Follow your art.
The Inneract Project became a sparkle in Maurice Woods’ eye when he was given an assignment in his graduate class at the University of Seattle to use design to ‘change the world’. A vision came immediately to Woods – free design programs for underserved kids.
That vision became The Inneract Project, a San Francisco non-profit getting kids from marginalized communities excited about creating. Design is not only a channel for creativity but can also become a lucrative career.
The program has three main offerings – the Youth Design Academy, an 8-week course for middle schoolers; Learning Labs, which offers workshops, lectures, and studio tours for middle and high school students; and Designed, a docu-series about designers.
Facebook and Autodesk have partnered with Inneract to make their programs even more robust, which Woods says is just what the program needs. He wants the model to eventually go nationwide.
“We just haven’t had the resources to be able to dig as deep as we want to dig. It takes time and outreach,” Woods told TechCrunch. “Kids, parents, and administrators don’t really understand what design is entirely and how it fits in terms of not just an educational standpoint, but career standpoint,” Woods told TechCrunch.
Woods believes using cultural context is important for the program. For instance, inner-city kids often have an affinity for sports, so Woods once asked the students to design basketball tees and merchandise as a way to introduce design in a way that felt familiar.
“We want to always have this focus on underserved youth and communities and always have this focus on advocacy where we’re not only just teaching them but we’re actually going to where these communities are and learning about them, and asking them questions, and developing a program that’s important to them, and evolving this ecosystem of people all over the nation who are interested in giving back and who have these skills, and want to see kids succeed and get into design and tech fields,” Woods told TechCrunch.
It’s a win-win for the tech world, Facebook Head of Design, Luke Woods, told TechCrunch. “We all get better results when designers come together with unique perspectives.”
“A short side of diversity and inclusion is thinking that there’s an endpoint. There’s no endpoint. It should be woven into the fabric of a company and constantly cultivated and enforced and acknowledged.” Wonderful words from @augustdlr! pic.twitter.com/APx1aqBVIB
— Inneract Project (@InneractProject) November 15, 2017
Photo: The Center for Innovative Justice and Technology.