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User Research Center

URC Lunch & Learn: How Design Thinking Protects White Supremacy Culture

Wednesday, May 31, 2023, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Online, Harvard ID required, Event, Event, Presentation, Workshop,
Registration has closed.


White supremacy and its values have been historically constructed into the social, political, and economic landscape of the world, seeping into professional norms and standards - including those found in design, design thinking, and other forms of creative problem-solving. This session will dive deeper into defining white supremacy and how it shows up beyond overt acts of hatred, explore how white supremacy is upheld in the ideologies and practices of “traditional” design thinking, and examine how we might shift design mindsets to more equitable, diverse, and inclusive practice.

Speaker Bio: 

Dhara Shah holds over a decade of experience in social design, anti-racism organizing, and facilitation. She brings her own intersectional experiences and critical systems analysis to support community engagement efforts with non-profits, local governance structures, and organizations working towards social change through 1:1 coaching, organization-wide training, and offering technical assistance to operationalize equity.

Dhara’s background merges all elements of her life’s passions: engineering, social design, and community organizing. She has designed curriculum and facilitated racial equity training, going beyond DEI initiatives and supporting organizations operationalizing values of equity in their day-to-day. She was a founding member of JustDesign Co-op where she co-designed operations to provide anti-oppressive engineering and design services to grassroots organizations.

Dhara holds a MFA in Design for Social Innovation from School of Visual Arts as well as a BS in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Biology from Illinois Institute of Technology. Her graduate thesis was recognized by the School of Visual Arts for developing a customized participatory budgeting process for a Business Improvement District in Queens, which elevated the decision power of immigrant-owned small businesses in community revitalization efforts.

The presentation will be held from 12:00-1:00 PM on Zoom. Zoom meeting information will be sent via email once you register.

Open to all Harvard affiliates. Please RSVP for the event below. If you have any questions, please contact libraryux@harvard.edu.

Accommodation Statement: Persons with disabilities who would like to request accommodations or have questions may contact the User Research Center at libraryux@harvard.edu in advance of the event.

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Event Organizer

Sara Price