We are in the midst of the great reshuffling. Since the pandemic loneliness, mental health issues, and burnout have increased. Over 24 million Americans left their jobs between April and September of 2021. Record setting numbers. Employers are turning their attention towards employee engagement and are thinking hard about what the future of work looks like.
My graduate thesis work investigates building resilient cultures of collective care in pressurized workplaces. Its focus is on the Rhode Island School of Design MID (Master of Industrial Design) program as a proxy. While every work environment has its own specific context, many work cultures face similar challenges. The aims, avenues, tools, and social events in this thesis have applicability beyond the context of RISD.
- Designed, tested, and established two participatory artifacts and two recurring social events aimed at promoting an engaged pedagogy, increasing collaboration, and improving information opacity.
- Built out a lounge space in the studio
- Synthesized my research, interviews, and insights in a thesis book
The research component of this thesis consisted primarily of secondary source reading and conducting a series of community interviews. The source material primarily focused on organizational design, education, and social wellbeing; adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy and bell hook’s Teaching to Transgress being seminal texts.
I ran 24 interviews (13 students and 11 professors). The interviews were informal 30 minute conversations focused on identifying areas of connection and disconnection within the program. By deepening relationships within the RISD community I was able to better understand individual attitudes and program specific contests.