Lynn is a design researcher based in Berlin, exploring the wondrous world of science.

I’m working as a Design Researcher and Creative Engagement Manager at the Natural History Museum in Berlin and a PHD student at Bauhaus University – and currently founding a Design Studio for Public Engagement.
In general, my research focuses on entanglements and future interdisciplinary playgrounds for science, design and public engagement.

In specific, my practice-based research topic address the value of design research approaches, such as speculative and critical design for scientific research aiming at refining our understandings of nature and that leads to socio-ecological solutions and climate action.

What I do:

Fostering and enabling collaborations between scientists, designers and artists focusing on diverse topics related to climate action and biodiversity.

Exploring and showcasing the value of design research for science communication, public engagement to build bridges between science, society and nature

Exploring the potentials of natural history museums as innovations hubs for climate action and design, art and science collaborations.

Unveiling the unseen – showcasing the unexplored, invisible and surprising natural histories through creative engagement approaches.

The overall mission is to bridge design with scientific disciplines in the design education, to support design students following a career in science and to support to shape the field of design research in Germany.
Therefor,  I am a voluntary mentor at Experimental Realisme and a Jury member at German Graduate Design Award 2023.

The story so far:

Since my studies in Communication Design at HS Trier back in the 2010’s, I have been involved in exploring the potential of the interdisciplinary intersection of design and science, regarding societal, technological and environmental challenges. These explorations accumulated in my award-winning master project “Design in the Anthropocene” (2016) that showcases the manifold on the roles of design in and for scientific research that deals with human-related environmental impacts, such as plastic waste. To do so, I accompanied researchers on scientific expeditions focusing on plastic waste pollution in the oceans, collaborated with material scientists on bio-based, speculative materialities and created a public engagement format in terms of the Luxembourg Design Biennale.

This project unveiled the roles of design as a translator and facilitator in responsible research and innovation processes. Furthermore, it visualises the design discipline itself is a scientific field in its own right, which renegotiates the boundaries and understanding of science.

From 2018 to 2023, I was working as Research Fellow at the Fraunhofer Center for Responsible Research and Innovation in Berlin.  As part of my work, I explored the value of design approaches, such Co-Design, Speculative and Critical Design approaches for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) as well as Science Communication and Public Engagement on a diverse range of topics.

In terms of this position, I developed and lead the research project „Food Fictions“ funded by BMBF (2021) aiming at using „speculative food design“ as narrative tool for science communication and public engagement on planetary health – from pop-up exhibitions, to cooking workshops to podcasts episodes. I was also involved in  „Transferwissenschaft“ , where I coined the value of design research for interdisciplinary knowledge transfer. To do so, I explored the commonalities between design and science since the 1960s to question supposed contradictions between different disciplines. For her, science and design are complementing each other – while science understands the world in its being, design understands the world in its becoming.

Beside of my practice-based work, I am also a PHD candidate at Bauhaus-University in Weimar. In my thesis, with the current working title „Between extinct species and speculative artifacts: Natural History Museum as catalysts for climate action through Design research“, I am exploring future roles of natural history museums (NHM) as well as future developments in biodiversity research at the intersection of design research, science communication and public engagement. A special focus is placed on the role of speculative artifacts as boundary objects for public engagement to bridge the gap between knowledge from the past, challenges of the present and co-creative solutions for the near future.

In the context of my special interests in biodiversity research, I am particularly fascinated by research projects that deal with „invisible“ stakeholders that continually challenge our understandings of nature, such as insects, microbes, „otherminds“ – and a bit of quantum physics.

I wants to give shape to the invisible main protagonists of our planet, to remind us that we humans are only a small part of a very complex ecosystem.

Between extinct species and speculative artifacts: How science communication and public engagement on socio-ecological issues can benefit from design research” , 2023
Digital Lecture at Lucerne School of Art and Design

Transfer by Design: Was kann die Transferwissenschaft von der Designforschung lernen?, 2022
Digital Conference in terms of „Transferforum 2022

Mapping Experts, Building Networks: Ein interaktives Instrument für die strategische Planung von Wissenschaftskommunikation für missionsorientierten Transfer in Forschungseinrichtungen., 2022
In co-authorship with Dr. Konstantin Kiprijanov,
Digital Conference in terms of „Transferforum 2022

Panel on Science Journalism“, 2022
Panel Discussion at Annual Synbio Conference
organised by German Association on Synthethic Biology

„Quantum Weirdness and a world without time: What can
speculative design practices learn from quantum phsyics?“, 2022
Digital conference keynote,
Primer Conference

Grantler’s corner „Design, Forschung, Wissenschaft“, 2022
Panel Discussion at Munich Creative Businessweek

Take a Fact and Act, 2020
„From Fact to Artifact – Ethical responsible speculative design“
Digital Lecture at Universität der Künste, Berlin

Berlin Science Week, 2020
Digital Keynote
„Hungry for Science Symposium“ – Berlin

Speculative Futures Meetup, 2020 
Digital Keynote
„Food Fictions – Speculative Food  Design“ – Berlin

12. Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation , 2019
Keynote & Fishbowl
„Zukunft gestalten. Design Fiction als Methode für bidirektionale Wissenschaftskommunikation“-Essen

Design for good, 2019
Lecture and Keynote
Bauhaus-University Weimar -Weimar

Collaborate to Innovate, 2019
„Design for Good“ – Berlin

Global Biosummit Community, 2019
Attendee 2019
Massachusetts Institute of Technology –  Boston

Silbersalz Science & Media Festival, 2019
Moderation Panel Discussion
„Art, Technology & the environment“

The Open End Festival, 2019
„How to create desirable futures through science & design“

Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel, 2019
Lecture in terms of the exhibition „PRODUCT(ION)“
„Towards a planet-centered future through the interdisciplinary field of science and design“

Harles, L & Heidingsfelder, M. (2021). From fact to artifact. Design for Common Good. Swiss Design Network Conference. Basle

Harles, L. (2020). Speculations on the role of design in a biotechnosphere. Form Design Magazine, voraussichtliche Veröffentlichung Feb 2020

Harles, Lynn; Heidingsfelder, Marie; Jütting, Malte; Lemke, Svenja (2019): Design for Innovation Toolbox. Berlin.

Harles, L. (2019). Rwandan ways of thinking: How to use cultural dynamics for society-based innovations. Slanted Special Issue Rwanda, 102-103.

Harles, L. (2015). Pineapples, global waves and new design era. Forum Magazin für Politik, Gesellschaft und Kultur. Ausgabe Nr. 356 , Seite 52ff.

Food Fictions | 2020
Natural Museum of History in Berlin

In terms of my position at Fraunhofer,
funded by the BMBF in terms of „Wissenschaftsjahr 2020/21“
in collaboration with Studio Ellery, IZT  an MfN


Designbiennale Luxembourg | 2016

„The Revolution of Things“ in terms of Local Craft Meets Design
Cercle Cité

Since February 2023
Creative Engagement Manager
Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin /
Berlin School of Public Engagement and Open Science

Since 2020
PHD Candidate (Faculty of Art & Design)
Bauhaus-University Weimar

FRAUNHOFER IAO | Centre for Responsible Research and Innovation
Senior Researcher at „Co-Design and Transferstrategies“ 

MA Communication Design
University of Applied Sciences Trier

BA Communication Design
University of Applied Sciences Trier


Expeditionsmitglied | Volontariat
Fokus: Erneuerbare Energien & sozialer Wandel
Ladakh, Nordindien | Juni 2016


Forschungsassistenz | Praktikum
Fokus: Genforschung & Umweltschutz | Buckelwale
Puerto Lopez, Ecuador | September 2015


Expeditionsmitglied | Volontariat
Fokus: Auswirkungen von Mikroplastiken auf Plankton
Nord Atlantik Überquerung | Juli 2015


Forschungsassistenz | Praktikum
Fokus: Tierschutz | Florida Seekühe
Cristal River, Florida | Januar 2015

Gold Winner: Young Talents
Project: „Design in the Anthropocene“

Nomininated for: Newcomer Communication + Product Design
Project: Woodpacker