Case Study: Exploring Healing at EWOCC 2017


Can design facilitate healing?

Our Approach:

We explored the intersection of design and healing at the 32rd annual Empowering Women of Color Conference at UC Berkeley in Spring 2017.  Around 25 participants were invited, within their comfort level, to use design thinking to work through a personal challenge that was troubling them.  


Key Activities:

Using our methods, participants shared their stories in a safer space before making connections between their individual experience and larger social systems.  By expanding beyond the individual level, these context maps revealed opportunities to design interventions that would help participants either cope with, or change, the circumstance playing out in their life.  Participants then supported each other in ideating and prototyping their designs.



By the end of the 2 hour workshop, every participant had come up with a prototype of an intervention aimed at mitigating a stressful or harmful circumstance in their life, either directly or via related social change work.  Younger participants in particular expressed excitement about their prototypes, such as a self-care reward chart created by a young woman who recently left an abusive relationship.  

We learned valuable lessons about the cultural and generational norms that are more or less compatible with this approach, allowing us to think through adaptations for different audiences in the future.


Partner: The 32nd Annual Empowering Women of Color Conference at UC Berkeley

Project Type: Workshop

Services: Design Facilitation for Healing

Timeline: March 18th, 2017