Meet the 2024 Ecotopian Toolmakers!

April 3, 2024

We couldn’t be more excited to introduce the 2024 Ecotopian Toolmakers for Multispecies Flourishing! Each of these five creators will be developing a tool aimed at supporting diverse, multi-species communities, including humans, and fostering connections to places of refuge amidst the ongoing crisis of extinction fueled by habitat loss, climate change, and other Anthropocene woes.

Throughout May and June, they will spearhead public workshops at the Morris Arboretum and Gardens, followed by a session in fall 2024 leading to the creation of a comprehensive print Catalog for Ecotopian Tools.

Without further ado, read on to learn a bit about our talented Toolmakers: Austen Camille, Blue Lab, e+i Studios, Richard Hamilton, and Bobby Haskell. Stay tuned as we share more details about their upcoming workshops. We can’t wait to see you there!


Blue Lab

Launched in 2021 and led by Professor Allison Carruth, Blue Lab is an environmental research, storytelling and art group. Their multidisciplinary team investigates and creates original stories and creative projects about lived experiences of large-scale environmental challenges—from climate change and green energy to multispecies justice and food and water futures.

In this work, they bridge the tools of art and science, research and creative practice, historical knowledge and speculative imagination. Their animating question is how different people make sense of real-time environmental change (and in some cases catastrophic loss) in relationship to intergenerational memories of and future aspirations for the places they love, value and call home.

The team on this project is made up of (left to right) Allison Carruth, Barron Bixler, Jayme Collins, and Nate Otjen.

Black circle with a Blue Lab logo in the center.
A black and white photograph of a woman with shoulder length light hair and a professional blouse looking into the camera.

Allison Carruth

Photo of a man, outdoors wearing windbreaker looking off camera.

Barron Bixler

A woman, outdoors, wearing a backpack and scarf, smiles into the camera.

Jayme Collins

A man in a dark tshirt, outdoors, looks into the camera.

Nate Otjen


Austen Camille

Austen Camille is Canadian-American multidisciplinary artist, writer, builder and gardener. Camille primarily makes site-responsive public work that aims to both build relationships with the local environment, as well as call attention to the relationships that already exist within that environment. They travel to project sites, stay for a period of research, get to know community members and learn the landscape, and create pieces that are in conversation with the place.

Recent public projects include a series of works in the Greenport Conservation Area (Hudson, NY) supported by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Water Resources Institute, and a series of works throughout the landscape of Sheridan, WY supported by The Nature Conservancy (WY) and a Puffin Foundation Environmental Grant. Camille is also part of an ongoing collaboration between artists and oceanographers working to raise awareness about cold water corals and undertake restoration work in the Gulf of Mexico. Camille received their MFA in Painting from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture (Temple University) in 2020.

A woman in a sunhat looks off into the distance.


e+i Studio

e+i studio is an architecture and design practice based in New York City, founded by partners Eva Perez de Vega and Ian Gordon. The work of e+i examines the built environment’s capacity to contribute affirmatively to human well-being while also taking nonhuman life into account. 

Increasingly engaged in critically assessing architecture in the context of the global climate crisis, e+i advocates for rethinking the human-centric quality of architecture towards a multi-species approach, by choreographing spaces and environments that promote interaction, aesthetic innovation, and ecological empathy. As an exploration of these overlaps, e+i exhibited ‘Project Speciation’ at the Venice Biennale in 2021. 

Headshots of a woman and a man grouped together in two circles.

The work of e+i has recently received a grant from the Architectural League of New York to explore multispecies interventions and has received past support from the Architectural League, the New York Foundation For the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Manhattan Council Art Fund, Architecture For Humanity and Emerging New York Architects, among others. It has been exhibited in New York at the AIA Center for Architecture, Van Alen Institute, Max Protech, RIVAA art gallery, Parsons New School For Design, as well as internationally at the Milan Design Fair, Venice, Rome, Madrid, Stockholm, and Seoul.

About the Partners:

Eva is a native of Rome with British-Spanish nationality and Ian, originally from the Philippines, has an American-French background. They met while in high school in Rome, Italy. Those early years, of sketching around the city and reflecting on the built environment continue to inform the work the team produces, now based out of New York City’s with their office in Manhattan’s Chinatown.


Richard Hamilton

Rich is the co-owner of Dragonfly Audio Post and an award-winning sound designer, mixer, and film/tv composer with over a decade of experience.  He has mixed and sound designed for clients such as Google, Coors Light, Verizon, and Waze.  His commercial credits include a 2020 Super Bowl Spot for IDEA Schools, two short branded documentaries for Google Earth and NASA, and an Webby Award-winning branded documentary for The Harvard Project & the NAAF about a Native American School district in Southern Arizona dealing with COVID-19.

He has supervised feature films including the satirical conspiracy horror film The Pizzagate Massacre directed by John Valley, the award-winning horror/comedy film Home Body directed by Zach Endres, and the drama/thriller Periphery starring Tessa Thompson, Jesse Garcia, and directed by Duane Allen Humeyestewa. Rich is also an accomplished composer, scoring numerous projects including theme songs and jingles for commercials, podcasts, Google, and an animated TV pilot. Most notably, he scored the award winning short films Mud and Honey directed by Molly Sorensen and distributed by Focus Features and JetBlue Airlines, Malignant directed by Nick Grisham and Morgan Bond which premiered at SXSW in 2021, and Sundown Road directed by M. Asli Dukan which premiered at the Black Star Film Festival in 2023. 

Rich’s soundscapes have also been featured at art festivals worldwide, including the Megapolis Sound Art Festival in Philadelphia and Radiophrenia in the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow, Scotland.

A man in a tie-dye shirt laughs.


Bobby Haskell

Bobby Haskell uses sculpture installations to create habitat in places that have been ecologically degraded by human activity. Their work combines traditional sculpture techniques with emerging conservation methods to explore new possibilities for nature in the built environment. Haskell holds a BFA in sculpture from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and an MPhil in human ecology from the College of the Atlantic in Maine. They currently work in both the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia and on the coast of Downeast Maine, drawing their inspiration from both environments. They show their work nationally, and their public sculpture work can be found at the Dorr Museum of Natural History, the Davistown Museum Sculpture Garden, and on the campus of Southern Maine Community College. 

A person, outdoors looks into the camera.