The Design Lecture Series for Spring 2021 Starts February 15th


Each year, Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design hosts our annual Design Lecture Series. The Design Lecture Series brings transdisciplinary thinkers and practitioners from around the world to campus, believing that the power of design addresses some of today's most pressing challenges. Our speakers come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines including design, business, the nonprofit sector, education, science, and more.

This year, when faced with the challenge of putting together a lecture series that would be held completely virtually, the School of Design assembled a programming committee, featuring both faculty and students. Associate Professor Molly Wright Steenson, Assistant Teaching Professor Brett Yasko, and Senior Administrative Assistant to the Head Darlene Scalese were joined by senior Jaclyn Saik (BDes ’21), Master’s Student Diana Chun (MDes ’21) and PhD Researcher Margaret Urban

“Student input is crucial because even though Molly and I have a potential speaker list a mile long, it might not overlap with who the students are interested in,” said Yasko. “And they’re the main audience for this. We’re lucky to have Jaclyn, Diana and Megan and appreciate the work they’ve done in talking with their fellow classmates and putting together a super-interesting list of possibilities.”

The Lecture Series kicks off with “A World Where Many World’s Fit,” a lecture form Design Alumnus Dr. Dimeji Onafuwa, on February 15th. The lecture will be held via Zoom and attendees that can’t attend via Zoom will have the opportunity to watch over Facebook Live on the School of Design’s Facebook Page.

The rest of the Design Lecture series, which continues to evolve as we add more speakers for the semester, will feature a variety of disciplines, designers at various points in their careers and even some more of our alumni.

"We had discussions about bringing speakers who have diverse backgrounds not only in terms of design discipline but also cultural, racial, and generationally diverse group of speakers," said Chun.

The current schedule features:

  • 02/15/21 - Dr. Dimeji Onafuwa - A World Where Many Worlds Fit - Exploring Pluriversal Design Pracitice - 12pm EST 
  • 03/08/21 - Deroy Peraza - 12pm EST
  • 03/15/21 - Waqas Jawaid & Andy Chen - Spaces of Belonging - 12pm EST
  • 03/29/21 - Jeffrey Mansfield - 4:45pm EST
  • 04/14/21 - Arianne Miller - 4:30pm EST
  • 04/19/21 - Deborah Lee - Now What? - 12pm EST
  • 04/26/21 - James Todd

All of these lectures will be held via Zoom unless otherwise noted. Keep an eye on the Design Lecture Series page as more details about our speakers come in.

“The opportunity to hear from practicing designers and design thinkers is an important part of any design education,” said Yasko. “It was really important to not have this be cancelled or put on hold like so many other things have been because of the pandemic.”

"More than ever, I realized the importance of community and the act of knowledge sharing," added Chun. "Before last year, knowledge sharing happened through casual conversation in the hallway, overhearing a lecture, or sticky notes on the whiteboard. Now, we need to be more intentional about all the interactions we have with one another.

"Creating a 'virtual space' to listen to industry leaders and show up as a community felt like something the School of Design had to continue."

More info about the Design Lecture Series >>

Date Published: 
Friday, February 12, 2021
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