as part of the exhibition Morbid Curiosity : The Richard Harris Collection. The installation consists of a cabinet of curious objects and stories that explores a range of poetic practices and attitudes towards death and mourning in relation to developments in science, philosophy and technology. The MeMo Organization is a research-based initiative that recognizes the way cultural shifts have created new relations toward death and experiences cheap viagra. Such change opens the door to more personal, relevant and contemporary experiences of death.

In July 2011, in collaboration with Tim Parsons they installed Adhocism for the We Are Here residency series at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, an installation exploring the intersection between the design process, performance and reappropriation.

In 2010, Jessica collaborated with designer Marei Wollersberger to generate a range of alternative future scenarios entitled Citizen Evolution. Focusing on the implications for the city of Vienna if its key systems were to be shut down, they imagined how citizens might survive and adapt using open source biotechnologies. Citizen Evolution was exhibited at the Museum of Applied and Contemporary Art (MAK) in Vienna in June 2010.  Subsequently, the exhibit was acquired into MAKVienna’s permanent collection


Royal College of Art
MA Design Interactions

10/2005 – 07/2007, London, UK.
Dissertation: “The Future of Knowing Our Future Self”

Manchester Metropolitan University
MA Industrial Design
09/2002 – 09/2003, Manchester
Dissertation: “Design &  Social Interaction”

Manchester Metropolitan University
Three Dimensional Design, First Class
09/1999 – 06/2002, Manchester
Dissertation: “Eliciting Response”

Winchester Art School,
Art Foundation Course, Distinction
09/2001 – 06/2004 , Winchester, UK.


School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Instructor in Designed Objects department
September 2013 – present

Independent Designer, Researcher & Writer
Since July 2007

Engine Service Design, Service Designer
London, Feb- July 2010

Sense Worldwide, Designer, Researcher & Strategist
London, Feb 2008 – Feb 2010

SeymourPowell, Design Researcher
London, July 2007 – Feb 2008

Foresight Government Office of Science, Design Intern
Tackling Obesities Horizon Scanning for 2050
London, Jul – Sept 2006

Liverpool Hope University, Foundation Art & Design Course, Critical Studies Lecturer
Liverpool, Sept 2004 – June 2005

Lectures & Conferences

*Visiting Speaker, Media Design Program, Art Center, Pasadena28th January, 2014
*Visiting Speaker, BA 3DD:IMO, Bath College of Art & Design, England, 12 January, 2014
*Visiting Speaker, In The Loop seriesInstitute of Design, IIT, Chicago12 February, 2013
*Guest Speaker, Apple Store, Lincoln Park, Chicago, 26 September 2012
*Visiting Speaker, Media Design Program, Art Center, Pasadena, 9 December 2011
*Visiting Speaker, Realms of Speculation, University of Michigan, 28 October  2011
*Presenter, Pecha Kucha Chicago, 6 September 2011
*Visiting Speaker, ‘Experimental Design Research’, MFA Designed Objects, SAIC, Chicago, 2010
*Conference Speaker, ‘Personal Futures’, Future of Persuasion Conference, IFTF, 2010
*Speaker, ‘Crowdsourcing the Future’,  AlterFutures , London, 24 July 2009
*Speaker, ‘Future of Self Knowledge’, Adaptive Path, San Francisco, 2009
*Speaker, ‘Future of Self Knowledge’,  Institute For The Future, Sept 2009
*Visiting Lecturer, ‘Post RCA’, Design Interactions, Royal College of Art, 2009
*Visiting Speaker, ‘Tackling Obesities’, Futurelab: Innovation in Education, 2008
*Visiting Lecturer, ‘Superfictions’, BA Fine Art, Lancaster University, 2008
*Visiting Speaker, New Sciences of Protection Research Programme, Lancaster University, 2008

Workshops & Tutoring

*Visiting Tutor, Against Nature, Graduate Media Design Program,Art Center, March 2013
*Workshop Coordinator, Telling TalesBA Product Design 4th years, Glasgow School of Art, 2013
*Workshop Coordinator, Telling Tales, BA 3DD:IMO 2nd years, Bath College of Art & Design, 2013
*Guest Critic, MDDO Designed Objects, SAIC, Chicago, 2012
*Guest Critic, BFA Designed Objects, SAIC, Chicago,  2012
*Guest Critic, Media Design Program, Art Center, Pasadena9 December 2011
*Guest Critic, BFA Designed Objects, SAIC, Chicago, November 2011
*Guest Critic, BFA Designed Objects, SAIC, Chicago, May 2011
*Workshop Coordinator, The Cloud & The Protagonist, BA Product Design, Glasgow School of Art, 2010
*Workshop Coordinator, Local Intelligence Budaors project, Moholy Nagy School of Art and Design, Budapest, 2010
*Visiting Tutor, Tribal Futures/Vodafone Project, MA Design Interactions, Royal College of Art, 2009
*Visiting Tutor, BA Fine Art, Lancaster University, 2008
*Participant,  Active Welfare Service Design Workshop, Torino, World Design Capital, 2008


The MeMo Organization for ‘Home is Where the Art Is’ during Spoletto Cultural Festival
May 2013
Charleston, SC

The MeMo Organization exhibited with Chicagoland, at Wanted Design during ICFF
May 2013
New York

A Form of Happiness for No Noise campaign at Selfridges
January 2013
Selfridges, London

A Form of Happiness for London Design Festival exhibition Image for a Title : Placebo effects in the cultural landscape
September 14th – 23rd 2012
8 Egerton Gardens Mews, London

The Builder’s Lounge as part of the Skyscraper: Art & Architecture Against Gravity exhibition
June 30th – September 23rd 2012
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Bar Aalto Atlanta with DesignMarketo
June 7th – 10th 2012
Space2, Atlanta

The MeMo Organization in conjunction with Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection
January 27th – July 8th 2012
Chicago Cultural Center

Adhocism: We Are Here
July 19th  – 24th 2011
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Future of Persuasion Conference
May 2010
Institute for The Future
Quadrus Center, Menlo Park, CA

Citizen Evolution: Project Vienna
June 28th – September 12th, 2010
MAKVienna, Austria

The Delphi Party: EPIC Artifacts Exhibition
April 2008
Copenhagen, Denmark

The FATE Institute: Great Exhibition RCA Graduate Show
June 2007
Royal College of Art + Hyde Park, London

Design Interactions Work-in-Progress show
January 2006
Royal College of Art, London

Wearables as Relationship Tools: Wearable Futures Conference
September 2005
University of Wales

New Designers
Islington Business Design Centre, London

Collaborations & Residencies

Co-Founder ‘AlterFutures
Design collective and monthly meet-up for Design Futurists
2009 – ongoing

Local Intelligence Budaors Project
Service Design/Social Innovation Collaboration with Bas Kools
2008 – ongoing

Three month residency at Blaker Design School,
Norway, 2001

Expedition to Zimbabwe & residency at an orphanage


Klat Magazine
December 2010 – present

September 2010 – January 2011

Tribal Futures: Vodafone Project
Design Interactions
Royal College of Art
November 2008 – January 2009

New Sciences of Protection : Designing Safe Living Research Programme
Lancaster University
October 2008 – July 2009


*Project Vienna: How to React to a City, Exhibition Catalogue, German/English MAK Vienna / freytag & berndt, Wien, 2010
*Researcher/Writer, Co-Creation White Paper, Sense Worldwide, 2010
*Co-ordinated the publication of the Design Interactions yearbook, Royal College of Art, 2007
*Published article in AI & Society Springer Journal entitled Wearables as “relationship tools”, 2005


Second Prize  – Future of Money Award 2012
London Digital Money Forum organised by Consult Hyperion
28th & 29th March, 2012

Winner of ‘Project Vienna – A Design Strategy’
MAKVienna & departure Design Competition, 2010

Nominated Science & Technology Civil Service Awards,
Tackling Obesities
UK Civil Service, 2007

Shortlisted ‘Design For Our Futureselves’
RCA Helen Hamlyn Award, 2007

Key Skills

Design Research:
Creating experimental research approaches, designing future forecasting methodologies,
film ethnography, co-ordinating online networks, workshops, cultural probes, visual prototyping,
experimental ethno-fiction methodologies, synthesis, analysis, scenario building.

Excellent design & prototyping skills.
Excellent knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Microsoft Office
Proficiency in HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver, After Effects, iMovie, FinalCutPro, 3dstudio max
Proficiency in photography, film making, sketching, storytelling and scenario creation.
Basic electronic prototyping and programming skills.


Futurology, genealogy, design, science, psychology, culture and the human being.


Parsons & Charlesworth collaboration website launched!

Disegno's 2°C Communicating Climate Change,
Future Climate [Hi]stories, The Aram Gallery,
Sept 21st - Oct 31st 2015
Istanbul Design Biennial, New Survivalism: Alternative Bug Out Bags, Nov 1st – Dec 14th 2014
CHGO DSGN Chicago design exposition,
Chicago Cultural Center, May 30th - Nov 2nd 2014
CHICAGOLAND group show, Wanted Design New York,
ICFF May 16th-19th 2014
Core77 Conference, talk title Spectacular Vernacular, June 19th 2014
Atelier Apocalypse pop up design studio, MCA First Friday, April 2nd 2014, 6-10pm
Spectacular Vernacular book discussion,
Hearth + Shelf, Summer Forum, March 1st 2014
Alien Americana discussion, MCA Live, Feb 25th 2014
Ways of Futuring seminar class, Designed Objects at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jan - May 2014
Material Futures graduate class in Designed Objects at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sept - Dec 2014

jess.charlesworth [at]

Jessica is a speculative designer with experience working for both public and private sector organisations to explore the future implications of their field. She explores ways of using design to unravel and provoke rich interactions between people, technology, products and services. Whether critiquing science-related themes or exploring how science and technology development affect our attitudes towards death and mortality, Charlesworth’s work addresses fundamental questions about society’s institutions, ambitions and behaviors more...