Design Futures Forum Local Panel

July 19, 2020
1:30-3p Central
Livestream on YouTube

Event to be livestreamed on YouTube from 1:30-3p Central July 19 through this link>>

As part of the Design Futures Student Leadership Forum, five local St. Louis leaders will be in conversation about design in action, on the ground, and in practice. They will share their personal journeys but also contextualize the importance of their work in St. Louis—post-Ferguson, COVID-19, and beyond. The event is free and open to the public.

Stefani Weeden-Smith, Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, Washington University

Julia N. Allen, 4theVille
Antionette Carroll, Creative Reaction Lab
Penina Acayo Laker, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University
Melisa Sanders, BlackArc

The Design Futures Student Leadership Forum (DFF) is a leadership development initiative that builds capacity for future leaders to apply the power of community-engaged design to address systemic racism in the built environment. As an anti-racist and interdisciplinary learning space, DFF trains design leaders to think critically about power and privilege and redefines design as a tool for racial justice and equity with and in marginalized communities.

The 2020 Forum is presented with support from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Enterprise Community Partners.

Additional public events include the Design Futures Forum Keynote Lecture by De Nichols, which will be livestreamed at 4p Central July 18.

Participant Bios

Stefani Weeden-Smith is the assistant director for community engagement at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement. She is involved in developing and sustaining community partnerships throughout Washington University. She leads the strategy and vision to enhance the University's effectiveness and reputation based on community engagement models that are responsive, sensitive, sustainable, and responsible. Weeden-Smith has been at the University since August 2016 and began her relationship with the Gephardt Institute as an active community partner on several projects in 2012. A St. Louis native, she grew up in Ferguson and now lives in Tower Grove East, and loves to get to know her neighbors by sharing a meal at the various South Grand restaurants.

Julia N. Allen is a 2010 graduate of the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. She is the recipient of the 2018 Eddie Mae Binion Southside Welfare Rights Organization Humanitarian Award. Most recently, she graduated from the 2019-2020 cohort of the Neighborhood Leadership Program. She has been an advocate for the underserved and underrepresented in her community for many years. In 2018, Allen, Thomasina Clarke, and Aaron Williams founded 4theVille, a community-based tourism and arts organization, in an effort to bring attention to the historic significance of preserving the cultural history of the Ville Neighborhood, a historic African American community.

Antionette Carroll is the founder, president, and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab. Within this role, she has pioneered Equity-Centered Community Design (a Fast Company World Changing Idea Finalist). Carroll has received several recognitions and awards, including being named an ADL and Aspen Institute Civil Society Fellow, Roddenberry Fellow, Echoing Green Global Fellow, and TED Fellow.

Penina Acayo Laker is a graphic designer, researcher, and assistant professor of communication design in the Sam Fox School at Washington University. Her research and creative practice explore how human-centered design research methodologies can catalyze constructive solutions in response to complex social challenges facing communities in St. Louis and Uganda.

Melisa Sanders is a St. Louis designer who in 2019 founded BlackArc, a multi-scalar design collaborative focusing on racial, economic, and social equity as a catalyst for community design. Her practice centers on using experiences with discrimination/bias in the field of architecture to un-design systems of inequity within the built environment. Sanders earned her MArch and MUD degrees from the Sam Fox School in 2015.