We at Reflex Design Collective believe in revealing the political in design practice. In a world where oppressive structures keep communities from reaching the social, cultural, economic, and holistic lives they aim to engage in, we present to SF Design Week community a design thinking space which addresses issues of social justice. We welcome designers, activists, business folk, community leaders, the marginalized, and the allies of all types to address the collective wicked problems.
We intend upon developing spaces of reflection, narrative building, brainstorming, prototyping, and testing towards addressing issues that are technological political, social, and otherwise complex. We introduce our main theory: that these problems live in political spaces, and as a result, we as designers must append political thought to current design practice (understanding our biases, learning the history behind complex issues, and democratizing the practice of design) when addressing these problems. We take our participants through our designed innovation journeys, through methods such as:
Personal Accountability: How does your experience influence what you see? What might you suggest? How do they blind your experience?
Finding Your Story's Roots: What complex issues do you bring to the design community? What are the roots? What are the impacts of the story on your and others?
Democratization: To address your issue, who else should be in the room? Who has power? Who will be most influenced?
Ideation: What ideas can be considered, and reflected?
Reflection: How can we make this sustainable after this workshop? What can we change?
During this workshop, we focus upon the topic of environmental racism in the Bay Area to frame our discussion and methods. We welcome community members to bring your personal Bay Area stories, so we can develop interactive spaces which address the issues you deem important.
We aim for three central outcomes from this workshop:
1. to provoke participants' interest in design's capacity to address politically salient issues of our day,
2. to introduce people to methods they can use to address those issues, and
3. to develop tangible prototypes which could, in the future, address these wicked problems.
We invite you to journey with us and become part of our Reflex Design Collective.