Esther Kang

Esther Kang

PhD in Transition Design

estherka@andrew.cmu.edu

Esther is a researcher, writer, and educator who works at the intersection of social justice and systems design. She is deeply committed to transformative change, meaningful engagement, and thoughtful collaboration. 

Esther most recently led a research and strategy effort for the state of New Jersey where her teams focused on the issues of persistent and recent unemployment across the region and with the rise of COVID-19. Prior to her time in NJ, Esther worked across sectors to bring community-centered processes to teams specializing in civic tech, urban planning, education, philanthropy, and city government. She also served a one-year term as the inaugural Designer-in-Residence at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) under the Obama administration. Esther has taught at New York University (NYU), Pratt Institute, and School of Visual Arts.

Esther received her M.A. in social design from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her B.F.A in art theory and photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Research interests include:

  • Decolonizing design and its relationship to transformative justice
  • Politics of democratizing the production of place
  • Relationship between transformative change and public policy
  • Relationship between autonomy, collective/community, and the state