Follow up with Lauren Williams, Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient

Lauren Williams_Headshot

We followed up with our Fall 2017 Microgrant Recipient, Lauren Williams.

Funding from the ARAD Microgrant supported Lauren’s participation in the American Institute of Graphic Art’s AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Describe the opportunity you participated in and how it aligns with your career aspirations.

On October 13-14, 2017 I had the opportunity to attend the American Institute of Graphic Art’s AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During the conference I attended general sessions along with 2,000 fellow designers and symposia with enlightening guest speakers. This year’s theme was Connect and according to Tina Essmake, 2017 Conference Chair, this theme was chosen because “we’re all in search of meaningful connections to the work we do—and ultimately, to each other.”

The conference allowed me to create new connections and expand my professional network, which provides access to future opportunities within the design industry. The speakers also helped me to create meaningful connections between ideas and projects they were presenting to ideas that I plan on pursuing in the realm of social design and the arts in the future.

I attended symposia including Type in the City and Design for Business Impact. In addition to symposia I also gained inspiration from speakers including:

Rhea Combs, Museum curator, photography and film, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

Joe Gebbia, Chief product officer and cofounder, Airbnb

Ian Spalter, Head of design, Instagram

Elise Roy, Inclusive design strategist, Elise Roy & Associates

Annie Atkins, Graphic designer for film


What were the most important takeaways from your experience?

Each year the conference touches upon inclusive design. I found the talk given by Elise Roy, Inclusive Design Strategist at Elise Roy & Associates, most intriguing. Roy discussed how designing for extreme users, like people with disabilities, benefits us all. A major takeaway from her talk is that we can’t continue to make design for people with disabilities an afterthought or an element that is incorporated in phase 2.0 or 3.0. It has to influence the original design. As arts administrators and designers we must commit to universal design strategies.


How has the microgrant helped to enrich you professionally? 

The connections made via the microgrant such as networking opportunities, increased awareness of resources, and links to new ideas from speakers have enriched me professionally. I believe that in order to effectively grow it is important to remain involved in the communities in which I am interested in operating in. The micogrant supported me by providing access to a space of like-minded individuals who are tackling innovative projects and concepts that have an impact on society. It also allowed me to enter into a space that emphasized the importance of responsible design, not only supporting my professional development, but also those within communities that interact with my work.



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