Dr. Sonia Massari has 20 years of experience as researcher, lecturer, consultant, and designer in the fields of education, sustainable food design, innovation in the agri-food sector.
She holds a PhD on Food Experience Design at the Engineering Department, University of Florence, Italy, with a thesis that combined the importance of education, the food system, and digital technologies. Her research started by noting that daily social practices of production, distribution, and consumption of food are radically altered by digital technology networks. She continues her research to critically and empirically evaluate the evolution and role played by digital technologies in the cultural transmission and innovation of food practices.
For 12 years she was the Academic Director of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Food Studies programs in Rome and she designed and coordinated more than 50 academic programs and 150 initiatives on food and sustainability for prestigious international institutes. Since 2008, she has been collaborating with University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Hobart Williams Smith Colleges, Chatham University, New York University, New Mexico State University, Bowling Green State University, Edgewood College, Vantan Design Institute, New Haven University, UMass Amherst, Redlands University, OSWEGO SUNY, Auburn University, etc.)
She teaches at several universities around Italy. She is a faculty member at the Scuola Politecnica Design – Food Design Master Program, she teaches at ISIA Design School (graduate course: “Sociology of Changes. Design for the emergent scenarios”) and at Roma Tre University – graduate course: “Sustainability Design Thinking”.
She received the NAFSA TLS Knowledge Community’s Innovative Research in International Education Award (2014), the International Women Innovation Award “Tecnovisionarie” (2012), and the Food Studies ASFS Pedagogy Award (2020).
Since 2012, she has been a scientific consultant and senior researcher for the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation, to promote new opportunities for young students and researchers in the food field.
She has published several scientific papers about education, food and design, food studies, ICT, HCI applied to the agri-food sector. She has presented her research results in international conferences and workshops in 5 continents.
In 2015, she was co-director and co-founder of the first European Conference on “Understanding Food Design: from user-centered to people-centered design” ( Milan, Italy).
She is a member of the board of the Association for the Study of Food and Society and of the editorial board of the International Journal of Food Design. She is a member of the advisory board of the International Food Studies Network.
She works as a consultant for national and international TV programs, JRC Science Hubs, ADI, Gambero Rosso Magazine, ElleDecor, etc. She is a member of the Permanent Observatory on Design (ADI) and for 4 years she coordinated the thematic commission of the ADI Index on Food Design.