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Saturday, June 10 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Design Education for Every Body: What is a “successful designer”?

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Please bring your computer to this workshop as we will be using Miro!

Traditionally, design research centers able-bodied, thin, white, cis-male experiences as normative. This results in systemic inequity experienced by design professionals, educators, students, and so-called “typical” users. Both the 2021 Queer Design Club and the 2019 AIGA Census document these ongoing racial and gender inequities. Recently, the National Endowment for the Arts documented that at the intersections of design and disability, designers are giving significant attention toward different ways of knowing and existing in space (2021). Framing the expression of embodiment as a form of critical praxis, this workshop will elicit expanded definitions of design education—both who it is for and how it should work. Individually and collectively, we will engage with critical making to generate embodied critiques and undertake collective acts of envisioning to build on emergent disciplinary activities.

This workshop seeks consensual, #ownvoices stories in the form of visual narratives and visualization of ideas for radical change in the form of collective envisioning and future-focused speculative designs. The workshop invites participation from self-defined individuals with “bodies traditionally excluded from the narratives and pedagogical practices of design education.” Such exclusion may be due to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, body size, disability status, or intersectional identities (Crenshaw 1989) within or outside of these frameworks. In naming identity-based exclusion, we apply the social disability model (Barnes 2019), which locates inequity as a systemic and structural problem, not an individual circumstance. In the spirit of emancipatory research (Hutton and Heath, 2020) and narrative research (O’Grady, Clandinin and O’Toole 2018; Yazan 2018), this workshop breaks down the knowledge/action binary and makes space for sharing individual experiences in a public-facing research context as a way of recognizing silenced knowledges and dismantling existing power structures.

As researchers, we're fat, queer, Black, female, non-binary, physically disabled, and neurodiverse, thus embodying many of the exclusions we address. We emerge from contexts inclusive of disability, fat, and gender studies; racial equity activism; and liberatory and co-design methodologies. Thus, we see every body’s full participation in design education as one way to facilitate disciplinary access, equity, and inclusion. This workshop emerges from a larger study (UFIRB 202202324, Every Body in Design Education) which has two goals. First, we seek to use visual communication design and participatory methods to identify and communicate both inequities and opportunities within the design education landscape relative to participants who occupy bodies traditionally excluded from the narratives and pedagogical models of our discipline. Second, using the social disability and liberatory design frameworks, we seek to use co-design methodologies to create speculative and/or applied design education experiences which include rather than exclude such individuals. All workshop participants can consent to have their insights and design outcomes included in the larger research project, and they are equally welcome to participate in the workshop while excluding their insights/designs from the collected data.

As part of our first goal, we seek to gain information about how participants believe the design industry envisions a “successful designer”—what they look and act like, are expected to do on a typical workday, and how they should present their body physically. In the first half of the workshop, participants will evision the "successful designer," work together to visualize how their positionality differs from these assumptions, and visualize how their situated embodiment might enable a new systemic approach to design as an academic discipline and professional practice. Internalized notions of embodied success must be disrupted by multiple speakers from many contexts, and gathering first-hand visual narratives from participants is a necessary first step to any search for solutions. For designers contradicting the assumed ideal, simply representing our bodies as “bodies of people who design” constitutes an important step toward our second goal: envisioning and enacting inclusive rather than exclusive design education experiences.

The second half of the workshop will consist of a group discussion with participatory, collaborative graphic facilitation. This act of making will capture a multivocal, visual representation of the many ways in which people can be, and become, designers. Following, we will talk about ways in which attendees have taken action to counter the stereotypes identified. In order to leverage these autoethnographic narratives as immediate change agents, these examples will be paired with relevant images, using Miro, as a way to generate transferable knowledge together. Finally, as a group, we will decide how to use and share the collectively generated information. We aim to facilitate critical making and share visual and textual outcomes so that the workshop’s process and its outcomes exist as a tool for intentional change.

We seek participants who self-describe, at least in part, as designers. We are able to complete the workshop virtually or face-to-face. Our reciprocal goal is for participants to gain a deeper understanding of the bias that the design industry has towards certain bodies and for them to be empowered to recognize how all bodies can contribute to design as an agent for change. Finally, the group’s outcomes will be made available to all participants for future reference, ensuring these findings can work as a catalyst for change.

AIGA and Google. 2019. “Design Census 2019.” https://eyeondesign.aiga.org/this-one-survey-could-change-the-way-you-think-about-design/
Barnes, Colin. 2019. “Understanding the social model of disability: Past, present and future.” In Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies. London: Routledge.
Crenshaw, Kimberle. 1989. "Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics," University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989: 139-167.
Hutton, M. & Heath T. Researching on the Edge: Emancipatory Practice for Social Justice. European Journal of Marketing 54(11), 2697-2721. www.doi/10.1108/EJM-02-2019-0150  
National Endowment for the Arts. 2018. “Disability Design: Summary Report from a Field Scan.” https://www.arts.gov/about/publications/disability-design-summary-report-field-scan
O’Grady, G., Clandinin, D. & O’Toole J. (2018.) Engaging in Educational Narrative Inquiry: Making Visible Alternative Knowledge. Irish Educational Studies 37(2), 153-157. https://doi.org/10.1080/03323315.2018.1475149
Queer Design Club, 2021. Queer Design Count. https://indd.adobe.com/view/7fc6714d-5a9d-47bb-9327-08443ad28507
Yazan, B. (2018.) Toward Identity-oriented Teacher Education: Critical Autoethnographic Narrative. TESOL Journal 10(1) https://doi.org/10.1002/tesj.388

avatar for Brooke Hull (they/them)

Brooke Hull (they/them)

Graduate Teaching Instructor, University of Florida
White, fat, queer, trans non-binary, and neurodivergent person who is passionate about design education and expanding our current systems for every body!
avatar for Dori Griffin

Dori Griffin

Assistant Professor, University of Florida
I'm a visual communications designer and design historian on the faculty of the University of Florida's School of Art + Art History. I occupy a disciplinary space informed by both practice and scholarship, focusing on visual culture and its use in the narrative construction of social and personal identity. Graphic design's history is an emergent field... Read More →

Adreenah "Dreezy" Wynn

University of Florida, United States of America

Saturday June 10, 2023 1:30pm - 3:00pm EDT
PS 405 (Design Center)