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“The more we understand about our histories of both oppression and resistance to it, of injury and resistance, the better we come to know our real capacities, and the better able we become to act powerfully and build real alliances.” (Morales, 2019, p. 65)

A new paper, Anti-Oppression Mindsets for Collaborative Design, will be published as part of the Design Research Society (DRS) Conference in August, 2020. In this paper I draw on the work of Decolonising Design and Design Justice, and I learn from Cross-Cultural Psychology to shape careful and respectful relationships with design partners. Here is a glimpse…


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Everyday racism is entwined in the technology that we design, yet we have few tools and techniques to engage participants in solutioning. Participatory Design is an ideal method for bringing people from marginalized positions into the design process. It is a powerful way to imagine solutions with those directly involved in a challenge, but for sensitive topics, like racism, group discussions can be too painful and personal. Here we share how a first-person, fictional, interactive narrative can serve as a rich foundation for collaboration and discussion, and relieves participants of the need to reveal personal trauma until they are ready.


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A snapshot of my bookshelf, design and racism books intersecting

My PhD dissertation is focused on anti-racism and design, so people sometimes ask for advice on more diverse or socially-oriented readings for course planning. As a student in the classroom myself, I have felt the frustration of a syllabus filled primarily with white men. It is especially painful as our courses are often made up predominantly of women, and if we’re lucky, include a diversity of cultural backgrounds.

Here I present a list of readings for you to consider adding to your design syllabi to demonstrate that women and People of Color do have a voice and place in design…


Transition Design Approaches

Written by Team Resilience: 
Hillary Carey, Alex Klein, Nandini Nair, Yuchuan Shan
Racial Inequity in Pittsburgh, Transition Design Seminar 2020, CMU

Hillary Carey is quarantining in Oakland, California. She has now completed her first year of the PhD in Transition Design at CMU. She is focused on bringing anti-racism and anti-oppression theories into design practices.

Alex Klein is currently quarantining in Michigan, but calls NYC home. In May 2020 she will complete her Masters of Arts in Design at CMU. Her work focuses on the ecology and the built environment.

Nandini Nair is a third-culture kid hailing Aotearoa (New Zealand)…


Research through Design

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An overview of the Mural board used to work through learning activities used in Stacie Rohrbach’s Designing Learner Experiences course

INTRODUCTION

I have been taking Stacie Rohrbach’s class, designing learner experiences to do some hands-on exploration for teaching about racism. This project started with a broad question about how to make more people aware of racism in general and evolved to the more specific objective of teaching college educators about the harm of microaggressions in the classroom.

WHAT I MADE

Slight Off-Hand: A learning game about microaggressions
Making the topic of racial microaggressions more accessible and less intimidating by enabling Teaching Assistants to play out classroom experiences around race in a low-stakes learning environment.


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A section of the cover of Designs for the Pluriverse (2018)

In Transition Design class today, we engaged in a video lecture with Arturo Escobar, activist and author of Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical interdependence, autonomy, and the making of worlds (2018). In this book, Escobar proposes a way of designing, Autonomous Design, that is similar to Carnegie Mellon’s Transition Design, and Ezio Manzini’s Social Innovation. Yet Escobar draws more from critical social theories like Feminist Theory and is deeply embedded in Epistemologies of the South.


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Participants wrote post-its to analyze a fictional example of a racist microaggression

This entry is Part 2 of my process journal for Designing Learner Experiences. I have narrowed my focus to look at designing a teaching/learning experience around microaggressions on college campuses. This work combines two current projects for me:

  1. As part of a research project in the Human Computer Interaction Institute, I have been facilitating Participatory Design workshops dealing with microaggressions.
  2. I am a student in Stacie Rohrbach’s course on learning + design. She is guiding us through learning theories and design approaches with the goal of constructing an engaging learning experience in May.

My Transition Design Ph.D. Inquiry

Overall my dissertation work is focused on…


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Artifacts from the future, created by Hillary Carey

For Stuart Candy’s course, Experiential Futures, I created a “taste of the future” for a classmate, based on her initial vision of a preferable future, in 20 years. In this Ethnographic Experiential Future, I imagine a world in which mushrooms our society elevates their value. We now appreciate fungi as equal citizens. They are protected, valued for the medicinal properties, and loved as pets as we grow them in our homes.

From Stuart Candy’s instructions for the assignment:

“Whereas an archaeologist aims to deduce the ‘world’ from the ‘fragment’ of a past that produced it, an experiential futurist creates the most potent fragments that can express the…


Two people sort photograph cards into groups for a research exercise
Two people sort photograph cards into groups for a research exercise

As a PhD student in Transition Design at Carnegie Mellon, I am following along with Stacie Rohrbach’s course on learning + design. Here is my week-by-week journal.

Week 1:

My dissertation inquiry topic — shifting how white people can better understand the problems of racism — is ultimately the process of developing a learning experience for white Americans. As David W. Orr describes in the introduction to The Third Teacher: 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching & learning, “We arrived at our present precarious situations as a result of flaws in our thinking, perception, and paradigm.” [1] To take…


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I sometimes facilitate workshops or full projects that are primarily centered on the experiences of people of color. In my professional practice, I have contributed to several design projects delving into social issues. I have been in positions where I, as a white, cis-gendered, American-born design researcher, was interviewing, co-creating with, synthesizing, and sharing out the experiences of people of color. Yet there is cultural fluency around race that the participants of color might have that I did not. …

Hillary Carey

Design → AntiRacism → Design | pursuing a PhD in #TransitionDesign @CarnegieMellonDesign

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