DESIGN AS PROTEST
The National Organization of Minority Architects, in partnership with Next City, will host Design as Protest, a social justice by design workshop & charrette, during the 43rd Annual NOMA National Conference. The program will be held in New Orleans on Wednesday, October 14 from 1- 5:30 PM at the AIA New Orleans Design Center (1000 St Charles St). Design as Protest will connect activist, community organizers, architects, designers, and artists, with the intention of exploring the potential for design to expressly serve as an instigator of change through place based creative intervention. The event will reflect on the outcomes of the modern civil rights movement and the value of protests as a primary strategic tool for social justice activists.
The program intends to leverage the unique skillset of creatives in collaboration with social justice organizers to utilize our collective capacity and explore new ideas around social justice protests in public space. Teams will participate in groups of 2–3 to evaluate strategies and elements of specific civil rights campaigns, define the expected or anticipated outcomes versus the ideal outcomes, then design a set of creative public space interventions that have a positive impact towards the end goal. When the charrette is complete, the information gathered will combine to showcase effective protest around the world, alternative ways to speak truth to power and provide design tools for the 21st century movement.
Design, at large, plays a tremendous role in our society. Architectural design, specifically, defines the places and spaces that shape our interactions with the world. As a nation, we've gone to great pains to design physical, social, economic and political systems, to which we consider to be the best. Whether this sentiment is true or not, we have done so with a neglectful eye towards the oppressive consequences of a system designed without consideration for those oppressed. The friction that is caused by neglect, has historically disenfranchised Native Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Women, the LGBTQ community, and countless others. The response to this friction, is a nation that has seen its fair share of political battles, organizing efforts, bloody protests, and civil rights martyrs.