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Designer in Residence Update: Exploring Improv as a Social Act

This week, we officially kicked off faculty member Karen Proctor’s designer residency with an incredible session during our weekly Global Guest Lecture. The evening culminated in an exploration of improv as it relates to social design and change, and touched upon the power of movement, poetry, and imagination in pursuit of creating an equitable future. 

The class started off with a challenging thought: “what does it look like to have an equitable society?” The difficulty with this question comes with the fact that one has never actually existed; it’s up to leaders and thinkers to experiment and develop new mental models where equity can thrive in the day-to-day. Karen sees improv as a potential method of pushing current leadership–be it in government, community organization, or elsewhere–get “unstuck”. With this experimental mindset, there is potential to develop new pathways toward progress as opposed to depending on pre-existing models to implement small, riskless change.

Karen also invited professional dance artist Kyle H Martin to help students visualize these concepts through movement and the body. Over the next few weeks, Karen will continue to explore different methods and understandings of improv via interviews students and practitioners throughout the remainder of her residency. 

As DSI is a program built on taking risks and impacting change, we are incredibly excited to see where Karen’s future research leads.

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