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Whether in our own backyard or across the globe, the complexity of the social and environmental challenges we face calls for a new sense of agency in our practice—agency that is more than simply a conviction to intervene. It is about cultivating an honest perspective about our role, about bringing a measure of intentionality and reflexivity to our practice, and about allowing collaboration and facilitation to replace the topdown, designer-centric models of the past. How as designers do we align our skills and values in order to make meaningful contributions to the world? What gives us agency to work within particular communities or around particular issues? Are we willing to make the commitments required to develop enduring solutions? And what skills do we need to make this all happen? Design Agency challenges us to bring the same level of accountability to our social practice as to our aesthetic one. Our collaborative thesis investigation brings together individual backgrounds in design, teaching, entrepreneurship, engagement with local and global communities, and with issues ranging from community-based education to global health. It is an approach that is deeply rooted in the belief that agency is more than an individual pursuit—that there may be something to the old adage, 1+1=3. In designing and teaching the course, Design Agency, we’ve expanded our collaboration to include eleven other graduate


Design Agency, 2nd edition  
Design Agency, 2nd edition