On March 18, 2020, a traveling exhibition will open at the Gallery of Design at Arizona State University that shows how the civil rights, women’s and LGBTQ movements impacted every facet of US society, including architecture and design. "Now What?! Advocacy, Activism & Alliances in American Architecture since 1968," on view in Tempe through April 13, 2020, links the Arizona design community to the larger social and political movements of the late 20th century in the United States. The exhibition foregrounds design practice while engaging viewers in critical conversations around history, progress, and the built environment through participatory design.
"People who choose design as their profession often have a calling towards social justice, commitment to diversity, and reform in the profession. Until now there hasn’t been a comprehensive study of these progressive movements."
-Lori Brown, ArchiteXX Co-founder and Co-curator
"Now What?!" highlights a diverse array of efforts by organizations and professionals to change the face of architecture and design in the US. “People who choose design as their profession often have a calling towards social justice, commitment to diversity and reform in the profession. Until now there hasn’t been a comprehensive study of these progressive movements,” says co-curator and ArchiteXX co-founder Lori Brown. “It’s important to commemorate this exciting half-century of advocacy and let contemporary viewers who are interested in modern issues of cities and design learn the oft-forgotten narratives of activist designers.”
In recent years, there has been a wave of initiatives and advocacy that draw attention to critical issues of diversity and representation in the design field and offer examples of designers using their skill sets to engage advocacy and activism. "Now What?!" projects forward as much as it looks to the past. The exhibition provides an intersectional and interdisciplinary look at diversity and activism in the design professions since 1968 while crafting a space for public debate and dialogue in the gallery and continued learning in the online archive.
The show and programming at The Design School at Arizona State University will be open to the public as a space to highlight, discuss, debate, and reflect on how groups of designers and architects have tried with both success and failure to make positive, progressive change. Now What?! will travel through 2020, gathering local histories in the different cities it visits.