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Raja Schaar, IDSA

Program Director, Product Design, Drexel University

Raja Schaar, IDSA

Raja Schaar, IDSA (she/her) is Program Director and Assistant Professor of Product Design at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. She also co-chairs IDSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and formerly served as the Education Director for the organization. Raja is an industrial designer with an extensive background in museum exhibit design and healthcare design who is passionate about ways design can make a positive impact on social inequities at the intersections of health equity, the environment justice, and STEAM education. 

Raja studies the ethical implications of design and technology through her research and her teaching through the lenses of science fiction, speculative design, and social entrepreneurship. Her current projects address biases in maternal health through wearable technology and participatory design; community-based co-design for engaging black girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM/STEAM through design, technology, and dance; and biologically-inspired design, sustainability and climate justice. 

Raja received her BSID from Georgia Tech in 2001 and completed her graduate work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003. Before joining Drexel's Product Design faculty, Raja taught at Georgia Tech from 2004-2016 in the School of Industrial Design and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at GA Tech and Emory University. She has been a practicing exhibition designer for nearly 20 years—with projects across the country—and speaks internationally on inclusive design practices, sustainability, and speculative design.

Cli-fi Futures

Co-Presenter: Breakout Workshop

Track 2

Wed - Sept. 22

6:00 pm EDT

How might we use apocalyptic science fiction or Climate Fiction (Cli-fi) to forecast the consequences of design decisions and to inspire a futures-focused approach to design? Participants will play a speculative world-building game designed by the author, and based on themes of climate-fiction, Afrofuturism. The authors were inspired by Afro-rithms from the Future to create this Miro-based ideation and analysis exercise. The goal is to use this as a jumping off point inspire designers to consider how speculative environmental end societal tensions can inspire new ideas and bring new implications to life. Since its creation and initial testing in a Drexel university classroom, the authors have played the Cli-Fi Futures game with design groups, conferences, and universities all over the country. They are happy to bring Clifi Futures to the IDSA Education Symposium and IDC attendees to hear from the Industrial Design community how they see the same being up in classroom and studios in the future. Attendee with leave with access to a Miro Template they may adapt for their own use.

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