Why would I ever fry and eat my SCOBY? It would be like murder! : Attuning to nonhumans through kombucha fermentation practices

Aybars Şenyıldız*, Emilija Veselova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

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Kombucha fermentation is a multispecies activity guided by human-microbe
interactions. This study investigates kombucha fermentation practices as a platform to recognize relationality with nonhuman microbes. For this, relational theories enable reframing human-microbe relations by focusing on reciprocity and interconnectedness within multispecies relations. The empirical research consists of interviews, a design probing task, and a collective reflection workshop with kombucha brewers. The empirical research delivers insights into the agency of microbes, sensory experiences, and embodied knowledge in kombucha fermentation practices. Findings investigate how humans attune to the needs of microbes, and the role of embeddedness in ethical doings. In this way, the study explores alternative ways of relating to nonhumans beyond prevalent human exceptionalist mindsets in design and sustainability. By interpreting the research findings, the research proposes methodological and theoretical implications for designers to enable recognition of relationality with nonhumans.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Design Research Society Conference (DRS2022)
PublisherDesign Research Society
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2022
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventDesign Research Society International Conference - Bilbao, Spain
Duration: 25 Jun 20223 Jul 2022
Conference number: 25

Publication series

NameProceedings of DRS
PublisherDesign Research Society
ISSN (Electronic)2398-3132


ConferenceDesign Research Society International Conference
Abbreviated titleDRS
Internet address


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