Print\Resist\Project brings screen printing and design thinking to marginalized communities through live printing events, drawing on the history of screen printing as a fast, accessible, and inexpensive medium of political resistance.

Why is this important?

For people in LGBT and queer communities, continuing to exist in the face of hate, oppression, and marginalization is an act of resistance. This is felt acutely today by young queer and trans people, who are compelled out of necessity to speak truths around identity, oppression, violence, and other intersecting experiences. How can these folks, along with others in historically marginalized communities, elevate their voices as a tool to enact resistance?

Political posters, t-shirts, and zines are commonly-found messaging tools throughout history. Unfortunately, lack of access to means of producing these tools can be a barrier, particularly for young people.

Print\Resist\Project aims to bring access to screen printing technologies, along with design thinking tools, to people in these communities, seeking to teach skills that will amplify unheard voices.

Background

Drawing on the history of screen printing as a fast, accessible, and inexpensive medium of political resistance, Print/Resist/Project seeks to amplify the voices of marginalized communities through printed matter, produced at live events and workshops. Education is integral to the success of this project, as it will allow participants to take away new skills and continue producing and disseminating printed messaging moving forward.

A primary source of inspiration for this initiative is the work of Sister Corita Kent, who engaged her community in screen printing workshops as a means to reflect on society, spirituality, and politics. Importantly, Sister Corita developed a unique, heavily typographic aesthetic, producing some of the most memorable works of the pop art movement of the 1960s. Sister Corita knew that compelling design and arresting typography were essential to creating high-impact printed messaging, and she developed a teaching philosophy to reflect the hard-working ideals of her own practice.

Similarly, education and design thinking plays an important role within the scope of Print/Resist/Project. To this end, I draw on my work as a visiting artist at Perpich Center for Arts Education, an arts immersion high school in Minneapolis, MN. This experience has inspired me to create small design education modules, meant to be digestible and effective within a single- or multi-day workshop format.

Over the course of developing this project, I have started working with Bushwick Print Lab, leveraging their expertise and, potentially, their physical space to conduct workshops. I have also established a screen printing “mobile unit” that I can bring into communities and public spaces for printing events. By teaching rudimentary design and printing skills, this project will empower people with historically unheard or marginalized voices to elevate and disseminate their own messages and engage in political resistance.

Sister Corita Kent workshop
Sister Corita leading a screen printing workshop

Why does this matter to me?

This project has grown organically out of my experience over the past few years as a graphic designer, educator, and volunteer. It has become clear to me that my true goals at this stage in my career are to make critical connections with young people through teaching new skills, namely printmaking and graphic design. Through the process of developing mobile printing events and more in-depth workshops, I expect to build a practice and craft that will make me a better educator, printmaker, and designer.

Through this process I also hope to grow my own screen printing practice. There will be many opportunities to develop promotional materials and experiment with new processes through the course of developing events and workshops for this project. Through my involvement with Bushwick Print Lab, I hope this will result in a regular design and printing practice.

Importantly, this project brings together my three professional passions—graphic design, screen printing, and teaching—into a viable model, supporting my personal ideals around social justice, resistance, and healing.

Part of this work is to keep coming back to the questions, “Why am I doing this? What am I working for?” Keeping these questions at the heart of my process will help me be the best partner I can be to the young people participating.

Why design justice?

Design Justice [is] a process that rethinks who leads design processes, centering the voices of those who are directly impacted, and seeing the role of the designer as facilitator, rather than expert. Design Justice asks us to consider a holistic relationship to design.
— Ginger Brooks Takahashi, “We Must Make Queer Praxis Accessible,” Walker

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Social Justice + Design That Matters = Design Justice

What does a Print\Resist\Project event look like?

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A Note on Branding

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I didn’t do this alone.

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Community partners:

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What’s next?

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Links

Design Justice Network

Hetrick Martin Institute

Harvey Milk High School

Bluestockings Book Store

Bushwick Print Lab