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A Post Election Message from the Design Faculty

I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.

—William Morris, “The Decorative Arts” (1877)

Both science and design — forward motors, providers of perspective, guardians of beauty and truth in all of their shades and manifestations — are essential to progress. 

- Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA

 

As a department, we applaud the support that the UC system has committed to undocumented students, people of color, students with disabilities and all those who have been disparaged and made targets of hate as part of this recent election.

 

As the country enters uncertain times, our department remains as committed as ever to the beliefs that make design a powerful force for positive change.

As a department, we stand by our beliefs and we will defend the rights of all our students and colleagues to study, act and live according to these principles:

 

Empathy

Our discipline is rooted in compassion for others and respect for ways of thinking that are different from our own. In our admission policies and hiring we will renew our principles of non-discrimination, and will not be passive in the face of nationalism and supremacism. We are prepared to work and consult with progressive voices in California to develop state and local policies that counteract any turn at the federal level that interferes with these principles. An appreciation of a variety of perspectives is necessary to address the challenges of a globally connected world. We want no part in design that violently separates populations through deepened security apparatuses, registries, destruction of cultural heritage, discrimination, segregation, expropriation, and environmental racism.

 

Exploration

Design requires an ability to accept complexity and understand contexts and situations clearly. We will hold ourselves, and our government, accountable to a standard of truth that will help us make progress for all people. Design requires a curiosity for people, situations, and potentials that we may not understand. We will continue to support our students’ ability to examine a variety of potentials without fear of repercussions from any sources. We will develop policies to help students finish degrees or classes in the case that they are unable to physically be on campus due to harassment or deportation. We will defend our colleagues’ academic freedom to produce and publish research without fear of surveillance or reprisals, and teach ethics, values, reason, and best-available knowledge. We condemn resurgent climate denialism and we hold accountable those media which perpetuate misleading and unscientific information.

 

Courage

Creating any new future, which is central to design, is an act of courage, which is particularly important at moments where dissenting voices are vulnerable. We support the bravery from women, trans populations, underserved communities, and people of color. We stand with our fellow faculty and students facing rising tides of racism and misogyny. Our discipline will remain at the forefront of cultural preservation, openness and diversity, environmental protection, sustainability, spatial politics, social justice, disability access, community organizing, education and health care.

 

Imagination

Design envisions possibilities and translates them into realities. We believe that there are ways to create more sustainable, equitable futures for our planet and all of its citizens. We will continue to operate with this optimism in the face of fear, divisiveness, crass self-interest, misinformation and hate. We will resist and undermine those forces.

 

We will craft new ways forward through our collective creativity.

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