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A New Class, a New Love: Creative Writing for Social Designers

We like to keep evolving, and trying new things at DSI. In that vein we held, for the first time, a class in creative writing. We did this for several reasons.

First, as our writer/journalist guest lecturer Jesse Kornbluth said, “Writing is how you get everything you want, from love to a fancy new job.” Social designers use writing to inspire and compel people to think about issues in a new way, and great writing is more compelling than boring writing. Great writing is, in the words of Brenda Ueland, “Infectious.”

Second, most of the writing we see in this field is riddled with clichés and jargon; we’d like to be the people to introduce great writing to social design.

And third, there is no better way to learn about yourself and your view of the world (and through your own, others’) than writing.

So, about twenty students dove into writing creative essays with chair Cheryl Heller over the past month. They read inspiring work, from Isak Dinesen to John D’Agata and Annie Dillard (and well beyond the D’s). They wrote, a lot. And they read their stories to an audience of first and second year cohorts and Jesse Kornbluth at an event we called the Caterpillar (kind of like the Moth but without full wings yet). The question now is, how do we keep writing. Rumor has it there’s a DSI Literary Journal in the future.

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