Perspectives on Participatory Design: Panel Series with CTL Fellow Irina Schneid

Perspectives on Participatory Design is a 2 part faculty panel series on how we teach collaboration in design and with whom.

Tuesday, March 16th, 6:00-7:30pm EST on zoom 
Register for the Panel Here

This event is organized by Irina Schneid, IIDA, AIA. Irina is one of eight 2021 CTL Faculty Fellows.

Guest Panelists:

Jon Otis + Luka Lucic on the Kingston Creative Exchange
Keena Suh on the SDR Coalition
Jack Travis on the Bushwick Generator
Alex Schweder on Design for National Alliance for Mental Illness, Caringkind, and the New Sanctuary Coalition.

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Participatory approaches to design practice stem from the belief that those who are most affected by design thinking should have a say in the design process. But how do we teach participation? How do we establish terms of engagement?  How do we democratize our design teaching processes when, too often, conversations in academia focus on what we are teaching rather than how we are teaching it? Outcome-oriented syllabi leave our goals and objectives aligned, but our methodologies siloed. Design studios promote resolved spatial solutions over learned spatial practices. This panel asks, how do we set the stage for human centered design thinking? What if instead of seeking resolution we sought difficult dialogue? Instead of reviewing final projects we reviewed infrastructural processes. Instead of idealistically asking “what if ” and “why” we spoke realistically about “how” and “with whom.”


This 2-part panel series on Participatory Design aims to shed light on concrete examples, teaching exercises, and assignment prompts which foster collaboration between various participants. Acknowledging the complex dynamics and imbalances of power inherent in working across cultures and contexts, and understanding that participatory design can be complicit in perpetuating the very power structures it seeks to dismantle,we ask, how do we structure projects to address the needs, considerations, and experiences of all participants?  How, do we teach our students to empathize rather than to assume, to compromise rather than to compete, and to listen rather than to project?  What actionable steps can we, as design faculty, take to incorporate informed participatory design practices into future coursework?


Our first Perspectives on Participatory Design Panel aims to build awareness about the rich legacy of community driven design within our department as well as a viable path forward for future participatory course planning. Panelist presentations will be followed by a Q + A session which will prompt questions about what comes next, how we get there, who truly benefits from whose actions.

Register for the Panel Here
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