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Co-designing Tools to Counter Structural Oppression
October 25th, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
There has been a recent push in technology design to consider social implications of technology design — both historical, current, and future. In resource-constrained communities, there have been historical policies and practices (e.g., redlining, overpolicing) that have created concentrated poverty, increased unemployment, and lack of adequate and equitable educational, housing, and health opportunities. However, several local community-based organizations have taken the initiative to address their communities’ challenges regarding issues such as safety and education. In this talk, I will discuss two projects that illustrate how we design technologies, practices, and programs with community residents and organizations to support their efforts to counter social issues that are a result of long-term structural oppression. Specifically, I describe (1) our co-design and evaluation process of a mobile application to support violence prevention efforts by street outreach workers and (2) the evolution of Digital Youth Divas, our program that encourages middle school Black and Latina girls to engage and participate in STEAM experiences. The first project is an example of how to design with organizations that intentionally attempts to counter traditional policing practices by law enforcement by taking a community-led approach to public safety in neighborhoods that experience high violence. The second project illustrates how we can address policies and infrastructure that create barriers for Black and LatinX girls and their families to engage in informal learning opportunities. Insights lead to discussion regarding how we as designers can intentionally support community-based counter structures to make a long-term, sustainable impact on communities that have historically faced systemic oppression.