One final reflection.

Looking back on this summer: How our project unfolded alongside New Haven.

Reflections from Intern Group 1: Moving Beyond Design Brigade

This past Monday, we met with Devin Avshalom-Smith and representatives from the Department of Cultural Affairs. We discussed how Devin and Adriane can work together on next steps for this project, including forming an advisory committee of community members. We sincerely hope that through this committee and the resulting partnerships, the relationships and outreach that began this summer will continue throughout the lifespan of this memorial project.

We’ve been through many ups and downs in these past ten weeks — at times invigorated by the flow of conversations and ideas, but at times feeling honestly despirited by our limitations. We…


Preparing to pass this project on to the City.

A screenshot from our presentation to Mayor Elicker.

Meeting with Mayor Elicker

To realise this project, it is key to have support from the Mayor’s office. And so, we met with Mayor Elicker to discuss our work so far last Thursday. We presented our findings from the conversations we had with residents of New Haven, and emphasized that all preliminary ideas were directly born from what we had heard and learnt. Afterwards, we had a brief discussion and he posed some questions and concerns for us to address, emphasizing the importance of a more immediate response to the pandemic. He was very encouraging of our process and ideas, and approving of our…


Longevity.

Preparing our Presentation Materials

This week we are preparing for a discussion with the Mayor about the memorial project. For this to become a reality, it is essential to have his support and feedback. In preparation for this meeting we have been working on clarifying our ideas and flushing out diagrams and drawings to explain these ideas.

Working on a presentation as a group is not without challenges. Our group has been using Google Slides to collaboratively assemble a presentation, both asynchronously and together while discussing on Zoom. …


Reflections on diversity and our path forward.

Last Wednesday, we met with several New Haven community leaders and City of New Haven officials to present our ideas about possible memorials. We identified the 4 key possible directions (discussed in Week 6) of what a memorial for COVID-19 might look like. This week’s Medium reflection is our way of making sense of their discussion and feedback.

Thoughts on Relationship Building and Diversity-

People’s relationship to racial issues is complex and personal, because racial background is a factor that each individual is born with and is un-malleable to one’s will. During the discussion, we were not surprised to notice the community representatives’ apprehension towards the…


Framing our designs.

This week our team prepared for the meeting we are hosting on Wednesday, July 15 with city officials and community leaders. We have been finalizing materials for our preliminary design ideas and strategizing how to communicate these ideas in a manner that will set the stage for discussion and collaboration. In addition, this week we welcomed two new team members, Abraham and Zishi, who are both M.Arch students at YSOA. We are very excited to have them on the team!

In onboarding our new members, we took a moment to reflect upon and communicate the core tenets of our team’s…


A pivot towards design.

After over a month of focusing on outreach, we have turned our attention towards design in advance of our next client meeting. We’re hopeful that in presenting concrete design solutions, we are able to gather substantive feedback from the city, community leaders, and residents on which ideas work and which do not. This being said, we are still working on expanding our grassroots engagement via the dissemination of surveys and continued community outreach. All in all, the processes of design and engagement should be done in parallel.

This week’s Medium piece will be a reflection on the ideas and precedents…


Midpoint Updates

Meeting with the City

On Wednesday, we had our midpoint client check-in with the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs. The meeting provided us with feedback and momentum to continue pushing this project forward.

In the meeting, we presented [slides here] a summary of our work so far. We delineated how we went from our original design challenge (Design a memorial, digital + physical, to commemorate the impact of Covid-19 on New Haven) to our redefined challenge (How can we design a space centered on social justice for those affected by Covid-19 in New Haven?)


How do we redefine our role? How does this recontextualize “memorial”?

We were originally tasked to use design to memorialize those lost to the pandemic and our collective memory of this crisis. As we delved into research in the past weeks, we recognized that in order to serve New Haven, we must dissolve all assumptions attached to the project, including those within the original brief.

This week, our work consisted of: (1) Talking to and learning from leaders in the New Haven community and (2) Planning and organizing a visual survey for the Juneteenth ‘Teach In’ in East Rock Park. …


Defining “Memorial” and What It Means for the City of New Haven.

A question that has guided our design and research process is ‘how do we define a memorial, especially one that is at a cross-section of ongoing issues?’ One of our mentors told us this week to embrace the approach of “curating, not designing.” Rather than designing exactly what this memorial will be, we can create a framework for engagement that can change as the situation unfolds and the needs and experiences of the community develop.

‘What is memorial’, a mind map.

Conceptual References

We began Week 2 by gathering inspirational projects, concepts, and precedents [see here]. We broke precedents down into three genres of memorials: digital, physical and…


How can we design a memorial that reflects on injustice?

A project co-sponsored by the Yale Center for Collaborative Arts and Media and Atelier Cho Thompson.

Hello, we are a team of Yale College and Graduate students working in partnership with the City of New Haven. Our project began as a digital and physical memorial for the city’s experience with coronavirus and is transforming — along with the changing political climate of the nation — into something that directly confronts and addresses the injustice faced by the black and brown communities of New Haven.

“Memorial” may not be the right word for what we are trying to accomplish, but whatever…

‘On Memory’ — A Design Brigade Team

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