Design Justice

Our initiatives fall under three categories which we've outlines below. We encourage employees and students to get involved with our work by participating in events and engaging with resources. To stay up to date on events, resources, and announcements from Design Justice, sign up to our newsletter.

Anti-Racist Culture Shifts

Design Justice initiatives center anti-racism, racial and social justice, equity, environmental justice, disability justice, and/or other forms of justice that work toward studying and countering systemic oppression. We use these foundations as we work to positively shift the culture within the College of Design with the following initiatives below:

Design Justice Fund

This fund supports design justice initiatives within the College of Design such as our Design Justice course offerings as well as affinity space support.

Design Justice Affinity Spaces

We currently host affinity spaces for students and employees who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), Queer, and white allies. These spaces are intentionally crafted to be an outlet and point of connection for the college around issues of identity and intersection. We also host an annual Graduation In Full Color Recognition Event for out BIPOC and Queer students.

Chroma Collective Student Group

The Chroma Collective Student Group hosts monthly events and provide resources for/with students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

Design Justice Cluster Hire

Much like many universities across North America (See OCAD University, University of California Irvine, North Carolina State University, Stanford, Rhode Island School of Design, and University of Michigan), a significant goal of the College of Design is to provide opportunities for hiring a cluster of faculty that reflect a design justice-centered lens in their work. We have begun our cluster hire search, Fall 2021. More information can be found here.

Brave Conversations with the Woke Coach®

Since Spring 2023, we have hosted the Woke Coach® to fun faculty sessions around shared language, identity, and inclusive practice for faculty in the College of Design.

Design Justice Supported Anti-racism Reading Group

Born from the anger and grief sparked by the killing of George Floyd, the Anti-racism Reading Group provides a space for focused conversation around racism and social justice. Hosted by the College of Design Fabrication Shops Director Molly Sanford and Senior Academic Advisor Chris Schlichting, the group meets via Zoom once a month to discuss relevant readings, podcasts, current events, and other forms of media. You can join by reaching out to Molly or Chris to be added to the group email.

Decolonized Pedagogy

We are working to provide time and space to intentionally weave anti-racist concepts and theories as well as the decolonization of design curriculum to provide inclusive learning experiences. We do this through the initiatives outlined below: 


Design Justice Certificate

The Design Justice certificate focuses on addressing structural inequity from social, technological, environmental, economic, and political perspectives in design. The courses below are part of the Design Justice Certificate offering.

DES4401W Racism Untaught

Enroll in this Design Justice Fall Liberal Education and Writing Intensive course to use design research to re-imagine and design with an anti-oppressive lens and for a collective liberatory future. Students (of all majors) are guided through the Racism Untaught framework to assists them in identifying racialized design challenges and critically analyzing artifacts, systems, and experiences that perpetuate racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of oppression through anti-racist and anti-oppressive design approaches.

DES4402 Intersections in Design Justice

This Design Justice Spring course supports a guest designer who will teach a design justice-centered design course with a wide(r) cultural lens including; disability and racism, Black and Indigenous design history, Design As Protest, etc. The Spring 2024 course will be taught by renowned equity designer and social entrepreneur, Antionette Carroll.

DES4403 Wakanda and Black Liberatory Futures

This Learning Abroad and Liberal Education course—also an elective in the Design Justice Certificate program—centers West African cultural practices to explore an international afro-futurist understanding of values, policies, and practices that might support the design, creation, and reimagining of Black futures that promote abolitionist principles and collective liberation. May 2024's course will take place in Senegal.

Pedagogy Audits

We offer pedagogy audits for faculty including deep dives into pedagogical practices and policies in individual course classrooms and project curriculum.

Design Futures Student Leadership Forum

The Design Futures Student Leadership Forum is an annual interdisciplinary leadership development convening that centers principles of racial justice and social equity. Each year, we have the opportunity to bring 5 students on an all expenses covered trip to the forum to foster capacity-building for future leaders to think critically about power, privilege, and positionality in the practice of community-engaged design and to rethink and elevate the role of the designer to address and dismantle systemic oppression in the built environment. Applications open in the Spring.


We define liberation as a collective one, in which all of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs are met. We support this vision with the following initiatives that support an inclusive design industry and a community with radical empathy and joy: 

Annual Juneteenth Event

Juneteenth is organized by the Director of Design Jusitce, Terresa Moses. It is a unique celebration of abolition, Black freedom, Black joy, Black history, and Black futurity. The event is held annually in June and hosts workshops, research showcase, powerful speakers, musicians, and free food and activities for the Minneapolis/Saint Paul community.

Design Justice Creative Scholars Program

We are currently working to develop a program that supports a pipeline to the design industry that reflects historically underinvested students directly from our communities. Corporate entities will provide mentorship, internships, and courses on our campus within a developed boot camp or certificate program to teach the technical skills of design.

Design Justice Center

We are currently putting together proposals to support the renovation of space that will house Design Justice initiatives.

The Art of Freedom - Juneteenth