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Participation by Design

In 2017, I began a series of social design projects centered around empathy, including a participatory installation about sexual harassment and assault on college campuses, a soft sculpture making workshop, and a publication documenting and giving historical context for the works.

I looked to feminist pedagogical models from history, like Sheila Levrant de Bretteville’s Women’s Design Program at California Institute of the Arts in the early 1970’s. At CalArts and at the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles (which she co-founded with Arlene Raven and Judy Chicago) Sheila structured design workshops centered around addressing social issues like sexism, racism, and inequality.

The projects were also informed by the writing of activist, author, and facilitator adrienne maree brown. In her book, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds (2017), brown analyzes the science fictional models of author, Octavia Butler, and the strategies her characters use in books like Parable of the Sower (1993) and Dawn (1987) as a means for organizing social change.

© lisa glenn armstrong ︎ 2024