Irene Brisson is a designer, researcher, and educator invested in the study and implementation of more equitable design processes. Her dissertation, Speaking, Gesturing, Drawing Building: Relational Techniques of a Kreyòl Architecture investigates communicative practices used in tacit and explicit design of Haitian residential architecture. The ethnographic fieldwork for this project is focused on three significant producers of Haitian houses: general contractors/bosmason, architects, and non-governmental organizations. Considering speech, gesture, drawing, and building as inclusive categories of communication, Irene explores how they vary in complex relationships of class, education, language, race, and nationality to reproduce and challenge the status quo.
After the 2010 earthquake, Irene worked on architectural design projects sited in southern Haiti as a co-founder of FAARM (Focus on Architecture, Research & Making), and consulted for a Port-au-Prince-based urban planning firm. This post-disaster work informed her co-edited book, Architectural Reader: Ground Rules for Humanitarian Design. Other on-going research interests include the intersections of movement practices with architecture, site specific performance, meaning making and gesture, and gender and racial politics in public space, most recently explored in a collaborative art piece presented at the Ghetto Biennale 2017 in Port-au-Prince.