Food Lab

Collaboration between Illustration School and MOLD, Porto, Portugal
With guest tutors Karen Lacroix, LinYee Yuan, Inês Neto dos Santos and Matilde Seabra

During 3 days, 9 participants investigated, staged and performed 3 proposals for a sustainable, future Christmas meal in Portugal. Exploring local heritage and tradition, as well as challenges posed by our climate crisis, this lab questioned the limitations and potential of alternatives to our known and largely unaltered rituals. These collective proposals – in between fact and fiction – were a blend of edible parts, metaphors, experiments, illustrated elements and prototypes produced with several materials. Seeds were the starting point, proposed as the foundation of a toolkit to activate the premise of this lab: future-proofing Portuguese Christmas. This Lab collectively laid the foundations for a critical report in the form of a limited-edition publication documenting the debates and prototypes staged during the 3 days.

Food Lab, Porto, 2019
Collaboration between Illustration School and MOLD,

Coordinator & Tutor
Karen Lacroix, Shared Institute


LinYee Yuan, MOLD
Matilde Seabra, Talkie-Walkie
Inês Neto dos Santos, Mesa


Karen Lacroix is an illustrator, designer and publisher based in Porto, Portugal. She has taught visual narratives from 2009—2014 at Richmond University (UK) and works for an eclectic range of clients such as Bright Ivy, English Touring Opera, Saffron Hall, Bishopsgate Institute, among others. After concluding an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art, she founded Uncanny Editions, an illustration publisher and studio exploring different modes of publication practice, collaborating with institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery, The Photographers’ Gallery and X Marks the Bökship . Her work is represented in collections such as MoMA (US), University College London, London College of Communication (UK), Serralves Foundation and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (PT), among others. She is the founder of the Illustration School, a nomadic pedagogical platform that investigates the expanded field of illustration and is co-director of the design research centre Shared Institute.

LinYee Yuan is the founder and editor of MOLD. Through original reporting, MOLD explores how designers can address the coming food crisis by creating products and systems that will help feed 9 billion people by the year 2050. In addition to the website and a self-published bi-annual print magazine, MOLD hosts events and exhibitions, works with next generation food brands, and commissions products from emerging designers. LinYee was previously the entrepreneur in residence for and an editor for Core77, T: The New York Times Style Magazine and Theme Magazine. She has written about design and art for Food52, Design Observer, Cool Hunting, Elle Decor and Wilder Quarterly. LinYee also contributed the foreword to Food Futures: Sensory Explorations in Food Design and Cooking Up Trouble.

Matilde Seabra is a graduate of the School of Architecture of the University of Porto and co-founder of the architecture studio Poças Martins Seabra. She is part of the collective that edits the architecture fanzine Friendly Fire. Between 2009 and 2013 she was assistant tutor at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto on the MA in Visual Arts and Artistic Technologies. Matilde is experienced in working with several cultural institutions such as the Serralves Foundation, José de Guimarães International Art Center and Douro Museum. Co-founder of Talkie Walkie.

Inês Neto dos Santos is a multi-disciplinary artist, born in Lisbon and based in London. She graduated from MA Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art in 2016. Inês’s work explores the value of spaces, whether architectural or natural, and our relationship to them, investigating their emotional and social value and considering them as vessels for memory. Her practice often takes shape in immersive spaces, experiences or installations and frequently runs on collaborations with other artists and creatives. Recently, Inês has explored the value of food and shared eating spaces, considering the dinner table as a fundamental platform for discussion and conversation. She founded Mesa.

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Illustration School
Rua Coutinho de Azevedo 22
4000-187 Porto, Portugal
info [at]

The City of Porto

Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, located along the Douro river estuary, opposite to Gaia. Famous for being home to the Port Wine, its historical centre is World Heritage Site since 1996 and it has been considered as ‘European Best Destination’ 3 times in the last 5 years. Porto is a culturally rich city, with a lively cultural programme with illustration galleries, artist-run projects, historic archives and museums, increasingly hosting smaller projects and residencies. Based in the centre of the city (Campo 24 de Agosto and Marquês metro stations), in a 1937 typical house from Porto, the school will use the city’s many resources to inform the course, seeking a decentralised education.