Final prompt for residency

November 3, 2015

For context start here.


Our goal is to build a community of design practitioners dedicated to building a future for design that isn’t dictated by hegemony––recognizing, respecting and centering/integrating the sociocultural values and norms of the user not the designer.

Typically, good design begins with understanding who you’re designing for and why. Let’s go a step further and say great design asks us to forge a mindset of designing with–this is participatory design, or co-design.

In this workshop, we’ll do some pre-learning that asks you to wrestle with some heavy concepts such as empathy, populations & power, cultural competency, and even your own identities. These will be critical to our discussion and work.

Additionally, you’ll be introduced to some common methodologies that are used in the conceptualization and design of products and services. We will look at these with a critical eye and examine how might we modify them in order to create our own participatory tools.

You’ll then be asked to go out and engage members of a community with a different primary identity than your own to problem find and problem solve using some traditional methodologies alongside your own modified tools to facilitate participatory design.

This is an area for experimentation, where hopefully new forms and unexpected strategies emerge while suspending our assumptions. Design that asks carefully crafted questions and makes us think about the world and reality we are constructing is just as important as design that seeks answers. So while the final outcome should be some hypothetical product or service that presents an alternative reality to solving a problem held by a community, the process in getting there is just as important.


“What World Are We Building?” by danah boyd