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What DSI-ers are reading, watching, listening to NOW?

Here at MFA DSI we think Summer is a time to rest, reflect, and…read.


We recommend: Build a habit of reading, reflecting, and writing. We’ve curated a list of faculty and staff picks below (and in our DSI Library). These selections give you perspectives on social innovation and emerging themes. Don’t feel you have to read them all, just pick what strikes you. And if you haven’t tried journaling, blogging, or posting to social media, there’s no time like the present.  


Reading List

We encourage you to support Black-owned bookstores!

MUST READ: The Intergalactic Design Guide Harnessing the Creative Potential of Social Design, Cheryl Heller (founder, MFA DSI)

Air Made Visible, Bruno Munari

Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble

The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker

Being Mortal, Atul Gawande

Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment, Letitia Nieto (2024 recommendation by faculty Marc Rettig)

Beyond Sticky Notes: Doing co-design for real, Kelly Ann McKercher

The Black Experience In Design, Anne H. Berry, Kareen Collie, Penina Acayo Laker, Lesley-Ann Noel, Jennifer Rittner, Kelly Walters

The Body Keeps The Score – Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine

Computer as Theatre, Brenda Laurel

Community: The Structure of Belonging, Peter Block (2024 recommendation by faculty Karen Proctor)

Decolonizing Design: A Cultural Justice Guidebook, Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall

Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need, Sasha Costanza-Chock

Design Struggles: Intersecting Histories, Pedagogies, and Perspectives, Claudia Mareis & Nina Paim (eds) 

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, adrienne maree brown

Ensouling Language, Stephen Buhner

Facilitating Participatory Decision-Making, Sam Kaner

Freedom is a Constant Struggle, Angela Y. Davis

Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation, adrienne maree brown

Minor Feelings, Cathy Park Hong 

Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire

Rekindling Democracy: A professional’s guide to working in citizen space, Cormac Russell

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, editor (2024 recommendation by faculty Mari Nakano)

They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein

Thinking in Systems, Donella Meadows

What it Means to be a Designer Today: Reflections, Questions, and Ideas from AIGA’s Eye on Design, Liz Stinson and Jarrett Fuller, editors (2024 recommendation by faculty Lee-Sean Huang)

Who Can Afford to be Critical: An inquiry into what we can’t do alone as designers and into what we might be able to do together, as people, Afonso Matos (2024 recommendation by faculty Lee-Sean Huang)

The Wild Edge of Sorrow, Francis Weller (2024 recommendation by faculty Marc Rettig)

The Works of Art, Adam Moss, ed (2024 recommendation by Kate Reed Petty)

You’re More Powerful than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen, Eric Liu



How to Think Differently about Doing Good as a Creative Person”, Omayeli Arenyeka illustrated by Neta Bomani

Theory as Liberatory Practice”, bell hooks

“Decentering the Designer”, Betsy Ramaccia

MeasureD website on use of M&E in design-led social impact interventions



Thirteenth, Ava DuVernay

White Like Me, Jeremy Young, Scott Morris, Sut Jhally, and Tim Wise 

Social Experiments to Fight Poverty, Esther Defflo, TED Talk

Simple Hacks for Life with Parkinson’s, Mileha Soneji, TED Talk on human-centered design

Designing for Inclusivity, Liz Jackson

Eyes on the Prize, the definitive story of the civil rights era

Engage citizens, empower communities, enact stories, Dave Snowden, State of the Net (2024 recommendation by faculty Marc Rettig)

CoDesign and Power, from Social Design Sydney

The “Co-liberation conversations” series from the California Faculty Association.

Creating community in the street where you live

Participatory decision-making in multi-stakeholder situations

The Outside podcast, Tim Merry and Tuesday Ryan-Hart.

Digital Alchemy Podcast, hosted by Moya Bailey.

The Moth Storytelling Podcast

Radiolab, hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser

Sam Rye, blog documenting the evolution of social labs (2024 recommendation by faculty Marc Rettig)

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