Friday, May 1, 2009
Presented SoCA, pK and UTEC today to the Harvard Alumni Association Board of Directors, along with Jon Evans and Andy Lantz talking about Design Initiative for Youth/DIY/ProjectLink and Marrikka Trotter talking about Department of Micro-urbanism/Chinatown Insert. It felt strange partly because I felt visibly jaded about Harvard's bubble, and partly because of the Manchurian Candidate effect...that despite having acted, through SoCA, etc. as an attempt to protest the orientation of the GSD, we have in the end--through Harvard's own financial support--ultimately proved part of the institution. This is not really surprising, and at least our work helps connect the GSD to real communities, but it still feels weird..
Prof. Laura Miller introduced us to the UTEC project but never really advised us. When we started pK, Prof. Toshiko Mori advised us to not do the project ("Nonprofits are tricky"...which is true, but not necessarily reason to not become involved). Project Link only got financed after years of lobbying, attending conferences and arguing that institutions like Harvard need to aggressively build their own pipelines for underrepresented minority students. True, Marrikka has built DMU through her own energy, but INSERT! is part of the Harvard fundraising machine now.
On the upside, at least students were part of presenting the GSD to Harvard alumni, along with the Dean and Department Chairs.