As a relatively recent newcomer to both human-centered design and Seattle, I’ve loved getting to know both at the same time over the last few years. If you’re interested in either design or the Emerald City, I highly recommend the Seattle Design Festival which opens tonight. If you’re on the fence, here are the top 5 reasons I’m excited for this year’s festival.
[Shameless plug: I’ll be speaking on a panel on using innovation and design to build a risk-tolerant, future-focused world – come join me for a great discussion on Tuesday, 9/18 from 6-8pm at Artefact!]
- This year’s theme: TRUST
The theme – trust – couldn’t be more relevant right now, given that trust in both public and private institutions are not exactly at their peak. I’d say that out of everything I’ve watched in the last several weeks (including confirmation hearings, news, and Netflix/Amazon Prime shows), I personally have more trust in Nike’s ability to convince me that I need new shoes than I do in John Krasinski’s ability to take on the iconic role of Jack Ryan.
With this year’s programming, SDF asks how – in this broader context of mistrust – can design affirm and strengthen critical connections of trust in our community. It’s an important and worthy question to consider, though not just for design.
2. The timing works well with the arrival of fall weather
The first week of SDF coincides with some lovely weather, so why not come inside to check out what is #3 on my list…
3. Curated conversations that educate and provoke
Take a quick scan of the panel discussions that comprise this year’s festival and you’ll find topics related to autonomous vehicles, AI and its challenges and opportunities, and the ins and outs of community planning. (Bonus: the latter features a wonderful and knowledgeable City colleague who will without a doubt make this a fascinating discussion.) It sounds corny, but there’s truly something for everyone in the line-up of events and conversations they’ve put together.
4. Interactive art installations
I’m looking forward to getting out to some of the several installations that are a part of this year’s festival, including the Gates Foundation Discovery Center’s Mapping Trust installation, which visualizes how empathy and connections relate to building trust and solving local and global issues together. This is one of many installations that will be highlighted at this weekend’s Block Party, so don’t limit yourself to checking out just one.
5. Seeing the Seattle community show up
Since moving to Seattle, I’ve found that it’s unique in how people come together around the things it loves (take hockey for example). The design community is no different in bringing folks together and provoking curiosity, and it’s one of the things that makes the Seattle Design Festival so special.
So there you have it – and if I haven’t convinced you, maybe Seattle Magazine will.