2–5 February 2021


Long Paper

Holding it open: Building capacity for self-determined collaborative service design


Presenting Author(s): Shana Agid, Kerry MacNeil, Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, Ayesha Hoda, John Kefalas, Dilenia Santos, Randy Martinez
04 February 2021

Please be aware that multiple presentations will take place during this session commencing at 10:30AM AEDT and share the same zoom link. Check how presentations are clustered in the program spreadsheet when adding the calendar.

Despite welcome explorations of difference in Service Design approaches in recent scholarship, the prevailing notion that the field is measured by tools, methods, and outcomes limits how SD might contribute to open-ended practices of self-determined design and capacity-making in socially and politically-grounded contexts. We draw on a two-year service design collaboration among three learning-communities with differently situated students to suggest means for “holding open” collaborative work in process as a way to both create space for collectivity and to grapple with difference, tension, and emergent conditions. This framework is a proposition for self-determined service design, rooted in the complex contexts of collaborators’ experiences and self-articulated desires. We argue for extending SD practitioners’ and researchers’ understandings of uncertainty (Alexander, 2006) and the unknown (Akama, Pink & Sumartojo, 2018) to consider these as approaches for engaging in plurality and emergence, rather than seeing them as conditions requiring mitigation to reach a specific end-goal.

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Shana Agid
Shana Agid
Parsons School of Design

Shana Agid is an artist/writer, designer, teacher, and scholar-activist whose work focuses on relationships of power and difference in visual, social, and political cultures. Her collaborative design practice focuses on exploring possibilities for self-determined services and systems through teaching and design research. His writing on design, politics, and pedagogy has been published in journals including Design Studies and Design and Culture and in edited books focusing on practice-led research and design ethics. She is an Associate Professor of Arts, Media, and Communication at Parsons School of Design in New York, US and holds an MFA in Printmaking and Book Arts and MA in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts (CCA) and a Ph.D. in Design from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).

Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani
Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani
Buscada, The New School, US

Dr.Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani is an urbanist, curator, and artist practicing new modes of public arts, design, and urban research for community engagement, and is author of Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York's Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (University of Iowa Press, 2019). She is principal of the design and research studio Buscada and teaches urban studies and public art at the New School. She was postdoctoral fellow in visual culture at the International Center of Photography and holds a PhD in environmental psychology from the Graduate Center, CUNY. She regularly consults with arts and culture organizations on community and art engagements and strategic visioning. Her creative practice has been shown at institutions including MIT, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Center for Architecture, Artists Alliance/Cuchifritos Gallery & Project Space, the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, and Tate Britain. Her work on cities, culture, and photography has appeared in journals, including Visual Studies, Urban Omnibus, Space and Culture, Society & Space, and Buildings & Landscapes.

Ayesha Hoda
Ayesha Hoda
Adult Learning Center, Lehman College, City University of New York, US

Ayesha Hoda is a former NYC public middle school math teacher, youth leadership coordinator at SAYA (South Asian Youth Action), and GED (now TASC) teacher/program coordinator for formerly incarcerated youth at the Fortune Society. She has her Bachelors of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Wesleyan University and her Master of Science in Education from Lehman College through the NYC Teach for America program. Ayesha has taught Specialized High School SHSAT prep courses with the test-prep company Antoine Education, and has extensive experience with after school tutoring in Math and English at the middle school level. Ms. Hoda co-founded Justice by the Pen in 2011 and has trained facilitators and run Justice by the Pen youth workshops at various schools, community centers and non-profits over the past four years.

Kerry MacNeil
Kerry MacNeil
Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School

Kerry MacNeil lives and works in northern Manhattan, where she is a founding teacher leader of the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, (WHEELS) a regular district, non-charter, PK-12 school where no one sits for a standardized exam, sings a song, interviews, or writes an essay for admission. She is currently teaching English 9.
She received a B.A. in English and Medieval-Renaissance Studies from Wellesley College and a M.A. in Gender Studies and Feminist Theory from the Graduate Faculty at the New School for Social Research. She is a Teach for America alumna.
Her writing has been published, most recently, in ​The Teachers College Review;​ ​Beyond Survival: How to Thrive in Middle and High School for Beginning and Improving Teachers​; ​This Assignment is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching​; ​The Still Blue Project: Writing with Working Class Queers in Mind​; and in ​Closet Cases: Queers on What We Wear​.
She has taught twenty six years, all of them, until remote learning, in the same building.