“Radical Practice: Asserting Power and Agency,” hosted by Women in Design with Susan Surface, Julia King, Diana Al-Hadid and Dr. Atyia Martin

On March 8, 2016, Women in Design, a Harvard Graduate School of Design student group, will celebrate its third-annual International Women’s Day. Dedicated to empowering women designers, we propose an open dialogue on what it means to be a creative woman developing, challenging, and innovating her craft in the 21st century. In exploring conventional and potential modes of practice, we aim to cultivate radical alternatives to the dominant roles and methods of our fields. As we reflect on strides the design fields have made toward achieving gender equity, we see International Women’s Day 2016 as a catalytic platform to investigate how radical practice can re-situate—and revolutionize—our work.

Women in Design continues to challenge how women, as well as other underrepresented groups in the design disciplines, can work for equity across representation, compensation, and valuation. To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we have invited pioneering women practitioners across the design disciplines to engage and share their backgrounds, experiences, and philosophies of radical practice—the what, how, and why (or why not). In this spirit, we invite you to join us in questioning and speculating how, both individually and collectively, we can radically transform the design field.

In honor of International Women's Day, architect Julia King, artist Diana al-Hadid, resilience officer Atyia Martin and public curator Susan Surface will convene to discuss their experience cultivating radical alternatives to the dominant roles and methods in design and reflecting on what it means to be a creative woman developing, challenging, and innovating her craft in the 21st century.

Susan Surface (Moderator) is Program Director at Design in Public, organizing the Seattle Design Festival and exhibitions at the Center for Architecture and Design. Surface previously worked as an architect with super-interesting!, an organizer with Architecture for Humanity and Artist Studio Affordability Project, and a researcher with C-Lab and Network Architecture Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Surface was a 2014 A-I-R at The Center For Photography at Woodstock, was a teaching fellow in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department at Yale, and earned a B.F.A. in Integrated Design from Parsons School of Design and an M.Arch from Yale School of Architecture.

Julia King is an architectural designer and urban researcher based out of LSE Cities, an international centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. At LSE Cities she has worked on ‘Super-diverse streets: Economies and spaces of urban migration in UK Cities’ and is currently working on various initiatives in India. Her design practice is concerned with housing, sanitation infrastructure, urban planning, and participatory design processes mostly in developing countries. She has won numerous awards including a Holcim Award (2011), SEED Award for ‘Excellence in Public Interest Design’ (2014), Emerging Woman Architect of the Year (2014) and short listed for the World Design Impact Prize (2013) and the Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award (2014). She has taught at the Bartlett School of Architecture, Architectural Association and the CASS, Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design; where she recently completed her PhD-by-practice titled ‘Incremental the Sweet Spot for making town-within-a-city’.

Diana Al-Hadid was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1981 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Working with a variety of materials, Al-Hadid creates monumental sculptures, drawings, and panels, all of which blur the lines between figuration and abstraction.Her work references history by drawing influence from disrupted typologies found in architecture, antiquity, cosmology and Old Master paintings. Diana received a BFA in sculpture and a BA in Art History from Kent State University in 2003, and an MFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond in 2005. She also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and her  work is included in many influential collections worldwide. Most recently, she has an upcoming solo exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi’s University Gallery.

Dr. Atyia Martin is a Certified Emergency Manager with experience in public health, emergency management, intelligence, and homeland security. Mayor Martin J. Walsh appointed her as the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Boston as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative where she is responsible for leading the development and implementation of Boston’s Resilience Strategy. As the foundation of the Resilience Strategy process, Boston will focus on advancing racial equity. Dr. Martin is also adjunct faculty in the Master of Homeland Security at Northeastern University. She was previously the Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Boston Public Health Commission. Her professional experience includes the Boston Police Department’s Regional Intelligence Center; City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management; the Federal Bureau of Investigations; and active duty Air Force assigned to the National Security Agency. Dr. Martin and her husband were born and raised in Boston and have have five children.

Harvard GSD Women in Design

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