Design Conversations

July 21, 2020 | 11:44 am

Design Conversations is back for the Fall 2020 semester! We will be continuing our theme, For Whom? By Whom? Designs for Belonging, first launched in the Spring of 2019. This series investigates design’s blindspots and exclusions and invites guests to discuss the ways their work examines ideas around inclusivity. Learn more about the series here.

Each guest will be joining us virtually through Zoom’s Webinar feature, with audience questions taken at the end of each lecture. Following each talk, our guests will welcome questions from our students and staff through our Jacobs Slack Channel, which we will publish for the public to read at the end of the semester. Links to join each talk will be provided closer to the event.

September 25, 2020, 12 PM PDT: Leah Buechley, University of New Mexico
Register here

October 2, 2020, 12 PM PDT: Benjamin Earl Evans, Inclusive Lead at Airbnb
Register here

October 23, 2020, 12 PM PDT: Bryce Johnson, Inclusive Design Lead at Microsoft
Register here


Leah Buechley is an associate professor in the computer science department at the University of New Mexico where she directs the Hand and Machine research group. Her work explores integrations of electronics, computing, art, craft, and design. She is a pioneer in paper and fabric-based electronics and her inventions include the LilyPad Arduino, a construction kit for sew-able electronics. Previously, she was a professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directed the High-Low Tech group. Her work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Boston Globe, and Wired and exhibited in venues including Ars Electronica, the Exploratorium, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 2017, her work was recognized with the Edith Ackerman award for Interaction Design and Children. Leah received a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BA in physics from Skidmore College. She also studied dance, theater, fine art, and design at both institutions.

Visit Leah’s website to learn more about her work, and check out her Ted Talk on How to Sketch Electronics.

Benjamin Earl Evans leads a new generation of problem solvers who use design to tackle issues like racism, sexism, and bias. Currently leading Airbnb’s Anti-discrimination team, he is on a mission to help product leaders build products that resonate with everyone, everywhere.

Learn more about Benjamin’s work through his website. You can read past work of his through Medium and listen to him discuss his work on Product Love Podcast.

Bryce Johnson has been designing accessible experiences and technology for over 15 years. As a member of Team Xbox he was part of the core team that started the inclusive design and accessibility practice. Bryce worked across Microsoft teams to launch the assistive technologies on the Xbox One, including Copilot. Bryce initiated and designed the first Inclusive Tech Lab at Microsoft, which has now hosted over six thousand visitors; it is a facility where people can explore how people with disabilities interact with Microsoft games, services, and devices. Bryce is one of the inventors of the Xbox Adaptive Controller ever since he was a lead on its project at the 2016 Microsoft One Week Hackathon. Bryce is now the Inclusive Lead for Microsoft Devices where he is devoted to ensuring Microsoft products are accessible.

Read more about Bryce’s work and thinking about inclusion here, and listen back to his talk at FullIndie Summit.


Past Speakers in this series:

Aza Raskin, Fall 2019

Mario Ballesteros, Fall 2019

Claire Evans, Fall 2019

Dori Tunstall, Spring 2019

August de los Reyes, Spring 2019

Jodi Forlizzi, Spring 2019

Ellen Pao, Spring 2019