Block Party
Saturday, September 12 - Sunday September 13, 10am - 6pm
Occidental Park, 300 Occidental Ave S. 98104

PARK(ing) Day
Friday, September 18, 10am - 7pm

Saturday, September 19, 930am - 6pm
Seattle Central Public Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Partner Programs

Closing Party
Friday, September 25
Surface Theory, 536 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104 

Seattle Design Festival events are free and require no RSVP unless otherwise noted. 

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#SDF2015 Conference [clear filter]
Saturday, September 19

9:25am PDT


Saturday, September 19
9:30am - 6pm
Seattle Central Public Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
See the full Conference schedule here

The day-long Conference during the Seattle Design Festival is an opportunity to examine in-depth the theme of Design for Equity. Located at the Seattle Central Public Library, the conference includes workshops, panels, films, lectures, and installations. Participants can engage professional and community experts on issues such as equitable urban planning, designers' role in youth incarceration, design for social movements, and gender equality in product design. The conference will be a high-level conversation among community stakeholders where children and families are welcome and you are welcome to explore all the offerings of the Central Library in between scheduled sessions.

The Library is ADA accessible.  The Seattle Public Library supports gender-self determination when selecting your choice of restroom, but restrooms are gendered. A family restroom is available to people who are accompanying children. While the Library itself is not scent-free, we ask participants to come fragrance-free.


Program Partners
avatar for Design In Public

Design In Public

Design in Public
VISION: Design in Public believes in a future Seattle—recognized as a world design capital—where citizens, designers and leaders work together to create their shared best city. MISSION: Design in Public celebrates all the ways that design makes life better for Seattle. We nurture... Read More →

Saturday September 19, 2015 9:25am - 6:00pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

9:30am PDT

Conference - Welcome Session
Saturday September 19, 2015 9:30am - 10:30am PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

9:30am PDT

EXHIBIT - Go: Gender Open Restrooms

What are Gender Open restrooms? Come engage and take action to create more space for us all. 

Design for a Trans* Inclusive Seattle will be converting some traditional men’s and women’s restrooms into Gender Open restrooms during specific events throughout the festival. Our goal is to promote the awareness of a critical opportunity facing people, specifically those in the design community, to create more space for people who identify outside of the traditional gender binary by actively promoting Gender Open restrooms in public and private spaces. 

Please use a facility throughout the event to learn more about this important issue and to participate in helping us select a Gender Open restroom plaque which can be used by businesses to help create space and awareness for Gender Open restrooms. 

Program Partners

Design for a Trans* Inclusive Seattle

Contact: Kate Powell with Caitlin Esworthy and Michel DeBauge

Saturday September 19, 2015 9:30am - 6:00pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

9:30am PDT

EXHIBIT - The Sandbox of Life

My Interactive Art Installation, "The Sandbox of Life" is a foundation for the exploration of complex systems, digital life, and human/computer interactions. It is a Sensebellum original art installation created in 2012 in Maui. We live in a time of complex systems and rich amounts of data. The Sandbox synthesizes this knowledge into one easy to use platform for exploring worlds.

Using custom engineered layers of software, 3D printed hardware, cameras, projectors, wood, and metal the Sandbox can simulate anything from islands and animals, fluid dynamics, bacteria, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, and many more modes - truly an ecosystem simulator. The combination of computer vision and augmented reality combine to make a seriously surreal experience that is at one time digital and yet completely natural.

To create and change the world all you need are your hands, imagination, a little time, and some friends don't hurt either! Without a cumbersome interface one can explore these digital worlds in intuitive ways that feel natural and react in real time.

This will be displayed in the Central Library on Saturday, September 19th, from 9:30am - 6:00pm.

For more information head to: www.sensebellum.com/The-Sandbox-of-Life 

Program Partners
avatar for Sensebellum


Founder & Principal, Sensebellum
I am interested in the intersection of technology and art. I can appreciate the many ways the senses perceive the physical space and facilitate the interactions within. How they can be combined into new forms of interaction, communication, learning and entertainment. I look to capture... Read More →

Saturday September 19, 2015 9:30am - 6:00pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

10:45am PDT

DISCUSSION - Designing Collaboratively
Participate in a discussion about collaboratively designing with end users. Hear about specific methods within the fields of architecture and business strategy. Learn about collaboration with animals and flexible design that can adapt to changing end users. Find out what is happening in the Seattle community in relation to volunteerism and design. And...More!

Saturday September 19, 2015 10:45am - 11:45am PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

10:45am PDT

LECTURE - Do Better Architecture
Holst Architecture believes that exceptional architecture is for everyone, and should not just be reserved for a select few. Everyone interacts with architecture, and everyone deserves to experience beautiful, uplifting spaces. As a firm, we have seen firsthand the benefits that design can have on the lives of others.

This presentation will illustrate how thoughtful design can truly impact vulnerable populations in meaningful ways, from at-risk youth to families in recovery to citizens experiencing homelessness. We want to inspire other designers to provide high-quality design to public and nonprofit projects, meeting the schedule and budget while refusing to compromise beauty. Additionally, we will demonstrate the importance of designing public and nonprofit projects with sustainability, durability, and the health and safety of residents at the forefront.

Program Partners
avatar for Holst Architecture

Holst Architecture

Holst Architecture
Our firm's social equity motto is: Good design is for everyone, not just the select few. Great design and architecture have been proven to enhance the quality of life, dignity, health, and safety for our most vulnerable populations. Let's talk about how we can all elevate design for... Read More →

Saturday September 19, 2015 10:45am - 11:45am PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

10:45am PDT

LECTURE - Sustainable Sweden: Successful Urban Regeneration

Rosengard, Malmö, Sweden successfully moved from a period of riots, due to

a disenfranchised immigrant population to actively empowering and engaging

young women in participatory place making. Thirteen young political refugee teenager women

from Iraq and Afghanistan organized and led design workshops, community events working

with Rosengard residents and the City of Malmö Environmental and Parks

Departments. Learning how to accomplish physical change to support positive

sustainable development, the spaces between existing buildings shaped

their proposed projects; a playground, enhanced town center, and community

gardens. These projects in this presentation have been recently built by

the City of Malmö adding to Rosengards social capital. Through dialogue

and community organizing of 6,400 participants, 136 workshops, events

comprised of over 60 % of political refugee women. Their informed wholeisitic

decision-making, through an empowered strong local process, together with

deliverables of strategic physical improvements started the process of building

a sustainable Rosengard. The “pink” large play area and the enhanced town

centers “social square” was completed in September of 2013. With the

leadership and collaborative genius of these young girls Rosengard has now

become the new Eco district in Malmö, Sweden.

Program Partners
avatar for Paul Byron Crane

Paul Byron Crane

landscape architect
Paul Byron Crane, A.S.L.A. B.L.A., M.A., Landscape Architect with over 30 years' experience weaving Whole Systems Design, community engagement and sustainable infrastructure, specializing in wholeisitic analysis and design solutions to complex ecological, terrestrial and cultural... Read More →

Saturday September 19, 2015 10:45am - 11:45am PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

10:45am PDT

WORKSHOP - Designing the Equitable City

Four agencies from the City of Seattle present a workshop on visioning an equitable city.  

Cities are spaces where diverse cultures, experiences, backgrounds, traditions and ways of being converge. They are nests for creative expression and offer pathways for unique and dynamic opportunities. Yet, although diversity is a clear asset to all cities, not all communities reap the same benefits of what a city has to offer. In the wake of recent events that bring into focus racial iniquities and tensions, and with on-going patterns of displacement, lack of affordable safe housing, lack of transportation, food deserts, and lack of green space in communities of color it’s clear that the cities we have created are not designed to serve everyone. The good news is that design is man-made so we all have a part to play in re-designing for cities that uplift people of all races.

The City of Seattle has made a commitment to work towards social equity with an emphasis on racial equity, across all departments. In this workshop you will hear from the City of Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Design Commission, Seattle’s Planning Commission and the Office of Arts and Culture as they share the role that we as designers, urban planners, and artists play in creating a new equitable vision for our cities. There will be a panel of commissioners, design professionals, artists and staff who will share what is happening at a city-wide level to realize the City’s commitment to building a racially equitable Seattle, followed by an interactive brainstorming breakout session where we will all explore our own individual roles in visioning and realizing a more inclusive home that serves all communities. There will be an opportunity to report out on the smaller-group discussions and share what we’ve learned from each other.

Speakers and facilitators will include:

Kirin Bhatti, Seattle Office for Civil Rights;Michael Austin, commissioner, Seattle Planning Commission; Vanessa Murdock, Executive Director, Seattle Planning Commission; Lee Copeland, commissioner, Seattle Design Commission; Ellen Sollod,Vice Chair, Seattle Design Commission; Valerie Kinast, coordinator, Seattle Design Commission; Leilani Lewis, Director of Marketing and Communications, Northwest African American Museum; Lara Davis, Arts Education Manager, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture; Ruri Yampolsky, Public Art Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Assisted by Payton Bordley, Racial Equity Liaison, Seattle Office fo Arts & Culture.


Saturday September 19, 2015 10:45am - 1:00pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

11:45am PDT

Open Conference Track - Session 1
Saturday September 19, 2015 11:45am - 1:00pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

12:00pm PDT

PANEL - Equity In Design Education and Practice

Through a panel discussion we hope to promote open dialogue about what it means practically to consider equity in design. Considering equity is not necessarily a part of traditional training for designers, whereas other professional disciplines—like public policy, social work, public health, and education—have established approaches, frameworks, and scholarship that support practitioners’ reflection on and approaches to issues of power, privilege, and access.  

Panelists will include designers of varied disciplines and professions whose work centers around economic and social equity. The aim here is to have a discussion about the various approaches that do and could exist to support critical engagement with equity in the field of design. Particularly, with the growing interest amongst practitioners in design for good or social impact, we hope to interrogate questions like the following: “What tools do designers have to making unique contributions towards equity? How could we better support this work by providing practitioners with the language and tools to address these issues?”

Noelle Huskins, Associate Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Susan Kemp, Professor in School of Social Work at UW
Kristine Woolery, Senior Design Strategist at Microsoft
Izzie Zahorian, UX Lead at Google Ideas

Program Partners


SARAH FOX, PhD candidate, Human Centered Design and Engineering + CATHERINE LIM, M.Des candidate, Interaction Design

Saturday September 19, 2015 12:00pm - 1:00pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

12:00pm PDT

PANEL - Urban Regeneration & Mixed Income Housing: improving lives or creating divides?

This session, a presentation and panel discussion, focuses on issues around urban regeneration at the local and global scale, in particular in low-income housing. Our panelists challenge some of the implicit assumptions about mixed income housing- not only in design, but in policy decisions.

This is a timely discussion in Seattle as economic pressures are rapidly gentrifying many of our neighborhoods, and displacing many people who currently reside in low-income housing. New housing developments in Seattle must include a certain percentage of affordable housing, but does mixed-income housing help improve the socio-economic status of low-income residents? Our panelists bring a range of perspectives, hailing from all the fields of design, urban planning, social justice, social work, affordable housing, and environmental psychology.

Program Partners
avatar for Architects Without Borders

Architects Without Borders

Architects Without Borders
Architects Without Borders-Seattle volunteers collaborate with underserved communities to design and implement ecologically sensitive, culturally appropriate, life-changing projects.
avatar for Architects Without Borders - Seattle

Architects Without Borders - Seattle

Seattle-based Non-Profit Organization
Architects Without Borders-Seattle volunteers collaborate with underserved communities to design and implement ecologically sensitive, culturally appropriate, life-changing projects. As our name implies, Architects without Borders-Seattle is volunteer-based international coalition... Read More →

Saturday September 19, 2015 12:00pm - 1:00pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

1:30pm PDT

LECTURE - Artefact: Agency, Action and Movement

Today, the field of design is in a renaissance period. While design has been contributing to solving complex issues for many years, in order for it to have an even greater impact, design should focus not only on the product or solution level, but it should transform at the system level, changing culture and therefore, society. In her session, Artefact's Masuma Henry aims to create awareness and share insights about the role of design in driving towards positive social and cultural changes. 

There are three main factors at play when designing for movements that lead to cultural and social change: Deep understanding of how design shapes individual behaviors, enabling a sense of agency and designing for action. Using global case studies as well as examples from Artefact’s portfolio of social impact projects, Henry will outline how design can create transformative experiences with deep social impact. 

Program Partners
avatar for Artefact


Artefact is an award-winning design, technology and innovation studio based in Seattle, WA. We conceive, design and develop products and experiences for the 21st century.
avatar for Emilia Palaveeva

Emilia Palaveeva

CMO, Artefact
Technology, innovation, design, social impact, marketing and communications, chocolate

Saturday September 19, 2015 1:30pm - 2:30pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

1:30pm PDT

WORKSHOP - #HackingGentrification: Imagine Africatown and the Future of the African American Community In Seattle

The story of Africans in America has been one of resilience, creativity, reinvention and accomplishment in the face of tremendous obstacles. This workshop will highlight some of the amazing work being done to harness and build upon this legacy in the face of rapid displacement in the Central District. We will generate ideas for survival in the midst of existing real estate market forces. #HackingGentrification will be a two-way, generative conversation and work session - so bring your notepads, tablets and thinking caps!

Program Partners

K. Wyking Garrett

Strategist, Africatown-Central District Preservation & Development Association
A social entrepreneur and change agent, K. Wyking Garrett is the founding director of Umoja PEACE Center, catalyst for Africatown Seattle community development initative and a co-organizer of Hack The CD. As a recognized change agent, Wyking was the recipient of the 2014 Center for... Read More →

Saturday September 19, 2015 1:30pm - 2:45pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

1:30pm PDT

WORKSHOP - Design and Gender: Color Theory in Toy Design
Gender segregation by color runs rampant in toy stores. Many of us have been raised in pink and blue culture, swaddled in either one shade or the other as infants, given heteronormative toys to play with, and surrounded by built environments visually coded with the gender norms given by our cultural history. In this fun workshop, you will take the role of the designer, playing with color to change the tone and messages of packaging, and then developing a toy for children of all genders. A short introductory lecture will provide the history and social backgrounds behind pink and blue culture, and we will approach current toy design and packaging with a critical eye. Come explore how gender norms and roles are supported and enforced through color and toy design during the Seattle Design Festival Conference.

Program Partners
avatar for Kristina Adams

Kristina Adams

Kristina is a service designer with a visual design background. She specializes in gender and design, and spent her MA at Goldsmiths, University of London, exploring the affects color and toy design have on children's gender norms and social expectations. She has exhibited her work... Read More →

Saturday September 19, 2015 1:30pm - 3:30pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

1:30pm PDT

Open Conference Track - Session 2
Saturday September 19, 2015 1:30pm - 4:00pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

2:45pm PDT

PANEL - Questioning Youth Incarceration
A public conversation held by community activists who oppose the King County’s proposed $210 million Children and Family Justice Center. The panel will raise questions about seemingly "normal" institutions in our society. Is designing prisons, youth jails, and detention centers inevitable? Who designs these spaces, and who is affected by the existence and harms of these spaces? What does a community movement to resist incarceration and caging look like?

Facilitated by Shannon Perez-Darby, Youth Services Program Manager at The Northwest Network of LGBT Survivors of Abuse

Angelica Chazaro: Law professor, University of Washington School of Law
Bypolar: Community organizer
Nikkita Oliver Local community organizer/activist and mentor artist with Creative Justice
Raphael Sperry: Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility 
Sensei Gregory C. Lewis: producer/host of All Power To The Positive! and local Black activist and organizer

Program Partners
avatar for Jed Walsh

Jed Walsh

I am a Young Adult Friend, living on occupied Duwamish land/Seattle, WA. I am a member of University Friends Meeting, and North Pacific Yearly Meeting. I am involved with Friends for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC), as well as the Quakers for Abolition... Read More →

Saturday September 19, 2015 2:45pm - 4:00pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

3:00pm PDT

PANEL / FILM - Beyond Another Brick In The Wall: Educational Ecosystem Design
The panel is a discussion with experts from each of the Educational Ecosystem Domains (system/governance, physical plant, content delivery). Everyone from panelist to participant to facilitator is a “learner.”

The session will be moderated by Ashley Branca and include the following panelists:
Katie Hunt, SRG Partnership
Ed Smith-Lewis, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Lindsay Hill, Raikes Foundation

The session opens with a brief  film that includes the community perspectives on the meaning of equity and how to consider the design of equity in the education of all our students. Following the screening, the panel discussion will highlight specifics of the panelists’ work and mission, while opening the conversation to audience interaction.

Tied to the Seattle Design Festival Block Party installation of the same name, the panel will examine how to successfully manifest design for equity in education. The interactive conversation will highlight the installation as an embodiment of this concept and will dive into living examples of working towards equity across the educational ecosystem, as demonstrated by the work of those on the panel.

Program Partners
avatar for Ashley Branca

Ashley Branca

Closing Party Coordinator, Seattle Design Festival
Ashley Branca believes that quality education for all is a human right, and she is glad to know she is not alone. Ashley lives and works in Seattle, WA, where rapid development continues to bring this issue to the fore. She is proud to be part of a dream team of thinkers and doers... Read More →

Saturday September 19, 2015 3:00pm - 4:15pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

4:15pm PDT

FILM - "A Conspiracy"
A Conspiracy is a short documentary festuring residents of the Central District community who are concerned with the displacement and "development" that is pushing Black and Brown long-time residents out of the neighborhood they have cultivated.

Directed by a collective of young Seattle residents, this documentary exposes the damaging impact of displacement while foregrounding the historical significance of the Central District neighborhood for Black and Brown people.

Program Partners

Saturday September 19, 2015 4:15pm - 4:30pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

4:30pm PDT

PANEL - Activism By Design

Why wait for permission to act when you already have the right to your city, your neighborhood, and your home?  

Long-term Seattle residents, community organizers, and activists share creative strategies to resist gentrification and claim ownership of their neighborhoods’ historic cultural identification. Join our most active and engaged communities and learn how you can help shape a Seattle that is grounded in racial justice.

Amir Islam, United Hood Movement and RBG the CD
Mara Willaford, Black Lives Matter Seattle
Black Power Circle
Africatown-Central District Preservation & Development Association

Program Partners

Saturday September 19, 2015 4:30pm - 5:30pm PDT
Seattle Public Library - Central Library 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

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