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Deem Symposium | Designing for Dignity 02: A Convening of Possibilities

Courtesy of Deem

About the program


This is a paid ticketed event.

Program Location

Museum of Contemporary Art, Edlis Neeson Theater, 220 E Chicago Ave

Deem Journal

This spring, Deem presents its second live symposium: Designing for Dignity 02: A Convening of Possibilities.
In continuation with last year’s inaugural gathering, this hybrid in-person/online event will be co-hosted by the MCA Chicago on May 17, 18, and 19, 2024.

Deem will expand on the guiding premise of dignity as the intrinsic lens for liberatory design practices with two days of presentations and conversations, as well as interactive workshops and on-site experiences happening both at the museum and throughout the city of Chicago. This year’s program will bring together innovative and acclaimed artists, designers, scholars, and organizers to reflect on a range of design-related topics, disciplines, methodologies, and agendas.

Deem will again organize a three-day Reference Room to provide a public gathering space in which anyone can encounter and experience reading materials that have inspired our five print issues. Literature in the form of books, articles, and essays will reflect thoughtlines in our research, specific mentions from our pages, and recommendations from our contributors. We hope to create context and access to educational tools around Deem’s processes and beliefs, as well as a haven for reflection and repose. The Reference Room will be located at the MCA and open to any visitor from 10AM to 6PM on May 17–19.

Tricia Hersey
—the visionary founder of The Nap Ministry, an organization that uplifts rest as a form of resistance—will share an immersive daydreaming activation while exploring the power of designing rest as a practice of love, liberation, and community care.

Writer, entrepreneur, and philanthropic innovator Rachel Cargle, multidisciplinary artist, curator, and educator Andrea Yarbrough, and multidisciplinary artist and author Jezz Chung, with moderation from curator and arts administrator Marguerite Wynter, will speak on designing for and through healing, and the vital modalities of restoration and transformation.

Expansive Practice Presentation
How can video games inspire positive change in a world facing uncertain futures? Creative technologist, artist, and educator Ami Mehta will explore how game design, storytelling, and social impact can intersect to address issues across representation, climate change, cultural preservation, and community collaboration.

Expansive Practice Presentation
Independent curator, gallerist, and space-shifter Ciera Alyse McKissick will share how she has built platforms, connections, and partnerships that center the needs of artists and communities. Expanding on the intersections of interdisciplinary art practices, journalism, and public engagement, she will illustrate how her various projects have helped shape the ways that audiences interact with, view, and experience art in unconventional ways.

Frankie Knuckles Foundation Founder, President, and Executive Director Frederick Dunson, DJ, producer, remixer, and music publisher DJ Lady D, and designer and curator Joseph Henry, with moderation from Deem cofounder and creative director Nu Goteh, will examine the dynamic relationship between sound and spatial practices, with particular attention to Chicago’s music culture history.

In her talk, “Decolonizing Design: Designing for Liberatory Joy,” Dr. Dori Tunstall will close the day by addressing two aspects of decolonizing design: putting Indigenous first and dismantling the racist bias in the European modernist project in design.


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Deem Journal


Deem is a biannual print journal and online platform focused on design as social practice. We explore human-centric design frameworks independent of exclusive institutions and industry categories.

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