Inspirational Toolkit: Bridge 5

In Integrative Seminar 2: Systems and Strategies, I learned about different research methods and how these methods will aid in my studies for the future. Ethnography allows me to obtain a contextual form of data and encourages me to immerse myself into the topic I am researching. Archives are useful for historical references as well as context. Academic sources are reliable, published readings that help inspire my own research and critical thinking. Within this course of Systems and Strategies, a prominent topic stood out to me and changed my perspective on everything I learned and will learn. The topic of power dynamics arose when the class began to explore archives and omissions within them. At the Center for Jewish History, we learned that taxonomies can be biased through the creation and curation of archives. This was especially enlightening to me and through the lens of systems and strategies, I began to question how systemic fallacies can affect the lives of people. This course also allowed me to be aware of my own privilege, to help understand my role in my research and understand my involvement in various systems. Everything is interconnected and it is the role of the researcher to explore the relationships that exist.

I chose to focus my final paper on social infrastructure and later, social capital, as a result of reading and watching Eric Klinenberg speak of the topic. The notion of human codependency interests me because of the state of politics in today’s society, especially in the United States. Communities will become more resilient if members work together and share trust. In a society so divided, it is important to research ways to better the community and our individual selves. My final research paper on Red Hook’s resiliency after Hurricane Sandy because I was inspired by my own community on Long Island and my own personal experience after the storm.

Since January, my research approaches have become more holistic. I try to get information from a variety of sources to have a better understanding of my research topic, as in my final. Different perspectives help create context to a situation. Diversity aids in democracy because of the opinions and inputs from various people and sources. The main themes in my inspirational toolkit revolve around the topics of power dynamics, power imbalances, omissions, and exploring bias and privilege. These topics are some I would like to study further about in my academic career and are the parts of my toolkit I would like to share with others. I believe it’s important for everyone, especially in college and in The New School, to be aware of their own privileges. The role of a designer is to listen to the community they are serving. A designer should not be entirely focused on looking for solutions, rather, finding a response to the world and its environment.  I am interested in the racial and socioeconomic inequalities that exist within the systems and institutions we are involved in. This class opened up a dialogue about becoming aware of inequalities and their effects on the marginalized.

Below, I have created a map for my Integrative Seminar 2: Systems and Strategies Inspirational Toolkit:

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