W.F. Umi Hsu (pronouns: they/them) leads design strategy, digital and data initiatives at the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Hsu is a strategic designer and public humanist working to advance research and organizing agendas for equity in arts, technology, and civic life since 2004. They advise Cultural Research Network, Center for Cultural Innovation, California Community Foundation’s LA Counts project, Arts for LA, and Society of Ethnomusicology. Hsu has received fellowships and awards from National Endowment for the Arts, American Council for Learned Society, Shuttleworth Foundation, GovTech, and LA Metro and teaches at ArtCenter College of Design and USC Marshall School of Business.
With a PhD in Critical and Comparative Studies from the University of Virginia Music Department, Hsu leads two projects: LA Listens, a community engagement platform that reflects on LA’s changing sensory and social ecology; and mobile placemaking collective Movable Parts. Their academic research on street sound cultures in postcolonial Taiwan explores street sound cultures in relation to the urban underclass experience of city development, mobility, and technology. Hsu also plays in Bitter Party, an LA-based ethnographic art band.