adw20_failure resume workshop_all.png

#ADW20 Event Recap

That’s a wrap! Austin Design Week 2020 was an incredible coming together of the design community and we couldn't be more thankful for everyone who made this year’s festivities happen.

Thank you to our amazing sponsors, partners, hosts, panelists and volunteers who dedicated their time, efforts, and insights.

We plan on sharing recordings of some of this year’s sessions (sign up for our email list to be notified when they’re available!) but in the meantime, here are a few key themes, takeaways from ADW attendees, and several powerful quotes from some of the events.

  • 5-topics_blog-divider.png

Embrace Change

Change has been a resounding theme for 2020. From adapting to remote work, to pivoting in the face of a pandemic, many ADW20 events addressed the need to embrace change through the lens of design. While nearly every session offered solutions for navigating these changes, below are a few stand out quotes.

“You can be part of change in what the work looks like. You don’t have to wait.”- Aemilia Bowie on how individual employees can help transform work culture (Do Better, Hire Better: Building Teams that Reflect )

“Study the future like historians study the past.” - Lucy Ziegler-Wang (Embracing Uncertainty: Using Strategic Foresight to Examine What's Next)

“We shouldn’t be scared to have uncomfortable conversations… That's where the change happens.” (Stake Out: What’s on the Table for BIPOC Designers in this Era?)

“You walk in with either formal or informal hypotheses about the things that you think you’re trying to solve and design research is about discovering the truth — sometimes in spite of those hypotheses.” - Stacey Chang (People Helping People: Design's Role in Elevating and Understanding Human Needs in Crisis Response Lessons and Takeaways)

  • 5-topics_blog-divider.png

Embrace Equity, Inclusivity, and Diversity

2020 has shown us that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done around equity and diversity, and many ADW20 sessions presented actionable solutions to help move us forward — both in work and in our communities. Below are a few of those insights.

“It’s not just for visibility. It’s not just in this moment. It’s not just 2020. It’s not just Black Lives Matter or whatever that movement happens to be...But it’s long-term change and a long-term shift to the organizational goals. Then it becomes part of what’s written in the mission, vision, [and] values.” - Hunter Sunrise on effectively improving diversity in teams. (Do Better, Hire Better: Building Teams that Reflect Our Communities)

“We design from the perspective of those in ask is that we design putting the marginalized voices at the table and sharing power equally.” Kevin Foster (Designing for Equity in Education)

“Representation is so important, but you don’t understand how important until you are represented.” (Stake Out: What’s on the Table for BIPOC Designers in this Era?)

“Know the history and impact, keep that in mind for the present, and use that for defining what is acceptable to use and what isn’t.” Jannis Hegenwald (Embrace Unlearning: How Changing Our Language Can Reframe Our World)

Challenge from Jannis:

  1. Think about your day-to-day design work and look for one opportunity to use more inclusive language

  2. Think about one tool or resource you can introduce to a group you are working with

  3. Think of one person you can engage in dialogue about language. Start to get in the habit of actively engaging about dialogue and language.

  • 5-topics_blog-divider.png

Embrace Community

Community is at the heart of Austin Design Week, and this year it’s become especially important to figure out how to nurture, improve, and embrace our communities. Here are a few community-related takeaways from this year’s events:

“[My] biggest takeaway has been that people are not alone — whether it’s dealing with microaggressions, safety concerns, being part of a marginalized community, there’s going to be someone there who can relate and empathize and possibly help you get through whatever you’re going through.” Attendee Mike Torres (Allied Voices: Designing for Marginalized Communities)

“We are exploring this new concept called design justice which speaks to break down traditional design where the designer is the ‘expert.’ It centers more on community voices and elevates the expertise of lived experiences so we can bring it into design and the physical space and learn more about what communities want to see.” - Shavone Otero (Dear Austin… Embracing Identity Through Policy: Erasure and Displacement of Black and Brown Communities)

  • 5-topics_blog-divider.png

Embrace Design

Design always plays a central role in ADW’s events, but we learn something new every year. And this year was no exception!

“You have to make space for art - it’s a philosophy… then create a budget where you build the art in and protect those funds.” Michael Hsu (Embracing Artisans and Craftspeople to Design Memorable Experiences)

“Art and visual language is ‘The Super Language’ which transcends the linguistic barrier.” - Yiying Lu (Embrace Community Through Cross-Cultural Design)

“Human-centered design should include those who we are designing for. It is about community and engaging.” - Susana Almanza (Dear Austin… Embracing Identity Through Policy: Erasure and Displacement of Black and Brown Communities)

  • 5-topics_blog-divider.png

Embrace Environment

Now more than ever, nature has played a crucial role in our lives. And in the spirit of embracing nature, there were several sessions at ADW20 that touched on the relationship between design and the environment.

“As a design challenge, it was not just about understanding how to save the trees. But how to promote as a baseline that sense of sustainable sights is very attainable, not as a mandate, but as a baseline expectation of what a really great project could be.” - Daniel Woodroofe, dwg (From Parking Lots to Parks -- A Catalyst of Transformation at Highland ACC)

“Just as you don’t like a single tree in a forest, you love the forest as a whole. Cities are the same. You might not like any one building, but love the skyline.” - Matt Fajkus (Exploring Context to Inform Design: An Austin Tour)

Stay tuned for recordings of some of this year’s events! Sign up for our email list to get updates on when the event recordings are available.