What are Design Educators to do in an Election Season like this?

Design for Social Justice by Getting to Know Potential Users:
Bullies, Teasers and Tormentors

CWI is pleased to share an exceptional opportunity, courtesy of our partner Patty Kovic, Associate Professor at Otis College of Art and Design.

1_ngbhomePatty has developed an awesome community focused project called NEIGHBOR-GAP-BRIDGE. Neighborgap is a Global Community Building initiative, as well as a Creative Action Course at Otis College, focused on Civic Engagement. Helping to prepare students for their public lives as citizens, community members, and professionals is a key deliverable of the NEIGHBOR-GAP-BRIDGE Course.

In this High Impact Learning Environment, students assume the role of ethnographers, with their local community as their field or laboratory. Neighbor Gap Bridge  “Bridges” are common intellectual experiences, selected for relevancy, which often coincide with significant current events.
With the Fall 2016 Election as a backdrop, and the support of course partners including best selling author, Aaron James, Assholes, a Theory, and The Anti Defamation League, Otis College students have been using Human Centered Design to study the people we most need to understand in an election like this: Bullies, Teasers and Tormentors.

The 2016 election has reached a tipping point with entitlement, privilege and narcissistic behavior everywhere. There’s a growing fear that our social fabric is un-raveling and documented evidence of decline. We all feel it.

Otis College Creative Action students are taking a stand with a pop-up installation: 100 Instances of Negative Behavior Based in Bias, Prejudice and Privilege.

The Fall 2016 course, “NEIGHBOR-GAP-BRIDGE / Bullies, Teasers and Tormentors” is a High Impact Course, designed as a laboratory which views a student’s role as ethnographer and the college’s surrounding environment as tribe. Using pedagogical tools for observation and inquiry, students actively investigate the customs, history, attitudes and peoples – in their own backyard

Working with ethnographic tools like online reflective journals, semi-structured community interviews, participant observation and collected material from media, students have identified 100 Instances of Negative Behavior based on Bias, Privilege and Prejudice. A research measurement tool, with a rating scale, inspired by the Anti Defamation League’s “Pyramid of Hate” analyzes each instance.

Later this year, students plan to utilize this research as a launch pad, to propose design interventions, but already a shift of perception is in the air. “I feel more inclined to “check myself” after reading some of these, one student reflected, “I realized that small behaviors might give permission to larger ones and every action counts.” Open: October 28 — Election Day

CONTACT: Patricia Kovic, Associate Professor, Otis College of Art and Design
Images and Videos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neighborgapbridge/
310 403 5145 •  pkovic@otis.edu

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Community Works Institute (CWI) provides resources, professional development, and collaboration opportunities for educators. Our focus is on place based education, service learning, and sustainability.
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