Design Futures Student Forum

RFP for workshops at 2017 Design Futures out now!

To all the faculty and practitioners out there that have something to teach the next generation of community engaged designers and planners, we want to hear from you! Each year at Design Futures we have put together 5 days of workshops full of hard earned lessons, field based wisdom, and tools for critical reflection. Like in previous years we invite your workshop proposals for consideration by our curriculum committee for inclusion in this years forum. Please review the RFP here! We look forward to hearing from you.

2017 Design Futures at University of Minnesota!

We are excited to announce the dates and location for the 2017 Design Futures Public Interest Design Student Leadership Forum. Our  colleagues at the University of Minnesota College of Design have been working hard to be excellent hosts for our 5th annual forum. We will gather in Minneapolis from May 22-26 for another 5 days of workshops, field trips, and meeting current and future peers and colleagues! Some schools have already signed up for this years event so if you are intending on being with us in Minneapolis please watch this space for directions on how to secure your place at this years forum or reach out to us at

The 2016 Design Futures Forum Yearbook is online!

We are excited to share the ‘Yearbook’ for the 4th annual Design Futures Public Interest Design (PID) Student Leadership Forum. We publish a yearbook each year as a way to 1) provide contact information to help the participants stay in touch as they build their professional and personal networks, 2) to chronicle the activities that occurred in the Forum, and 3) to share the feedback we received in the post-Forum survey from students and faculty participants.Once again, Design Futures was thrilled to receive an extraordinary cohort of students, teachers, and thought-leader/practitioners, this year at the University of Virginia from May 23rd to May 27th 2016, with eleven Universities sending cohorts of students. Of these eleven universities, 8 were returning participants to Design Futures and three – California College of the Arts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Southern Methodist University – were participating for the first time. This yearbook conveys the new faces brought into the network, the new content shared at the Forum, and reflects on programming explicitly meant to help students better understand the challenges of racial inequity that inform their work.

Architectural Record gives Design Futures a shout out


Read Jonathan Massey’s thoughts about the future of Architectural Education, here!


Impact Design Hub features 2015 conference testimonials


Read Impact Design Hub’s most recent feature, testimonials from four past attendees, here!

YAF’s Connection features DF!


The AIA Young Architects Forum interviewed conference leaders Barbara Brown Wilson, Dan Etheridge, and Sarah Wu for its most recent issue of Connection. Read the article here!

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Future Conference Locations Announced!

The Design Futures Student Leadership Forum is pleased to announce future conference locations for DF 2017 at The University of Minnesota, DF 2018 at the University of Detroit Mercy, and DF 2019 at the University of New Mexico! 

About the Conference

The Design Futures Public Interest Design (PID) Student Leadership Forum is a five-day, interdisciplinary forum bringing together student leaders from across the country with practitioner- and university-faculty who represent some of the most important thought leadership in this emerging sub-discipline. We frame the conversation broadly, but try to engender leadership and skill-building for future leaders hoping to use design as a tool for social equity and positive change in underserved communities. Our guiding principles include striving to build the next generation of leadership in the field; continuing to diversify the ecosystem of PID in terms of discipline, background, race, gender, and scale; elevating the rigor and critical capacity of PID curricula; and curating a national network of thought leadership drawn from contributing universities and practitioner-faculty committed to the advancement of the field. We do this through the five-day forum, as well as through the nurturing of our student and faculty (both practitioner and academic) networks, and our consortium of committed member schools. Our goal is to foster peer-based professional development through enrichment and critique and to counter the dispersed nature of this emergent movement by creating opportunities for collaboration and collective innovation.

We are collecting participant feedback and ideas, and are working with university consortium membership and practitioner-faculty to identify strengths to build upon and new opportunities for collaboration and increased rigor in the curriculum; all of which is being incorporated into the 2016 program to be hosted by the University of Virginia.

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders and we look forward to helping provide a solid foundation around which to build a successful career path within this emergent field of design practice.  We hope to continue growing the university consortium, so students and faculty from universities across the country passionate about elevating this work to a higher standard of rigor can contribute to the Design Futures learning community.

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