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

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

Friday, April 23rd 6:00-8:00pm EST on zoom 
Click here to view the recording of this event.

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

Guest Panelists:


Rebecca Krucoff, Historic Preservation, Art and Design Education and Heather Lewis, Art and Design Education

Caitlin Cahill, Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies, Social Justice/Social Practice Minor

Gita Nandan, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, Sustainable Environmental Systems

Zehra Kuz, Undergraduate Architecture, RAMP

Amy Khoshbin, School of Fine Arts, Fine Arts Fellow in Civic Engagement


Introduction by Anita Cooney, Dean, School of Design
Moderated by Irina Schneid, CTL Faculty Fellow 2021

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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 resources of all stakeholders?  How do we avoid privileging practice-based expertise over the lived-experience of our partners?  How do we empower our students to co-create and co-contribute to their outreach and learning process?

Highlighting the many modalities and infrastructures around participation at Pratt, our second panel, Perspectives on Participatory Design II, will build upon our previous discussion and showcase community-led pedagogy from 5 departments across our Institute. Panelist presentations will be followed by a Q + A session which will prompt questions about what comes next, how we get there, what challenges lie in the way of sustaining continuous community engagement, and what resources it will require to support this work in the long term.


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