Michelle Kaczmarek

PhD Candidate at the School of Information, University of British Columbia.


about me

I am a researcher and Program Manager at the Share Reuse Repair Initiative with expertise in community-based climate initiatives, information policy, and the circular economy. 

Through my research and teaching, I explore the intersections of information policy and practice, climate justice, and research ethics.

My PhD research at the University of British Columbia's School of Information explored the efforts and aspirations of those participating in community-based repair groups in Metro Vancouver. I hold a Master of Library & Information Studies from the University of British Columbia, and a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Durham, U.K. 


My work investigates the ties and tensions between aspirations and information practices, exploring how people (re)design their relationships with information tools and technologies to work towards better futures. Through varied research engagements, I ask: 

What does it mean to live well with information and information technologies? 

What information counts in climate conversations?

How do the stories we tell influence and reveal what we consider possible and worth doing with our information systems and technologies?

You can find out more about some of these projects and collaborations below or read more about my approach to research here

In a world where the vision and design of technology tell us to aspire for the new and shiny, digital devices are increasingly made to be thrown away. My doctoral dissertation project explores the aspirations of citizens participating in local repair initiatives through a qualitative study with repair organisers and volunteers in Metro Vancouver. Through engaging participants in narrative practices about their efforts to support repair, my research explores how a storytelling lens might broaden conceptions of the information sources, systems, and stewardship engaged in climate adaptation. This project is supervised by Dr Lisa Nathan.

The Withy Design Collective brings together scholars with shared interests around information systems, care, more-than-human relations, and community climate adaptation. Named after the long, flexible willow branches used in basketry and nautical navigation, we foreground relational, "withy" approaches that weave questions of responsibility, reciprocity, difference, and justice. In thinking together across information contexts including migration, permaculture, technology repair, crisis preparedness, and Indigenous sovereignty, we ask: what do/might information systems within planetary limits look like? how do/might more-than-humans meaningfully participate in our research? 

The iStories Lab consists an interdisciplinary group of doctoral students and scholars based at the University of British Columbia. We draw upon arts and humanities based approaches to examine the identity-shaping practices of the information field. Through a series of interactive workshops and a survey with iSchool heads, in 2017-2019 we engaged the iSchool community in a conversation about conversation, unearthing the contested words and narratives that articulate, shape and further our understandings of the information field.


University of British Columbia

Instructor of Record: 

Teaching Assistant:

Course Development:

selected publications

For more information about my publications, please see Google Scholar. 

Kaczmarek, M. (2021). Fixing for Change: Stories of Information and Aspiration in Community Repair. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 58(1), 747–749. https://doi.org/10.1002/pra2.549 

Santos, R. dos, Kaczmarek, M., Shankar, S., & Nathan, L. P. (2021). Who Are We Listening to? The Inclusion of Other-than-human Participants in Design. Workshop on Computing within Limits. https://doi.org/10.21428/bf6fb269.09f36751

Kaczmarek, M., Shankar, S., dos Santos, R., Meyers, E. M., & Nathan, L. P. (2020). Pushing LIMITS: Envisioning beyond the artifact. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on ICT for Sustainability, 255–266. https://doi.org/10.1145/3401335.3401367

Hoff, A., Kaczmarek, M., Schafer, R., Shankar, S., & Tulloch, B. (2018). iWords: Exploring the interdisciplinary vocabularies of information research. iConference, Sheffield, UK. http://ischools.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/iConference_Workshop_Proposal_2018_iWords_-_kaczmarek-tulloch-shankar-schafer-hoff.pdf

Nathan, L. P., Kaczmarek, M., castor, maggie, Cheng, S., & Mann, R. (2017). Good for Whom?: Unsettling Research Practice. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 290–297. https://doi.org/10.1145/3083671.3083685

Carpenter, J., Guerin, A., Kaczmarek, M., Lawson, G., Lawson, K., Nathan, L. P., & Turin, M. (2016). Digital Access for Language and Culture in First Nations Communities [SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Final Report]. http://heiltsuk.arts.ubc.ca/report/