This spring, we hosted Out Labs as our designers in residence: a DSI alumni-organized group consisting of 2020 grads Ryana Bryan, Grace Kang and Monica Tarriba that is focused on reframing shared language, internal processes, and relational connections toward equitable and inclusive practices. During their residency, they were able to pilot and develop their processes by using the DSI community as a case study and partner.
Over the course of the semester the team held interviews, surveys, and co-design workshops with first and second year students to discuss their experiences as part of DSI’s highly multicultural and multidisciplinary space. The group guided students in exploring the power dynamics at play within the DSI program and greater design sector, and unpacked the ways in which they impact our relationships with community partners and the larger SVA community.
Ultimately, their discussions and findings pointed towards the development of new tool sets, shared language, and feedback frameworks that will help establish trust, leadership, and a strong community that will help to build spaces between students, faculty and our broader DSI partners. Out Labs recommended specific ways to restructure and build new design principles and practices to further explore and begin to prototype starting this summer.
We believe that taking steps to meet student needs will help align DSI’s teachings with our actions, and will positively impact our students both during and after their time with us. We are committed to building upon our learnings from Out Labs, and are determined to achieve a more equitable community space for our current and future cohorts. We look forward to working with the group again in the future!
For more information on their processes and findings, you can check out their final reflection on our instagram.