Elpitha Tsoutsounakis portrait
  • Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Multi-Disciplinary Design
  • Associate Director, Design
  • Assistant Professor, School Of Architecture

Research Statement

I am interested in speculative design work as response to landscape. The products of this work go beyond written narrative to develop the ideas and concepts through making, iteration, and production. This creative response balances my design research in community engaged design studios with the National Park Service that explore issues of land conservation and experience in ancestral lands in the West. My creative practice becomes a critical method of conceptualizing my own ethical and ecological awareness in the form of letterpress printing and publishing. I have recently begun an investigation into iron oxide pigments, or ochres


I would like to further articulate themes in my research and teaching through a body of creative work that explores the role of design in generating a land ethic and ecological awareness that is inclusive and sustainable, but also imaginative, poetic, and wholistic. The foraging of ochres (with permits) from the landscape becomes a ritual and performance in land response. The use of these ochres as pigments attempts to make color material and move beyond the dominance of literal representation in aesthetic responses to the American West. 


Research Keywords

  • small press publication
  • natural pigment
  • exhibits and installations
  • dark sky
  • ancestral lands
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Publication design
  • Ochre
  • Experience Design
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Ecofeminism
  • Design
  • Decolonial Education
  • Bears Ears National Monument

Research/Scholarship Projects

  • Design Field Studio. PI: Elpitha Tsoutsounakis. 07/01/2018 - present.

Creative Research

  • Moby Dick Tracts 200 years after the birth of Herman Melville, the Bodleian Bibliographical Press at Oxford University seeks a collaboration with printers everywhere to honour the author by printing parts of 'The Whale,' (London, October 1851), or, as it is best known, 'Moby-Dick; or, The Whale' (New York, November 1851) Exhibition, in progress 09/01/2019.
  • Dark Sky Journal Creative direction, design and production of the inaugural volume and web platform for the newly established Journal for Dark Sky Studies. Other, in progress 06/01/2019.
  • Train Tracts 2019 Train Tracts is a traveling literary journal and an experiment in connection. The journal is made up of twelve chapters, each a collaboration between an artist and a writer. The small edition chapters are each unique works of art created by printmakers from around the country. The stories are of travel, transformation, and connecting with strangers. Tracts will be on display at the Rio Gallery. Exhibition, completed 01/31/2019.
  • Design Field Studio is an exploration of the role of design in our collective ecological consciousness and the experience of public lands Other, in progress 07/01/2018.
  • Dark Sky Exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah Exhibition, completed 02/28/2018.


  • Tanner Human Values Conversation with Maya Lin. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 11/21/2019.
  • Keynote Speaker, Bliss Celebration of Life, University of Utah, College of Architecture + Planning. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/12/2019.
  • Adobe XD Webinar: Elevate Your User Experience Design Courses. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/2019.
  • Design and Creative Process The products of design are all around us, but often the process of design is not well known or understood. Somewhere between art and invention, every designer has their own creative process. Join in a discussion exploring that process from multiple disciplines including common ideas that all designers share. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 08/18/2018.
  • "The Future of Play: A Framework for Design Studio Curriculum' Presentation at the International Design Principles and Practice Conference. Presentation, Presented, 03/2015.
  • Pecha Kucha Salt Lake Vol. 14. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/13/2015.
  • 'Birds of a Feather' group show Sponsored by The Mandate Press. Other, Accepted, 01/2015.
  • Moderator and Session Topic at the AIGA Design Educators Conference: New Venures: Intersections in Design Education. Presentation, Accepted, 09/2014.
  • 'Camp Studio: Explorations in Outdoor Product Development' Paper presentation at the IDSA International Conference Education Symposium. Co-authored with James Agutter. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 08/2014.
  • 'Words of Wisdom' Group show sponsored by The Mandate Press. Other, Accepted, 08/2014.
  • 'Design Process / Design Thinking: Alternative Methods in the Classroom' Presented at the National Conference for the Beginning Design Student. Co-Authored with James Agutter. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 04/03/2014.
  • 'Nothing Goes According to Plan' group show sponsored by The Mandate Press. Other, Accepted, 01/2014.
  • 'Design Thinking: A Model for Introducing Design to University Students Across Disciplines' Presented at the International Conference for Design Principles and Practice. Presentation, Presented, 01/2014.
  • Making Manifest: The Importance of the Actual in the Digital Design Process; National Conference for the Beginning Design Student Co-authored with Erin Carraher. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 04/2013.
  • 2012 Counterform Exhibition - University of Utah Book Arts, juried exhibit of artist's books and broadsides. Other, Accepted, 08/31/2012.


  • English, fluent.
  • Modern Greek (1453-), fluent.