The first-ever Elevate & Amplify is just days away!!!
In the last week, we have been sharing our panelists one by one on our social media, and this week we have been hosting technical runs and our panelists have had a chance to meet each other.
I feel so immensely privileged to get to learn from each and every one of these panelists and am so eager to see what kinds of conversations emerge as a result of Elevate & Amplify.
We have 3 panels planned. Each speaker is sharing their stories of how they got to be doing the work they are doing now, experiences navigating the design process and mainstream systems that have influenced the way they approach their work, and ultimately how they envision the work/world in 20 years from now.
For the first panel, Navigating Systems that are not Designed for Us – a panel of “recipients” engaged in design processes who are charting their own paths and designing alternatives.
Too many times, I have gone to a conference where we only hear about the “success stories” of how a design process went from the designer or practitioner rather than from the actual people who experienced the work. BIPOC Youth are seen as the “recipients” of services that have one directional flow of power, knowledge and value. For this conference, we wanted to start with these perspectives because we think the value of lived experience is what needs to lead the next generation of social innovation. These 5 panelists, representing 3 organizations will share their experiences with funders and media, dealing with organizations who don’t understand or care about their lived experiences and what they are doing about it now.
For the second panel, Beyond Broken Promises of Co-design – a panel of designers who have adapted their practices and approaches to engagement as they learn from failure.
As a practitioner within design and social innovation, I often have to work with mainstream organizations and systems that are not aligned with our efforts to shift power or to dismantle white supremacy. These 3 panelists speak to their experiences and their individual reflections on their roles, relationships, reciprocity, and results.
For our 3rd and final panel, Now what — how do we do Systems Change? – a panel of those leading systems change work who grapple with the tension of solving immediate/urgent problems and long-time change.
I struggle with this concept frequently in my work, when it feels like my work and the work around me seems to be making small shifts or even being set backwards by white supremacy. I am reminded frequently about Audre Lorde quote “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” and left wondering so now what do we do? These 3 panelists will share how they have continued to stay in this work and the investments they think are needed for the next generation.
Needless to say, the goal of designing the conference I have always wanted, is coming true!