With the semester in full swing, DSI students have been working with Sloan Leo, our Spring 2020 Designer in Residence, who serves as Director of Social Innovation at The Vaid Group. Sloan is a community centered design strategist exploring the intersections of social innovation and social justice. They have devoted weekly office hours to students for one-on-one conversations about how they can better integrate community building into their work, exchanging innovative ideas, or planning for the future. Together, students and Sloan have developed workshopping materials, exchanged skillsets and resources, and ultimately worked to build up our community of students and practitioners.
Sloan describes their design practice as emergent, grappling and speculative. And with this orientation has invited students to better understand what motivates and informs their practice.
Recently, we began hosting a series of talks titled Ideas In Action: Conversations on Community Design as a collaboration between DSI and Sloan’s practice at The Vaid Group.
The first talk of the series was held on February 27th to a small group in our auditorium, and functioned as a discussion between Sloan, our department chair Miya Osaki, and the attendees on Healing Justice as a Framework, and how it may inform a public understanding of collective care.
On Thursday, March 19th from 8:30 – 10:00am, DSI will be hosting the second of these talks as a webinar. Sloan will be joined by Keesha Gaskins-Nathan, the Director of Democratic Practice at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, to explore the role of designers in creating and enabling conditions for democracy. Those interested in attending the webinar can register here.
We hope to host two additional talks in this series in the near future, and will update our website and social media pages as more information becomes available.
Sloan will continue to facilitate further community growth among student cohorts throughout the rest of their time here, and we could not be more excited to see what comes next from this partnership.