Assistant Professor, Arts and Media / Director, Printmaking; School of Art, Media + Technology

Contending with the political—the systemic nature of wicked problems—means adapting designing to explore conflicting and contradictory aspects of how concepts of “need” are differentially defined by people, designers and users alike, in different political and experiential positions, with different relationships to power. While this does not necessarily limit who does design “with communities,” it does require understanding “community,” “design,” and “designers” as politically and historically grounded. When “social design” work takes for granted its systemic contexts—such as economic, racialized, or gendered power—design “solutions” sometimes further fix politically unequal relationships of power, even as they aim to alleviate specific hardships or bring awareness to them (and here, to what end?).  How, instead, might increasing our capacity to see into a range of possible futures, through a range of lenses, including those shaped by desires to fundamentally shift relationships of power, change the nature of “designing for change”?