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The theme, Rethinking Essential Work Post-Pandemic, explores how social systems have been designed to inevitably cause the disproportionate impact on under-invested and exploited populations as beneficiaries and employees of essential work. During the conference, we discuss how design is integrated within transportation, healthcare, and food & agriculture. Responses are not required to be in these areas unless otherwise stated.

These scholarships aim to support Illinois students dedicated to making impact, and compensate those reflecting on how they want to affect change after Social Hack. 

These prompts are intended to get you thinking about ways to apply human-centered design to your community and potential steps of action–and understand the interdisciplinary nature of this work. This opportunity is supported by the Fiddler Endowment, which seeks to drive interdisciplinary discovery for 21st century education, culture, and industry. We’d like to thank Jerry Fiddler and Melissa Alden for their generous support for teaching and research. Jerry Fiddler is an alum of the University of Illinois. He and his wife Melissa Alden reside in Berkeley, California.

Essay submissions are welcome before the event and up to a week and a half after the event. Final day to submit is Wed, April 21st at 11:59pm CST. Be creative and critical! They will be judged by a panel consisting of representatives from DFA, the Technology & Management minor in the Gies College of Business, College of Fine & Applied Arts, and the Fiddler Endowment. Applicants must be students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Introductory resources about human-centered design, its theory, and criticisms are provided for anyone new to the design thinking space. 

Google Doc with all the same information typed out if it’s easier to read for you.

Long Essay

We are distributing three $500 scholarships for these longer essay prompts. 500 words max.

Secret Designer Award

Consider your career as a maker, creator, and innovator. Reflect on how you define design and how you draw insight from interdisciplinary fields and perspectives. How is design used in your life already, and how does it incorporate human-centered practices?

This is for people who consider themselves to use design in their innovation work, but that is not a primary title. Or, you are newly reframing how you’ve been using design in the work you have already done as a creator.

Use some of these questions and an article to get you started. You do not need to directly respond to these questions. Who defines technology and how is it defined? How does empathy play a role in your work? What intention do you put into your work, and how does that influence impact? How is design an alternative way of thinking? What other ways of thinking are relevant?
Inspiration for the name “secret designer” comes from: Adrienne Maree Brown on Creating the Future by Deem

Designing Your Passion Award

Consider your passion area and their current problem solving methods. What challenges do you want to tackle and what does that mean for people you want to help? How can you use design to improve outcomes in that area? 

This is for people who are developing passions beyond their title of work/major. You want to add to or transform a system and daydream of different points of entry to take action.

Think of the following questions to help you draft your proposal. You do not need to directly respond to these questions. What opportunities do you want to create? What is your theory of change, methodologies, or theories behind the work you’re passionate about? What is the intended impact on your target and stakeholders? What are the different interdisciplinary fields involved? What will be the challenges and opportunities? What systems will you want to engage with? Helpful TedEx talk based on book Designing Your Life with Bill Burnett

Community Designer Award

Consider the challenges most prevalent in your community. Describe one of relevance to fields of essential work, or a long-standing issue highlighted by the pandemic. How can the co-creation frameworks be leveraged to tackle them sustainably?

This is for people who are dedicated to community building and restorative justice. You can also use this to reflect on the communities you identify with and how they sit within intersectional oppression and privilege. 

Think of the following questions to help you draft your proposal. You do not need to directly respond to these questions. What inter-generational knowledge and practices can be applied? What does an ideal future feel, look, and grow like? In 5 years versus 50 years? How can you meet people where they’re at? How is power derived and how can it be shared? Case study of Teen-Led Program Design by Agncy with slides (or watch a video of the jury discussing the project here).

Short Reflection

We are distributing five $100 scholarships for short reflections by attendees of our workshops, max 300 words. Workshop attendance, to one or both, is mandatory for reflection essays to qualify for this award.

What were the problems discussed? Describe how they have interacted with your life through the pandemic. What did you learn? How will you apply what you learned? Be specific in what you’ll do to create the new normal.

Let’s build something great together.

Start outlining! Deadline is Wed, April 21st.

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