This research is made possible thanks to a multispecies design collective formed by: marine plants and sea organisms, designers, lawyers, migrants, NGOs and biologists

In his geo-historical account of the Euro-Mediterranean zone, Thum discusses the several ‘meanings of the sea’ (Thum, 2014), suggesting that migration phenomena across the Mediterranean can be better comprehended if we learn to ‘think maritime’. Thinking maritime is, metaphorically speaking, a way of thinking and doing that departs from fixed notions of territories and borders, in favor of new modes of co-habitation. Unlimited mobility, intense mutual dependencies, shared knowledge, mutual responsibility for safety and law, and persistent dynamism are some of the key aspects that might help us re-imagining our relations with the navigators who populate sea and land. According to Thum, maritime thinking and acting might led us to more collaborative geo-policy making, and help us better understanding the dense, dynamic and complex web of relationships that have been framing the Euro-Afro-Mediterranean space. This way of reading the Euro-Afro-Mediterranean area, unbounded by physical territorial demarcation, questions not only the concept of geographical limes, but also linear, dualistic views of that space as the immaculate ‘cradle of civilization’, acknowledging, for instance, the atrocious accounts of violence, suffer and violation that, since centuries, have been impregnating migratory flows.

Opening geo-policy making to other-than-human worlds, we believe, also implies extending the network of actors-navigators who participate in this thought and factual praxis, providing novel means for allowing multispecies’ agentic forces to emerge.

This research project follows a practice-based approach, complementarily informed by theoretical elements. More specifically, the research is developed through the methodological settings of Research through Design (RtD), an approach that uses methods and processes of design practice to generate new knowledge (Zimmerman & Forlizzi, 2014). Theoretically, the project builds on Multispecies Theory (Tsing, 2013) -which also provides practical tactics, Critical Participatory Design Research and situated design methods.

Founded by the Sea is a long term research project and it is currently ongoing, more information and outcomes will be shared in the upcoming future.

2020 - 2021


Multispecies Design Research


“So, the Mediterranean Sea and its shores should not be seen stereotypically and exclusively as the ‘cradle of civilization’. It can also be seen as a counter-place calling into question civilization in the sense of social order and calculable living-together” Bernd Thum

alessia cadamuro