Livability is a research area committed to cross-disciplinary collaboration between creative and scholarly inquiry and relational frameworks that conjoin human and nonhuman agents in the study of material interactions. Livability initiatives focus on the potential of the arts and humanities to address challenges presented by the climate crisis, struggles for livable communities, environmental justice, land and food sovereignty, and social rights in health and cultural systems. 


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Current Projects

Building Health Care Collectives Logo


The Building Healthcare Collectives (BHC) project emphasizes humanities expertise in care. We create an infrastructure where healthcare professionals, humanities researchers, community partners, and activists can work together to solve key problems facing the U.S. healthcare system. These problems include increasing costs, unequal access to care, unequal quality of care, and rapidly changing technological processes. Following the Literate Care model, we bring together interdisciplinary research teams focused on shared decision-making, preventative care, and a focus on health disparities due to social, economic, and environmental factors.

The BHC project is funded by the Humanities Without Walls initiative and led by researchers from Michigan State University and The Ohio State University. We are seeking BHC Project Fellows who are interested in participating in or leading action-oriented health equity research. For more information, visit the project website here.

Humane Tech Abstract


The Collaboration for Humane Technologies is a network of artists, scholars and researchers exploring the interplay between physical and virtual experience and seeking to intervene directly in creating better futures. We are an interdisciplinary community. We embrace collaboration, nuance and complexity. We make games, virtual reality experiences, interactive installations, animations, data visualizations, objects, live performances and whatever else we need to invent given the problem or need we are tackling. Our projects foreground well-being, movement, creative open-ended play, compassion, personal agency and collaboration. We are inspired by design innovator Bret Victor's provocation:

“What might it be like to work, to play, to share and to think in more dynamic mediums that access our full multi-sensory human capacities?”

This question sits at the heart of our research and our varied definitions of humane tech - that is, technology that is responsive to how humans learn, think, and create and thrive. With these humane working assumptions, we focus each year on a different theme. 

For more information, visit the project site here

Livable Futures

Livable Futures fosters creative, collective thinking and doing in the context of planetary crisis and unpredictability.  

We start from the understanding that practices in the arts and humanities are uniquely positioned to create and model more desirable life worlds and to re-conceptualize and generate meaningful public dialog on our changing planetary conditions. We showcase the role of the arts and humanities in responding to the aesthetic, political and social realities wrought by planetary change and devastation. And we enthusiastically take up scholar and activist Adrienne Maree Brown’s galvanizing question:

“How do we turn our collective full-bodied attention toward collaboration, if that is the way we will survive?”

The planetary change implied in the Anthropocene urges us toward cooperative thinking and learning, public dialog, emergent strategies, creative responses, non-competitive critical thinking, and innovative approaches.

Livable Futures are collaborative, they integrate artistic, scientific and humanistic methods and practices; and they are attentive to the fact that social difference and inequality are constitutive to planetary change.

For more information, visit the project site here

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This project will emphasize research and teaching in the areas of Medical and Health Humanities and the Arts and is currently under development. 

If you're interested in the area, please contact area Project Director, Professor Julia Nelson Hawkins.



This choreographic work will reflect local and global perspectives on the effects of climate change and share an artistic process that incorporates scientific and artistic research in the form of a rigorous performance experience for an international group of professional dancers and Ohio State dance students. 

Core facilitators: Daniel Roberts (Department of Dance) and Jeanine Thompson (Department of Theatre)


The Woods is a mixed-reality, interactive installation that will address the perils of social isolation by promoting connections between people and actively engaging them through play. It will prompt an examination of human connectivity through the lens of contemporary gaming technology. 

Core facilitators: Kyoung Lee Swearingen (Department of Design) with Marc Ainger (School of Music), Scott Swearingen (Department of Design), Rosalie Yu (Columbia University), Skylar Wurster (undergraduate student researcher, School of Engineering)