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Designing for Social Change: Understanding the Effects of Power and Privilege

The dates for this workshop are currently being re-scheduled. We still encourage you to register – if for any reason we cancel the event, or you feel uncomfortable attending we will provide you a 100% refund, no questions asked. You are important to us.

Vancouver, BC
Calgary, AB
Toronto, ON

From coffee makers and toasters to streets and communities, design is everywhere and influences all aspects of our lives.  And yet, we often go into community engagement sessions with little thought to both the design and the outcomes to be achieved. We may not realize that power and privilege are playing an important role in how participants are responding. And we often use the same tools of flip charting responses, table conversations and note taking. 

This workshop will change how you think and act. You will challenge your perspectives about power and privilege and learn new techniques for elevating voice. Join us as we welcome back George Aye from the Greater Good Design Studio, Chicago. George has an engaging style which transforms perspectives on the important role that design plays in social change processes. 

This workshop is for community changemakers who are interested in getting the most out of their social change processes. The morning will focus on the issues of power and privilege and the influence that this has on ourselves and the processes we design.

Learning Objectives

Join us for one of our three dates and learn how to:

1) Understand how your personal power and privilege impacts design

2) Determine who is and is not included in social change efforts

3) Build new skills and strategies for authentically engaging stakeholders

4) Reflect on current practices in your organization and how to adapt these

5) Build new connections and partnerships by learning together

Register for Vancouver | Register for Calgary | Register for Toronto

Understanding the Role of Power and Privilege in Design

George Aye will share a point-of-view on how social change happens when you understand the role of power and privilege. By sharing examples of work from Greater Good Studio, he will share principles for how to create a meaningful social change that push back against common professional norms that maintain the status quo. Through a series of intimate, facilitated conversations, participants will leave with a greater appreciation about the power they wield and an understanding of how their actions can leave others feeling less or more powerful.

In the afternoon, participants will gain practical experience and knowledge about how to elevate the voices of key constituents and stakeholders. This interactive session will ensure that you will walk away with new techniques, perspectives and understanding about how design influences outcomes. 

Elevating Voices: Increasing Community Engagement and Participation using Participatory Design

Authentically engaging stakeholders can, at times, be a bigger challenge than a project or initiative itself. In this session, we will get grounded in why engagement and participation matter and then review the principles behind it. Participants will learn about and engage in several practical methods for elevating the voices of different constituents or communities.

Get a Preview of George's talk

View a preview of George's approach to design for community change below:

HubSpot Video

Watch the full webinar

GGS Logo


About Greater Good Studio

Greater Good Studio is a strategic design firm focused on advancing equity. We do this by creating human-centered programs, tools and experiences, and by teaching design to changemakers in organizations and communities.

Greater Good Studio believes in the capacity of all people to create solutions that improve society. We envision a world where there is opportunity to do so regardless of race, gender, income, age or zip code.

Our work contributes to social equity in three ways:

Who we work with: We partner with clients on a mission to create a more just and equitable society. Our team evaluates each potential client rigorously in order to ensure their mission is aligned with ours.

How we work: Our projects are radically inclusive. We push past barriers to make sure those with lived experience are centered in the work, and we build agency by transitioning ownership to project participants.

What we create: The tools, programs and experiences that we design serve to multiply the capacity of their users, amplifying their ability to positively impact the world around them.

Learn more about Greater Good Studio


George Aye HeadshotGeorge Aye, Greater Good Studio

George co-founded Greater Good Studio with the belief that design can lead to positive behaviour change. Previously, he spent seven years at global innovation firm IDEO before being hired as the first human-centred designer at the Chicago Transit Authority. Since founding Greater Good, he has worked across multiple social issues including autism, criminal justice, education, public health and health care. George is an Adjunct Full Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With his co-founder, he was awarded the TED Prize City 2.0 (2012) and recognized in the Public Interest Design 100 list (2013). The studio’s work was featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (May 2018), LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation (published 2016) and Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook (published 2015). He is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator.

Learn more about George



Liz Weaver 1Liz Weaver, Tamarack Institute (Vancouver & Calgary workshops)

Liz Weaver is the Co-CEO of Tamarack Institute where she is leading the Tamarack Learning Centre. The Tamarack Learning Centre has a focus on advancing community change efforts and does this by focusing on five strategic areas including collective impact, collaborative leadership, community engagement, community innovation and evaluating community impact. Liz is well-known for her thought leadership on both collaborative leadership and collective impact and is the author of several popular and academic papers on the topic. She is a co-catalyst partner with the Collective Impact Forum and leads a collective impact capacity building strategy with the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  

Learn more about Liz



LisaAttygalle-137609-editedLisa Attygalle, Tamarack Institute (Toronto workshop)

In her role at Tamarack, Lisa works with cities and organizations to help them meaningfully engage their communities. Over the last six years her work has focused on creating authentic engagement strategies and training staff teams, teaching and writing about innovative engagement methodologies, designing and facilitating workshops with a focus on raising the voice of the context expert, integrated communications planning, and the use of technology and creativity for engagement. Lisa advocates for simplicity in infrastructure, frameworks and design and loves applying the principles of marketing, advertising, loyalty, and user experience to community initiatives.

Learn more about Lisa


Vancouver, BC

Calgary, AB 

Toronto, ON 


Registration will open at 8:30am where coffee and tea will be served. The workshop begins at 9:00am and runs until 4:00pm, with lunch and snacks provided.

Bring this workshop to you!

Can’t attend the workshop in Vancouver, Calgary or Toronto but love the content? Get in touch with Stephanie about bringing a similar workshop to your hometown. 


$349 for single registration
$300 per person for a group of 3+
$280 per person for a group of 5+

The registration rate includes a full day workshop, practical exercises and a membership into Tamarack Institute's Learning community. Also enjoy a great lunch and fellowship with amazing community and civic leaders.


To get a taste of what’s in store during this full-day workshop, check out the following resources:

WebinarOvercoming Power and Privilege in Community Change with George Aye

Paper | Creating the Culture for Engagement

Website | Greater Good Design Studio

Website | Tamarack Institute – Community Engagement Resources  


Register for Designing for Social Change

The dates for this workshop are currently being re-scheduled. We still encourage you to register – if for any reason we cancel the event, or you feel uncomfortable attending we will provide you a 100% refund, no questions asked. You are important to us.

Vancouver, BC

Register for the Vancouver Workshop

Calgary, AB

Register for the Calgary Workshop

Toronto, ON

Register for the Toronto Workshop

For questions regarding this event, reach out to Duncan.
For questions regarding invoicing and payments, reach out to Jana