Announcing our Aspen Institute Tech Policy Hub Challenge Grant

Aspen Tech Policy Hub Zoom workshop

Designing Insights is delighted to announce that we are working on an important and timely project titled “Cultural Engagement to Mitigate Social Isolation.”

With our collaborator Michael Edson of Using Data, we have received a grant from the Aspen Institute Tech Policy Hub, funded by the Ford Foundation and the Omidyar Network, to help museums, libraries, and performing arts organizations work more directly with their communities during this challenging time in America. (Read the full Aspen Tech Policy Hub announcement and the detailed press release.)

10 cultural organizations, together serving over 4 million people across the United States, are participating. These organizations are:

  • Arts & Minds, New York, NY (with Howes Studio), with Carolyn Halpin-Healy, Nellie Escalante, and Deborah Howes
  • Akron-Summit County Public Library System, Akron, OH, with Jennifer Stencel
  • Center for Art and Public Exchange, an initiative of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS, with Monique Davis
  • Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM, with Liz Neely
  • Lux Art Institute, Encinitas, CA, with Andrew Utt and Claudia Cano
  • Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS, with McKenzie Drake
  • Newark Museum of Art, Newark, NJ, with Deborah Kasindorf and Silvia Flippini Fantoni
  • RED EYE Theater, Minneapolis, MN, with Emily Gastineau, Jeffrey Wells, and Rachel Jendrzejewski
  • Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN, with Katherine Covey and Susannah Schouweiler

The idea of this project is very humble and straightforward: we will bring the group together and provide workshops in design thinking and LEGO Serious Play, facilitation, coaching, and outside perspectives. The participants will bring their vast professional expertise, imagination, and intimate knowledge of their communities, missions, and values. We’ll meet weekly over the course of 10 weeks, and together we’ll try to nudge new experiments and ideas into the light of day.

When we conceived this project back in April, we were focused exclusively on addressing the harm being caused to communities and individuals by the social isolation of Covid-19, but April seems like it was 100 years ago.

Now, with our hearts aching from the eruption of pain, fear, and anger of what we have all lived through and witnessed here in the US, and with many of our collaborators dealing with the immediate consequences and long-term root causes of violence and injustice on their own doorsteps, we will inevitably be drawn together towards a larger and more consequential response.

This article originally appeared on the Using Data site and was authored by Michael Peter Edson.

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