Friday Oct 27th at 1pm - 5pm ET
It Takes Courage to Bloom
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
~ Anaïs Nin
To bloom is to have the courage to transform ourselves even when it feels difficult. In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to be consumed by the privilege of despair. But what if…we exercised the courage to bloom, to find healing, creativity, and joy in our design work?
Let’s explore the “what if” together.
3 thought-provoking panels with American Sign Language
interpreters and CART services.
1:00 - 2:15pm ET
Panel #1: Healing is Not a Scarcity
To bloom means to find ourselves when we feel lost. In times of grief and stress, it can be difficult to confront what we’ve endured in our work, especially as our workplaces aren’t always designed with healing in mind. This panel brings together design professionals who are reimagining what workplace healing looks like and how we can begin flourishing personally and professionally.
- How do we challenge narratives of resiliency?
- How do we plan for the future when grieving our professional past?
- How do we teach ourselves to trust our instincts?
Vivianne Castillo is the Founder of HmntyCntrd and brings 8+ years of psychology and research experience spanning multiple contexts, cultures, and industries and her work and opinions have been written about in Slate, Fortune, Huffington Post, Fast Company, ELLE Magazine. She has a strong track record influencing executives, educating others on trauma-informed care, & empowering others to challenge the status quo at Fortune 500 companies. She credits her previous experience as a human services professional, her multi-cultural upbringing, and her love for cognitive behavioral psychology as major influences on her approach to entrepreneurship, organizational design, and innovation.
Behzod is the founder of Yet Another Studio, where he guides companies from their first research project to their first research hire and beyond. He is also a program partner at Reforge, where he built the User Insights for Product Decisions program, and a Venture Partner at El Cap. Previously, Behzod led Research Operations at Slack and was a Senior UX Researcher at Facebook, where he co-founded the Research Associates Program.
Rachael earned her Master of Social Work in 2010 with a focus on Advocacy, Leadership & Social Change and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology focusing on Social Movements and Social Movement Organizations in 2000 — both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since the late 1990s, Rachael has built a lifelong service career in social justice work, the federal government, and higher education while working closely with values-aligned design teams worldwide. From 2019 - 2021, she completed coursework in UIUC’s Design for Responsible Innovation MFA program. Before taking a break in January 2022 to join the U.S. Digital Service team under the White House, her thesis was centered on Trauma Responsive Design: Addressing the Hidden Gaps in Design Research Methodologies and Practice. As a social worker-designer, Rachael engages in ongoing self-study and continuing education to maintain licensure and keep growing in her practice.
2:00 - 3:35pm ET
Panel #2: Creativity is Not a Scarcity
To bloom means to find possibility in the constraints of our work. What if we looked at our everyday design practice not as a site of control but as a site for defiant creativity? This panel brings together designers and technologists who are using experimentation, theater, and play to push the possibilities of design.
- How can we inject play in our work?
- How can we use rules, friction, and contradiction as inspiration?
- How do we ethically weave together old ideas to create something new?
Frederick van Amstel (he/him/his) is moving to become Associate Professor of Graphic Design and Visual Communication at the University of Florida, US. While at UTFPR, Brazil, he cofounded the Design & Oppression network and its local hub, the Laboratory of Design against Oppression (LADO). From that position, he guest-edited two special issues of the Diseña Journal on Design, Oppression, and Liberation. His work can be seen at https://fredvanamstel.com
I play with books, cats, food, yarn, and dirt, not all at the same time. Software engineer. Society of People Interested in Boring Things.
Melanie Kahl believes how we design can be as transformative as what we design. She is a design strategy practitioner in the social sector who has championed creative and community-minded approaches to the design of programs, services, and places. Melanie loves planting the seeds of new programs and practices. She launched Meta’s first Community-in-Residence program, bringing community leaders and product teams closer together, and was an early leader at Dalberg Design. At Dalberg, she grew portfolios on gender, cities, and customer experience— bringing participatory approaches to HIV-prevention, safe abortion access, and resilient urban planning. Melanie’s work in community-based practice is informed by her study of Social Policy and Organizational Change at Northwestern and her early career designing schools. In 2023, she was awarded a Mira Fellowship to investigate what designers can learn from human development practitioners about holding change. She energizes her practice as an adjunct professor, avid pedestrian, and potluck enthusiast.
3:45 - 4:50pm ET
Panel #3: Joy is Not a Scarcity
To bloom is to revel in joy as resistance. As researchers and designers, we’re often confronted with feelings of pain in the worlds we design in. But when we only acknowledge pain and struggle, we miss the nuance of being human-centered. This panel will explore how researchers and designers can use joy as a tool of insight, community, and healing.
- How do common design practices create a joy deficit?
- How do we hold joy in tension with grief and rage?
- What are the ways design can protect and exploit joy?
KA (them/they) is a co-design facilitator, teacher, and writer at Beyond Sticky Notes. They’ve been imagining and leading co-design projects in public health, domestic violence, transgender health, and child protection for 12+ years. KA’s work, their book, and Model of Care for Co-design (2020 & 2023) explore and offer ways to work together with more care, dignity and genuine appreciation of our differences.
With a systems thinking approach, and a diverse background in the arts, journalism, and tech, Tony Moaton is committed to using improvisation, divergent thinking processes and an affirmation-lead work ethos on any project, regardless of discipline. Tony is a trained facilitator and mediator with a social justice approach rooted in the concept of multipartiality. Due to an interest in better understanding the human condition, Tony is also a certified trauma-informed care practitioner and a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC). Tony holds a Graduate Certificate in Devised Performance from the University of the Arts and a BA in Western Performance and Social Transformation from Oberlin College.
Annika Hansteen-Izora is a product designer and writer that explores design futures rooted in queerness, care, and collectivity. Their multidisciplinary approach has led them to design experiences across disciplines, from anti-toxicity social media startup Somewhere Good, to third space Ethel's Club, to Fortune 500 companies and global artists. Deeply curious about the interweavings of design, tech, and nature, Annika is the founder of Creative Ecosystems, a digital garden and online directory for discovering communities dedicated to radical Black imagination.
Friday Oct 27th at 1pm - 5pm ET
Over Comfort — Together
- Access to live remote event on Friday Oct 27th with 3 thought-provoking panels
- American Sign Language interpreters and CART services during the event
- Access to a post-event networking opportunity to dive deeper and connect with other like-minded folks
- Access to the recordings of the 3 panels
- Additional resources, practical insights, key quotes, and transcripts relevant to the topics discussed during the panels and more!
The Dogma of Inclusion
Within design, we’ve seen a movement towards including users from historically marginalized groups into the research and design process. But what are the conditions of this inclusion and how can it result in even more exclusionary design? This panel brings together design professionals resisting superficial inclusion by rooting their practice in the friction of their identities.
- How can inclusive practices become exclusionary?
- What does it mean to design through race, disability, or queerness?
- How can we recognize patterns of lived experience without stereotyping or homogenizing?