The Event

How can designers engage with movements for social change? How can the design community help clarify important civic processes and support the work of grassroots community organizations? In today’s polarized and trying political climate graphic artists are looking for ways to support initiatives for transparency, inclusion, and fairness. This conversation will help designers map their course, find groups to support, and identify ways that they can become involved with social change movements, as both designers and citizens.

This event brings together leaders from design-based organizations working in the social sector, to ask how they can better collaborate with visual thinkers. The aim is to identify projects, institutions, and avenues for individual designers to join up with movements and organizations doing important work in this area. Designers need to be tactical about the way they work, and we hope to flag ways in which we can avoid the duplication of initiatives, and maximize the effectiveness of the often over-stretched members of our community.

Of particular importance is exploring the wide spectrum of engagement opportunities for an increasingly diverse sphere of creative professionals that includes programmers, animators, researchers, and other image-makers.

We will hear briefly from each panelist about their work, then dive into a moderated discussion on the role of design-based organizations in processes of social change. Following this we will have ample opportunities for reflection and discussion from the audience.

Ariel Kennan is the Director of Design and Product the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, where she leads the nation’s first municipal Service Design Studio focused on low-income residents. She has a worked with a wide variety of cultural, corporate and government partners to design service experiences, craft strategy and policy, create digital products, and build teams and capacity.

La Vesha Parker is a software engineer and activist based in New York City. Vesha is on the Board of Directors of Progressive HackNight, a bi-weekly gathering where coders and creatives in NYC work on open source projects together.

Rachel Renock is the CEO and Creative Director at Wethos, a mission-driven freelance platform that connects nonprofits with professionals who care about their cause.

Emma McDonald is the Associate Creative Director at Purpose, a strategic consulting and creative agency that creates projects to shift policies and change public narratives.

Carmen Lopez is a Citizen Designer Now! Fellow with AIGA NY. She is a design researcher and social innovator with the heart of an artist. She wants to combine her visual communication skills, design thinking, and ethnographic research to positively impact the world.

Sam Holleran is a Citizen Designer Now! Fellow with AIGA NY. He is a designer, artist, and writer who works in planning, participatory decision-making, public art, and urbanism.

This event is part of AIGA NY’s ongoing Citizen Designer Now! Initiative, to find out more sign up for the group’s dedicated Slack channel, and please consider signing the Citizen Designer Now pledge.