"better-off" measures: are the people most affected by these designs better-off because of it? 

Description
We worked with Project Inkblot as 2020 Summer Research Fellows to develop ways to close the gap between those who work in Equity Design and those who are seeking guidance  on how to make their organizations more equitable.

Time
June - Aug 2020

Team
Anna Lathrop, Zoe Banzon, Sudeepti Rachakonda, and the Project Inkblot Team

Tags
equity design, visual design, assessment design

Equity Design
with Project Inkblot

How might Equity Design consultancies understand where organizations are in their Equity journey? How might we do this to better understand the individual's relationship to Equity itself? 

prototype design of EQUITY ASSESSMENT

When we started our Summer Research Fellowships, we knew that we wanted to find ways to bring those who work in Equity Design - consultants, thought leaders, researchers, and designers - closer to organizations who were looking for help but didn't know to whom to turn. We built off qualitative research collected by previous research fellows, and realized that there was a major gap in what organizations said they wanted, versus how ready they were for the work. Because the Equity Design field was driven mostly by word-of-mouth referral, many companies were seeking out consultation from companies that were not the best match for them.

This insight was the first step in what would eventually become an equity assessment prototype. Along the way, we grappled with the limitations of our current language around equity, and how to create an assessment for something we’ve never seen and may never fully attain.

The last part of our fellowship was a workshop that we facilitated with the rest of the Project Inkblot team as a way to source language around Equity and ascertain various mental models & experiences. We used Project Inkblot's D4D phases as a meta-framework within which we identified a spectrum between dominant culture ↮ ideal state. The workshop surfaced both the ideal state and the shifting goalposts that Equity represents.

Speculative Future Imaginings with TONYC

Could using speculative design and Theatre of the Oppressed methodologies in a transdisciplinary approach, make imagining just futures feel more attainable and real? What if it is done by those who are rarely, if ever, asked to be a part of futuring and speculation? What might those worlds be like?

Description
This project used speculative design tools, along with Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, to imagine new worlds, and then create speculative legislation to build a bridge. It was done in partnership with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC)

Time
April-May2020

Team
Anna Lathrop,Liz Morgan, Sulu Leo Nimm, and the TONYC Rapid Response Team

Tags
speculative design, policy design, futuring,
Theatre of the Oppressed

I partnered with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC’s Rapid Response Troupe to explore these questions. We used a combination of poem writing, speculative design tools, and speculative legislation crafting to build an image, and bridge, to a more just world.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our rehearsal process took place over Google Hangout. There were multiple obstacles with using the platform, however the limitations of the platform pushed us to deepen our verbal expressiveness and individual reflection in the work. Each actor was tasked with writing near-future poetry, followed by discussion to pull out common themes. We then crafted legislative policies that were aimed at building a bridge from our current world to the future one detailed in our poems and wheels.

Finally, the question I had gone into this process with - does this process make a just future feel more real and attainable - was answered. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic was source of significant, acute anxiety, the group response was that the process had been therapeutic, useful, and created a feeling of ownership and urgency regarding the future. I believe there is further research to be done in experimenting with the blending of speculative design, justice work, and Theatre of the Oppressed, as well as its applicability in the fields of reconciliation, conflict resolution, and restorative justice.

"So we got to think of ways that how we, within this community that's within a society can make change...- Mersadez George

Download the Zine

Download the Addendum

Speculative Future Imaginings with TONYC

Could using speculative design and Theatre of the Oppressed methodologies in a transdisciplinary approach, make imagining just futures feel more attainable and real? What if it is done by those who are rarely, if ever, asked to be a part of futuring and speculation? What might those worlds be like?

Description
This project used speculative design tools, along with Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, to imagine new worlds, and then create speculative legislation to build a bridge. It was done in partnership with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC)

Time
April-May2020

Team
Anna Lathrop,Liz Morgan, Sulu Leo Nimm, and the TONYC Rapid Response Team

Tags
speculative design, policy design, futuring,
Theatre of the Oppressed

FUTURES TOOLS USED IN WORKSHOP

I partnered with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC’s Rapid Response Troupe to explore these questions. We used a combination of poem writing, speculative design tools, and speculative legislation crafting to build an image, and bridge, to a more just world.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our rehearsal process took place over Google Hangout. There were multiple obstacles with using the platform, however the limitations of the platform pushed us to deepen our verbal expressiveness and individual reflection in the work. Each actor was tasked with writing near-future poetry, followed by discussion to pull out common themes. We then crafted legislative policies that were aimed at building a bridge from our current world to the future one detailed in our poems and wheels.

Finally, the question I had gone into this process with - does this process make a just future feel more real and attainable - was answered. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic was source of significant, acute anxiety, the group response was that the process had been therapeutic, useful, and created a feeling of ownership and urgency regarding the future. I believe there is further research to be done in experimenting with the blending of speculative design, justice work, and Theatre of the Oppressed, as well as its applicability in the fields of reconciliation, conflict resolution, and restorative justice.

"So we got to think of ways that how we, within this community that's within a society can make change...- Mersadez George
Process shot from rehearsal on Google Hangout

Download the Zine

Download the Addendum

SELECTION FROM A PARTICIPANT'S POEM
SELECTION FROM THE ZINE - WITH CUT OUT CHARACTERS

Equity Design with Project Inkblot

How might Equity Design consultancies understand where organizations are in their Equity journey? How might we do this to better understand the individual's relationship to Equity itself?

Description
We worked with Project Inkblot as 2020 Summer Research Fellows to develop ways to close the gap between those who work in Equity Design and those who are seeking guidance  on how to make their organizations more equitable.

Time
June - Aug 2020

Team
Anna Lathrop, Zoe Banzon, Sudeepti Rachakonda, and the Project Inkblot Team

Tags
equity design, visual design, assessment design

When we started our Summer Research Fellowships, we knew that we wanted to find ways to bring those who work in Equity Design - consultants, thought leaders, researchers, and designers - closer to organizations who were looking for help but didn't know to whom to turn. We built off qualitative research collected by previous research fellows, and realized that there was a major gap in what organizations said they wanted, versus how ready they were for the work. Because the Equity Design field was driven mostly by word-of-mouth referral, many companies were seeking out consultation from companies that were not the best match for them.

This insight was the first step in what would eventually become an equity assessment prototype. Along the way, we grappled with the limitations of our current language around equity, and how to create an assessment for something we’ve never seen and may never fully attain.

The last part of our fellowship was a workshop that we facilitated with the rest of the Project Inkblot team as a way to source language around Equity and ascertain various mental models & experiences. We used Project Inkblot's D4D phases as a meta-framework within which we identified a spectrum between dominant culture ↮ ideal state. The workshop surfaced both the ideal state and the shifting goalposts that Equity represents.

"better-off"  measures asks a simple question: are the people most affected by my designs - according to them - better-off because of it?