Afield is a design research practice bringing comparative interdisciplinary perspective to contemporary social issues. The practice is critically informed by the integration of design and social science methodologies that advance research-creation. Projects range from situated investigations of early childhood development infrastructure in South Africa to a design ethnography critically considering economies of migration, postcolonialism, and what we call 'the practice of practice' in Montréal.
Kai Wood Mah and Patrick Lynn Rivers co-direct Afield. Mah is a design historian, licensed architect with l'Ordre des architectes du Québec (OAQ), and professor. Mah's architectural practice is interdisciplinary and grounded in site-specific investigations employing archives, fieldwork, social science methodologies, and research-creation. His work includes designing and building community centres and institutional spaces with Cree and Inuit communities in Northern Québec. Writings by Mah have appeared in Visual Studies, Children, Youth and Environments, and Interventions among other peer-reviewed journals as well
as edited volumes.
Rivers is a political scientist and professor. Rivers's hybrid and increasingly collaborative work is characterised by situated and comparative thinking that makes use of tools from academic and practice-based disciplines. This trajectory is reflected in the peer-reviewed book Governing Hate and Race and peer-reviewed articles appearing in diverse academic outlets like the South African Law Journal, Space and Culture, and the Journal of Curriculum Studies. Writings by Rivers have run as analysis pieces in outlets like the The Star (Toronto), The Star (Johannesburg), and New City (Chicago), and as long-form journalism in Briarpatch.