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What do texting, hanging out, breaking bread, and laughter have in common? They are all practices central to Tara Conley‘s thoughtful and pathbreaking work in embracing a participatory design approach to the critical engagement of youth in the creation of a digital artifact that is meant to support their wellbeing. This is participatory prototyping at its best. (Wanna know more? Check out Tara’s talk — details below.)
Tara, a doctoral candidate at Teachers College and founder of Media Make Change (and YMEJ project team member), kicked off this year’s Racial Literacy Roundtable (RLR) Series (founded by Prof. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz)– this year’s focus: The Year of the Youth — on Monday night with an interactive and highly participatory presentation in which she explored for the audience the affordances and challenges of pursuing this form of action-oriented research.
Central to Tara’s mission is finding innovative ways to leverage everyday media and technology resources to create opportunities to interrupt and transform geographies of dislocation, particularly among young people who experience social and institutional marginalization on a regular basis. (Multiple forms of dislocation are especially evident in the lives of court-involved youth with whom she and we work on a regular basis.) She pursues this goal — what she called her life’s work — not only seeking out young people’s input, but by co-constructing the research and design contexts, direction, and intention with them (not a seamless, but definitely worthwhile undertaking).
Watch an excerpt and read more about Tara’s talk — “Possibilities of Designing with and for Underrepresented Communities: A Conversation about Participation, Court-involved Youth, and Humility” — in which she provides an overview of her socially engaged social action project, TxtConnect. You’ll also find a link to her slides, which are chock full of useful and important information.
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