Mariela Urra Schiaffino, she/her

Junior Consultant

+358 45 278 9571

Mariela is an intern focused on research in the Emancipatory Economy team at Demos Helsinki.


She is a multidisciplinary designer and educator interested in exploring radical transformations of sustainability paradigms, especially concerning human-nature relationships. Her work gravitates around experiential and creative practices, contemporary environmental discourses, and the implications of both concepts in design research, urban planning and policy-making. She is driven by intellectual curiosity and is always keen on learning new things.


Originally from Chile, Mariela is based in Helsinki where she is finalizing a Master’s degree in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University. Previous to Demos she worked on several multidisciplinary projects that critically engage with the reimagination of social and environmental sustainability narratives: she collaborated with Espoo City Library and Stockholm City in building socio-ecological welfare, with the Finnish Ministry of the Interior on the expatriates’ policy, and with the private sector in building a biodiversity strategy. She has also worked as a research assistant for Nodus and Mobile Cloud Computing research groups at Aalto University.


Aside from her academic work, Mariela is also a professional naturalist guide, photographer and outdoor educator. She has worked in the remote regions of Patagonia, Nunavik, Alaska and Antarctica aiming to inspire environmental awareness through the embodied practice of exploration. Unsurprisingly, she spends her spare time wandering in nature whether hiking, birdwatching, gardening, or dreaming about new expeditions.