Skip to content

Archive for


Change is Imminent: Fabrication In The Final Weeks | Samuel Aguirre | MFA Furniture Design ’24

We are in it. Deep in the fabrication process and all the hurdles that come with it. There is not one shop where all the work is taking place. There is not one supplier providing all the materials. There is not one location with all the tools we need. The fabrication process has been a series of hurdles, surprises, uh-ohs, and a couple ‘WOAH, didn’t see that coming”. The only constant would be the 500 board feet of donated redwood, myself the artist/fabricator, and the support of What Cheer Flower Farm Leadership. For this I am grateful.

This summer has been a lesson in the art of pivot. To accept the surprise around every corner and adapt to find the best path forward. I’m not your typical graduate student, in that I’m a little more “experienced”. I’ve been around the sun a few more times… I’ve lived through change and have grown because of it. And even with all the experience and mental preparation, change can still blindside. It takes time to recalibrate, shift focus, and move forward. To properly recalibrate is to accept the inevitable surprise is a part of the process. Sometimes it takes a moment to remember that. To change my expectations is to change my attitude toward a situation. And it’s attitude that dictates if a hurdle is a source of stress and anxiety, an opportunity, or simply a bump in the road. Sometimes two steps back and one forward. Other times one step back and two forward. But always a lesson to be found.

As the artist, and having spent countless hours handling the material, I inevitably have a relationship with these redwood objects, and would be at fault if they didn’t exude some emotional response. For me, these flowers represent the lessons learned: patience, the importance of a strong team and collaboration, remembering it’s ok to ask for help, and accepting defeat as part of moving forward.

Over the next couple of weeks we will finish the work. And on the Fall Equinox we will erect a few 8′-12′ solid redwood flowers. We will invite the community to celebrate the close of the season. We will acknowledge the highlights of the year and stir excitement for all that’s to come. For these flowers, this moment of celebration will mark the beginning of the next chapter for this redwood. Over time these wooden flowers will come to represent what they are asked to represent. It is not in their power to tell the world why they are here. But for the community to slowly impress their desires and needs over time. As the artist I look forward to watching that happen. As a community member, I look forward to being a part of it.


The People – Henry Ding, BArch 2026

It’s been a while since my last update so I’m just gonna update y’all on the second phase of my fellowship—the hard labour part. In this phase, I began to venture away from The ArQuives’ headquarters into offsite storage locations, exploring a small bit of the true extent of a 100k+ strong collection.

I only accomplished this by teaming up with some wonderful coworkers to search for obscure legal documents and floor plans—who also taught me extensively about the archival process and queer history along the way. I became obsessed with discovering details of historic police raids, government actions against queer individuals, the details of no-longer existing queer infrastructure, and the daily lives of those living in queer collective houses. To truly understand the relationships that queer Torontonians had to community, architecture, and infrastructure, I needed to dig deeper.

After outlining my initial research, I began to become referred to prominent figures and experts in Toronto’s queer community to conduct some of my own first-hand research. Getting connected from one person to another, travelling along a network of connections, I began to learn how truly tight-knit and welcoming Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community is.

I first spoke to Richard Fung, a prominent gay filmmaker, activist, and professor from Toronto. He’s been heavily involved in Toronto queer activism since the 1970s, and we spoke extensively on his life in a queer collective commune, his work detailing queer Asian narratives and his personal life as a Chinese-Trinidadian, and wider activism involving the queer Asian community.

From there, Richard connected me to Alan Li, another prominent gay Asian activist and doctor involved in queer and HIV/AIDS activism in Toronto. From there another connection was made to an architecture professor involved in archival projects focused on Toronto’s Chinese community—and thus I learned first-hand the power of networking.

Photo from my interview with Richard Fung

I then spoke to Dennis Findlay, a longtime activist and the owner of the last known queer collective house in Toronto. We spoke extensively on the impact of queer collective living on how LGBTQ+ people have historically viewed domesticity, relationships, community, space, gathering, mutual-aid, and more. It was a fascinating look at architecture through a lens that I had never experienced before. Someone who viewed the built environment through a radical and innovative lens.

I began to accumulate too many connections to manage (highlights include Beck, a sexual-diversity-studies student at UofT & Charlie, a PhD candidate from Cornell studying Asian queer history in the US). But, I welcomed these interactions with open arms as each conversation I had became an extremely educational and inspiring experience—truly pushing my project with The ArQuives forward.

I’ve come to realize that one of the benefits of archives and archival work, is not just the preservation of the past, but the bringing together of the present. LGBTQ+ people from all over Toronto, old and young, bonded by a collective need to celebrate their shared histories. As Dennis aptly put it when speaking about the queer community in Toronto: “These people are my family… It’s called love. It’s more than just a support system”.

And with that concludes my second post, stay tuned for what my research will culminate in and some more exploring in my beautiful hometown!


Archiving 12 years of struggle, Aya Abdallah, MFA Digital + Media ’24

Hello! As the end of my internship approaches, I’ve been fully immersed in the preparation for the upcoming exhibition on Kafala over the past few weeks. As promised, here are some details on the work we’ve been doing:

The primary objective of the archival exhibition is to provide visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the Kafala system, its impact on migrant workers, and the changes it has undergone over the past 12 years. The exhibition seeks to shed light on both the challenges and progress made in the realm of labor rights, immigration policies, and social discourse surrounding Kafala. 

Being the only artist/architect in the organization definitely elevated my role and responsibilities in the making of the exhibition. I wasn’t assigned specific tasks in particular; instead, there existed a sense of mutual trust and a welcoming atmosphere from the staff. My work began with creating a 3D model of the space, a method I use for its effectiveness in visually conveying any potential concepts. Subsequently, my focus shifted to researching exhibitions that revolved around similar themes. I documented my findings and shared these insights with the team.

Along with the team of migrant workers and ARM staff, we came up with several curatorial ideas and themes for the exhibition, of which we discussed and narrowed down to the following conceptual framework. The iterative nature of our discussions and the collaborative spirit within the team led to a refined and resonant curatorial concept that encapsulated the multifaceted stories and perspectives of migrant workers.

Taking a speculative approach, the exhibition is set in the future, a time where Kafala ceases to exist. All items in the exhibition are considered ‘artifacts’ from ‘a dark time’. The idea is to highlight the absurdity and violence of a system that continues to exist. To mirror it to struggles that are deemed as “a thing of the past”. The exhibition takes its format as a journey starting from arrival to departure. Throughout the exhibit, a story unfolds of a migrant worker’s struggle against a system of exploitation.

That’s all for now! Keep an eye out for more details about the work and my Maharam experience.
– Aya


From Concept to Creation: Diving into the World of Toy Design – Aanya Arora, BArch 24

Sunday 13th August 2023

From Concept to Creation: Diving into the World of Toy Design

Recently, we embarked on an exciting journey of designing our own marble runs, delving into the realms of energy, matter, and creativity. The process began with a thoughtful discussion on energy and matter. Students explored the various forms of energy, from potential and kinetic to the fascinating world of chain reactions. This laid the foundation for their marble run designs, as they contemplated ways to harness and manipulate these energies to create a captivating marble run.

Guiding the students through the creative process, I showcased the versatility of cardboard as a construction material. Techniques such as scoring to create cones, developing slot systems, utilizing the flange technique, and even binding two pieces with string or rubber bands were demonstrated on a board. This hands-on demonstration sparked the students’ imagination, inspiring them to combine these techniques in innovative ways.

Cardboard as a construction material demo board

As the students set out to design their marble runs, the classroom was abuzz with creative energy. One student, overwhelmed by the challenge, said to me “Mein nahi banapaogha” which means ‘I won’t be able to make this’. I encouraged to focus on the base structure first and he slowly began to change his outlook. Recognizing the need for vertical space, he taped his cardboard piece into position on the shelf and began building. What followed was a cascade of creativity – a testament to the power of persistence and innovative thinking. Drawing inspiration from the recent car design workshop, he even envisioned an extension of the marble run into a miniature car that could transport the marble to new destinations. This interplay of concepts showcased the interconnectedness of various disciplines and the multifaceted thinking nurtured through such projects.

As the marble runs took shape, it was time to put them to the test. We timed each groups creations, with the students eager to see how long their marble could journey through the intricacies of their design. Times varied from a swift 00.58 seconds to a more leisurely 2.20 seconds, considering the constraints of limited space and cardboard resources.Students talked about their creations, explaining their design choices and recounting the lessons learned during testing. We even did a critique (similar to the ones but not as cut-throat!), encouraging students to appreciate each other’s work and identify areas for improvement. The recurring feedback included widening spaces for the marble, reducing the use of tape, incorporating protective barriers to prevent marble escapes, and introducing more zig-zag segments to prolong the marble’s journey. Students were enthusiastic about redoing their designs with the feedback to see if they can make the marble run for a longer period of time. 

Testing the lengths of the marble run journeys

Marble Run designs by students

Upcycling Workshop: Transforming Waste into Artistry 

In order to get a better understanding of the materials available and the lifestyle of the wastepicker women which I will be conducting the workshop for I visited the Vivekanand camp. At this camp, Chintan has a 3-year program in motion orchestrating positive changes within this community while addressing waste management challenges. Nestled in the heart of Chanakyapuri, amidst the presence of embassies and schools known as ‘bulk generators’ of waste, the camp houses approximately 85 families. The husbands navigate the neighborhood on their rickshaws, diligently collecting discarded materials. Upon their return to the camp, a designated space – either within the camp or right outside their homes – becomes a hub of activity. At the camp the remarkable wastepicker women commence their meticulous sorting process. Each piece is carefully evaluated and categorized based on its quality, a pivotal step in preparing the items for sale to the kabadiwala (a local term for waste buyers). 

Designated space for waste sorting at Vivekanand Camp

Sorting paper into 3 distinct groups

There are 4 main categories of waste – paper, plastic, glass and metal. I watched as they categorized paper into three distinct groups: pristine white paper, worn/dirty out paper, and full newspaper. The white paper garnered the highest profit among the three categories. Metal pieces, too, underwent a fascinating transformation. Through a series of skillful hammer blows, these pieces were reshaped into forms more suitable for recycling. This hands-on process culminated in the sorting of metal into two essential categories: aluminum and general metal. I also saw how plastics were organized into different categories depending on their form. For example, they had an entire trash bag filled with Bisleri Mineral Water (local water brand) plastic wrapping, which is used to wrap several water bottles together. I collected samples of different materials such as plastic wrapping, thick plastic packets which are used to transport milk and large plastic bottles. I have been experimenting and prototyping ways that these discarded objects can be transformed into surface materials which can be used to construct different objects. 

This visit unveiled how within these discarded materials lies the potential for transformation. The wastepicker women of Vivekanand camp are not just sorting waste – they’re driving change, embracing upcycling practices, and demonstrating the power of collective efforts in shaping a greener world. I am looking forward to putting together this upcycling workshop for them to assist them in harnessing their artistry skills to transform the waste into sellable objects to improve their livelihood. 


Small Hands, Big Ideas! – Aanya Arora, BArch 24

Monday 7th August 2023

Small Hands, Big Ideas!

I have been witnessing the unbridled creativity and boundless imagination of children. Over the past weeks, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to observe them as they approach various design challenges, their ideas soaring far beyond conventional expectations. These young minds possess an innate ability to envision possibilities that often astound us, proving that innovation knows no age limits.

Empowering Students Through Innovative Design Workshops

The enthusiasm and energy radiating from these students during the design workshops have been nothing short of inspiring. It’s clear that they possess a treasure trove of remarkable ideas, waiting to be harnessed. As I guided them through activities such as designing a protective holder for a water balloon, constructing a boat capable of carrying numerous Jenga blocks, and crafting a lightweight car, I witnessed their natural inclination to push the boundaries of their imagination.

Students set out to create a boat capable of holding as many Jenga blocks as possible. Through iterative design, they grappled with concepts of stability, shape, and material properties. This hands-on experience reinforced the invaluable lesson of continuous improvement and they quickly realized that innovation is a process, involving testing, redesigning, and fine-tuning to achieve the desired outcome. I created a supplies market which featured an assortment of materials including wooden lollipop sticks, balloons, straws, cups, string, and rubber bands. The catch? Each student could only choose four items. This approach not only taught resourcefulness but also established creative boundaries, prompting the young designers to think innovatively within limitations. I observed that with access to diverse materials, their creative thinking expanded exponentially. 

Interestingly, one student stood out for his unique approach. Overcoming a visual impairment, he delved beyond conventional notions of buoyancy. He crafted a steering mechanism using only balloons, wooden sticks, and rubber bands. This ingenious contraption allowed the boat to maneuver in various directions based on the tilt of the stick. His innovation showcased how diverse perspectives can lead to breakthrough solutions. 

I discovered that the car workshop appeared overly straightforward for the students, given that the car’s structure is already pre-established. As a result, their vehicles exhibited striking resemblances, reflecting a reduced emphasis on creative ideation regarding the forms. Other workshops like the water balloon holder and the boat allowed them to think more creatively as there isn’t a predetermined expected form. 

Upcycling Workshop: Transforming Waste into Artistry 

Shifting gears from young minds to the waste-picker women community, I embarked on an upcycling workshop. Armed with a vision of transforming everyday waste into useful and aesthetically pleasing objects, I explored innovative ways to repurpose materials. One such endeavor involved weaving plastic milk bags to create functional items. Additionally, I experimented with turning plastic wrappers and bags into crochet-ready materials.Central to this workshop was the idea of empowering these women to turn waste into usable surfaces. The goal was to enable them to craft items such as tote bags, wallets, boxes, and even textiles for furniture. By providing them the tools to create sellable products aligned with their interests, the workshop aimed to offer them a new sense of agency and income potential.A pivotal meeting with the Voice to Waste team solidified the workshop’s potential impact. The idea of teaching these women how to transform waste into unique surfaces resonated strongly, as it aligned with their mission of sustainability and empowerment.

Nurturing Innovation, One Idea at a Time

The children’s boundless ideas are testaments to the power of creativity when guided with care and intention. By providing the space, tools, and encouragement needed to innovate, we were able unlock solutions that transcend expectations and make lasting positive impacts on individuals and communities alike. After all, it’s in the smallest of hands that the biggest ideas often flourish.


The Last Weeks, THE ZINE ZONE!! and Signing off :,) -Carin Carrion BFA Illustration 2025

Hi everyone! So, my last two weeks here have been busy yet once again very exciting! In the beginning of last week, I checked in with my supervisor and during our conversation the topic of artist housing came up. Ian my supervisor had told me about my coworker Ebon who had past experience in artist housing in Portland, so around the middle of last week I was able to schedule a meeting with Ebon to interview zim on zir experience and thoughts.

Ebon’s artist housing experience specifically was with a place called Milepost 5 during the time frame of July 2019 and November 2020. Milepost 5 was initially presented as an affordable housing space for artist to live and work, however by the time Ebon had arrived the priorities of the housing became more capitalistically focused instead of prioritizing artists. There was also a shift in property management after Milepost 5 was no longer politically backed by Sam Adams who has previously been a mayor of Portland. Ebon recounted to me the various concerning experiences ze observed and lived through during zir time there. Not only was there the concerning presence of asbestos in the building but there was also the limited facilities available to the residents at Milepost 5 such as having one micro fridge instead of a full fridge in each common area per floor when it was not common for a majority of resident to have a kitchen space in their home. Facilities gradually became less attended to which also included the security of the building which in result would have unhoused people or people in crisis entering the building and setting up camp there or being disruptive and creating a potentially unsafe environment to live in. During Ebon’s time there during the summer there were wildfires which lead to Portland’s air quality being very poor but being indoors at Milepost 5 would not be enough as Ebon recount how ze had to close zirself in zir bathroom with a covering over the lower doorway crack for a semblance of breathable air due to the windows in zir housing being so poor they would no close properly. Ebon told me how ze and other residents of Milepost 5 at the time had collectively banded together to bring their complaints to owners and property management however the communities concerns and needs where not being taken in and problems where still unsolved. This would then lead residents to leave, apply for rental assistance to find a new place. Eventually Ebon would leave as well in late 2020, but zir experience does further highlight the need for affordable housing, but also housing which the integrity of the building in terms of its goals and mission is maintained. From what Ebon disclosed to me from what ze learned from residents who had been at Milepost 5 during the beginning of its initial establishment, the housing had been well maintained, affordable artist housing but once there was no longer political backing and changes in building ownership the mission was no longer a priority. Ebon expressed how if a project like Milepost 5 where to every happen again there needed to be a consistent politically backing, committee made up by residents which could have a say in the maintenance of the building and if the property ownership where to change.

On the note of community assistance, last week I had finalized the designs for the Q Center’s Career Closet and Marsha P Fund logos YAY! Thanks to the learning experience that was formatting Apple the Crow to a printable vector file I was able to do the same with both logos to leave for my coworkers in case they needed to print the logos on anything in the future. Finalizing these logos in the aftermath of Apple the Crow allowed me to consider a lot of things when I got to the final design and coloring process. For example, there would be only so make colors I could make the logo with as if the logo ever where to be printed there would be a limit to about 16 colors to reasonably print, there was also the aspect of linework were I have to consider linework that was too thin would not guarantee it being printed. I really got to get my hands pretty dirty with Photoshop and a little bit with Illustrator during this internship and it make me really happy to have used these new deepened skills for community projects. Before and during my internship my coworkers expressed how having a logo for these projects, especially with the Marsha P. Fund would be really helpful in providing the community with a visual to bring more attention to them and in turn more support.

Now for my next and pretty much final order business was the ZINE ZONE!!! Before my internship had started, I had found out the Q Center had a library for the community I really wanted to see in what ways I could incorporate my excitement for zines and the means it can connect the artist community together from a LGBTQIA+ hub that is the Q Center. However, with management changes holding a zine event became not much of a feasible option so PLAN B! I talked with my coworker Julie, and I found out we had a couple of zines which we didn’t quite know where to organize to, so we decided on a pretty spacious shelf in the corner of the library, and I got to crafting. I made my proposal last week and got approval to create a post for Q Center social media for zine donations! With the crafting paper we had in the office I also made a silly sign for the ZINE ZOONEE!! Yeah, that pretty wraps up everything. I’ve been coordinating with artist for picking up their gallery artworks and I’ve also been getting inquires on if another gallery show like this will happen again which was a bit hard for me to give an answer for. Neverless I do think from the positive community reception of the gallery I have hope more community galleries will happen in the future!

During my time at the Q Center, I saw the many ways it provides a safe space for the community to come together and the constant potential it has to continue growing. I feel very honored to have worked in a space such as the Q Center this summer and the opportunities I had to learn and grow with it. Anyway, this is Carin signing off and I wish you all a happy Friday! 🙂

my best friend Lily is also signing off LOL!

Down with Kafala!, Aya Abdallah, MFA Digital + Media ’24

Hi! This post is long overdue as I am more than a month into my internship, but here we go!


It has been a vibrant two months back in my home city, Beirut. The weather is harsh, but nothing that a trip to the beach can’t fix!
Still amidst a political and financial crisis, and still recovering from the tragic Port Blast of 2020, the city’s problems remain the same, anxieties rush back and take a toll on you at some times. Other times, you experience the rich culture and joy of being back amongst your family and community.
My internship experience at the Anti-Racism Movement (ARM) has been expectedly great so far. They recently took over a 3000 sqm open-floor space located on the outskirts of Beirut. Coincidently, this space was previously used by Ashkal Alwan, a well-known art institute that ran exhibitions, talks, residencies…that I frequently visited. Being in a familiar space definitely helped me quickly adapt.

During the first week of the internship, I got introduced to the entire team at ARM and the Migrant Community Center (MCC) which both operate in the same space. It’s been a great pleasure to personally meet with migrant workers to listen and learn from their experiences and their plight against the Kafala (sponsorship) system. It does become overwhelming at times and it is difficult to not be emotional, but the solidarity network and community building that is formed as a result of a shared struggle is something to be celebrated.

I am currently working on three different but related projects.
1- An exhibition, set to open in December 2023, archiving 12 years of activism against the Kafala system.
2- Conceptualizing an idea for a Blog, to be operated by migrant workers as a platform to share and spread their stories.
3- Media monitoring reports and analysis.

I’m excited and looking forward to sharing more details of the work we’re doing at ARM in the following week.

Stay tuned !
– Aya


Government-Resident Communications – Viola Tan, BArch Architecture ’24

It feels surreal to be done! The last few weeks have been mainly focusing on wrapping up my work and writing reports for both of my projects. What’s fun about that? Well, it’s actually pretty interesting!
For my independent project on co-living, I’ve been going a bit back and forth all summer, since there are so many different aspects we need to tackle. Writing the report helps me keep track of all of them – zoning approval, licensing, meeting the sanitary code, support programs and funding, initializing a pilot program and so on. 
Looking at some of the City precedents who initialized programs on co-living, many of them (City of Alexandria, VA; City of Denver, CO; Salt Lake City, UT) have conducted surveys to gather residents’ opinions on co-living, which was so interesting to me. I’ve been a huge fan of community engagement since freshman year at RISD. However, this summer has been a lot of “it’s not that simple” learnings for me. I was very lucky to have a conversation with the Director of Communications at the Mayor’s Office of Housing (thanks to my supervisor for introducing us to him), who told me a bunch about communications between government and residents. For example, he told me how some people just “fundamentally disagree with” what the City is doing, even on issues like spending government money on addressing homelessness. This provided some context for me when sometimes the the iLab is more of a “let’s just try some stuff to see if it works” vibe versus a “let’s do a bunch of surveys first” vibe. That makes sense, but I still think good government-resident communication is so important in general though!
I’ve always had this question of how we can ensure equity and fairness in government-resident communication. Instead of answering it, it’s more like this summer’s experience has given me a deeper understanding of what the question really means, and triggered more questions for me. Somehow, these questions parallel some of the questions I had during middle school when I was first introduced to the subject “Politics” in China. Is what the public “want” really the same as what they “need”? Is “the minority listens to the majority” really democracy? (This is a Chinese phrase that I don’t know how to properly translate, I know it sounds so wrong, but it’s referring to a voting context and such, where the decision is made according to the number of people agreeing to it.) If there is no one public, is it even possible for a decision maker to be completely “fair” and “for the public”? And these are not rhetorical questions – I’m not saying “no” – just some questions I’d continue to explore throughout the foreseeable future. And of course, the question of what can design and designers do in it? I believe there’s a lot we can do.
Overall, I would like to express my endless gratitude towards RISD Career Center (Kevin, Lisa, Scott and Karen), Maharam, and the Boston Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab (my supervisor Paige Roosa and all my colleagues – Nick, Arun and Holly), for this awesome summer that was challenging, exciting, fun, and most of all, curious. As Lisa said, the Maharam Fellowship is a learning experience. I learned a lot indeed!

Me and Holly kayaking on the Charles right before a thunderstorm

A tour to the Boston Public Library, Roxbury Branch

A rainbow on my last day in-person!

(P.S. Our Building Differently final presentation won so many “Great job!”s within the Mayor’s Office of Housing!! Yay!!)


Power of the Waste Pickers and the Inventive Skills of the Children – Aanya Arora, BArch 24

Sunday 30th July 2023

Power of the waste pickers and inventive skills of the children

What an exhilarating first week it has been at Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group! From delving into the impactful programs to witnessing the extraordinary accomplishments, I am utterly amazed by the positive changes they bring to waste pickers, students, and the entire community!
The best part was diving right into action, kickstarting workshops with the children as part of the thrilling No Child in Trash program. The sheer joy and enthusiasm of the young minds were infectious, and I could feel the transformative power of education. I had the privilege of joining a training session for Scavengers to Managers where 20 determined women waste pickers harnessed their leadership skills in the mission to create a cleaner and greener future.

The 3 main programs which Chintan runs –

Scavengers to Managers – Turning Waste Pickers into Leaders:

Chintan’s Scavengers to Managers program focuses on transforming waste pickers into community leaders who actively contribute to waste management efforts. In the area of Belasva, 20 waste pickers have been identified as driven individuals with a passion for resolving their community’s waste-related challenges. These women receive formal training and workshops weekly, equipping them with valuable knowledge about current  topics which they then share within their communities. The waste pickers operate two waste management facilities, where they segregate waste and partner with bulk generators like hotels, schools, and malls to collect waste efficiently. The management have created partnerships with bulk generators (e.g. hotels, schools and malls) and have a ‘Pick My Trash’ vehicle which goes door to door to collect waste. A noteworthy initiative launched in 2023 involved upgrading the cycle rickshaws used for waste collection. The waste pickers now have color-coded boxes on their cycle rickshaws to separate recyclable waste from compost, ensuring proper segregation as they collect.

Voice of Waste – Advocating for Climate Change:

Under the Voice of Waste program, Chintan advocates for climate change awareness and action. They engage with waste pickers to provide them with social security numbers and educate them about their legal rights, negotiation skills, and reporting procedures. Furthermore, training sessions on heat waves and air pollution are conducted to equip them with the knowledge needed to tackle environmental challenges. Chintan has also taken a proactive approach to involve the youth in climate change initiatives. They have established climate change youth clubs across New Delhi, aiming to introduce students to the importance of environmental preservation. Some interventions which they spearheaded are the cool roof project where they painted 100 roofs with reflective white paint to reduce the temperatures and sea balance partnerships where they used aluminum foil to reduce the heat indoors and have temperature regulations meters so they can track heat levels indoors.

No Child in Trash – Nurturing Young Minds:

The No Child in Trash program is dedicated to empowering children through life skills and educational activities. Chintan works with 1400 first-generation students from all over Delhi, with a focus on promoting education, especially for girls. The teachers at these centers are from the communities itself, allowing the children to create stronger bonds with their teachers and be more likely to learn. This is the program that I have mostly been working with and have started the workshops with the children this week.

The 2 workshops I conducted were ‘Design Your Own Superhero’ and ‘Bridge Building’.

  1. Design Your Own Superhero

I challenged the kids to unleash their imagination and create their very own superheroes. Many of them found it tricky to think of different superpowers but after individual discussions with the children I was able to ask them questions which made them consider other possibilities and think about how their superhero could ignite this power. Some notable examples were – ladybug woman, waterman, beauty queen and colorful man.

Build Your Own Superhero Workshop Report
Build Your Own Superhero Student Work
  1. Bridge Building & Testing

The second workshop was a great success! Armed with ice-lollipop sticks and tape, our teams set out to construct sturdy bridges that could withstand the weight of books. The challenge was exhilarating, and the atmosphere crackled with enthusiasm as they embraced the role of young architects and engineers.
To kick things up a notch, we watched awe-inspiring videos of bridges from around the world, showcasing their grandeur and resilience. The kids were spellbound by the magnificent structures and were eager to put their newfound knowledge into practice.
But as with any daring endeavor, challenges arose. The kids grappled with the idea of building complete bridges with limited materials. Some grew frustrated when their initial designs didn’t pan out as expected. That’s when I shared my own experiences of studying architecture, reassuring them that failure is a natural part of the creative process and that we always have a budget and limited materials so we have to think about how we can efficiently use these resources  in our design to create a strong bridge.
Finally, the moment of truth – testing the bridges! Excitement reached its peak as the kids carefully placed books one by one on their ingenious creations. Some bridges proved resilient, while others collapsed on themselves and formed a flat surface but we still tested these flattened bridges as they could hold more books and so the children could see how a bridge fails. One particularly remarkable bridge defied all odds, holding a staggering 47 books without breaking a sweat! 

Bridge Building & Testing Workshop Report
Students working together to construct their bridges
Bridge Testing
Bridge Testing

Scavengers to Managers Training:

I had the privilege to participate in the weekly training which was conducted by Bilal and Shruti and Kriti. This particular week, the focus was on a pressing health concern in New Delhi – conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye disease. With the number of cases on the rise, it was vital to equip the waste pickers with essential knowledge about this infectious condition. The training covered various aspects, including the causes, symptoms, prevention, and available cures for conjunctivitis. Moreover, it aimed to dispel any misconceptions or false beliefs surrounding the disease. The training was not limited to conjunctivitis alone; the waste pickers also learned about the distinctions between viruses, bacteria, and fungi, essential knowledge that empowers them to protect themselves and their communities from potential health hazards. To enhance the learning experience, we ventured outside for a hands-on exercise. We identified common environmental elements that could lead to illnesses, like open stagnant water bodies, which become breeding grounds for harmful larvae and mosquitoes. With the monsoon season in full swing, it became evident that mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and malaria posed additional risks. As a preventive measure, the waste pickers were educated on the significance of using mosquito repellent and mosquito repellent incense at home. Overall, the training session not only equipped the waste pickers with valuable information to safeguard their health but also empowered them to share this knowledge within their communities. It was truly inspiring to witness their dedication to making a positive impact on their surroundings, and I left the session with a profound admiration for their resilience and commitment to creating a healthier and safer environment for all.

Scavengers to Managers Training
Scavengers to Managers Training – Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Cures Exercise

A random but fun note – I went on a heritage walking tour this weekend in the Lodhi Art District and saw such amazing artwork with deep meanings by artists from around the world. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the murals was done in collaboration with an Indian artist, Shilo Shiv Suleman, and the waste pickers of Chintan!!

Art Mural in Lodhi Art District by Indian artist, Shilo Shiv Suleman, and the waste pickers of Chintan

In just one exhilarating week at Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, I witnessed impactful programs transforming waste pickers into leaders, advocating for climate change awareness, and empowering young minds through education. The dedication of waste pickers in managing waste and the commitment to creating a greener future inspired me. I am honored to be part of this inspiring mission and look forward to contributing further to their noble cause.


THE GALLERY IS ALIVE! ALIIVEE!- Carin Carrion, BFA Illustration 2025

As my time at the Q Center is reaching its final weeks, I finally can spill the beans on my journey in learning about galleries and coordinating a community artist gallery show. In the beginning of June as I was getting my bearings, I received the green light in having a gallery show in the Q Center, and at the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival. At the same time, I was introduced to Geeta Lewis, an artist and elder in the community, from her I got to learn about various do’s and don’ts in setting up a gallery space and the many MANY types of hardware used for preparing artwork to hang. She also told me about her upcoming art shows at the Portland Art Museum, and the Ori Gallery, a gallery space which provides a space to amplify the voices for queer artists of color.

Geeta currently and previously has made comic work alongside her gallery pieces. The gallery pieces she has made confront different aspects of Portland such as gentrification and racism, alongside these themes she uses the canvas to express and show members to the Portland community as one of her recent projects is to paint 100 portraits of the people in her community. Also last week was the opening of Geeta’s show at the Ori Galley!

During my first four weeks Geeta Lewis prepared me heavily for the storm that was coordinating the Q Center Gallery.

Before making a post for submissions of the Q Center’s social media I created a form for submissions and due to the limited space, we had at the gallery we planned on closing submissions when the submission reached around 25 or at the very least a week before reaching out to artists who submitted to coordinate with them on when they could drop off their work at the Q Center. After creating the form, I finalized two advertising drawings, the bigfoot one was for our social media and the one of the characters was used in the lobby area of the Q Center.

During the time we were receiving submissions it was brought to my attention by my coworkers on the multiple uses the Q Center Gallery had for the community as a space for support groups. The work shown at the gallery not only had to fit the space but also have a consideration for the people in the space with the work, and to coordinate the work in a many which would not trigger a member of a support group. In the end, we were still able to accept most of the work submitted into the gallery and accommodate the support groups. In the mornings I would take down a few art pieces which might be a problem for a support group and once the support group has finished for the day I would hang the pieces back up just in time for the gallery hours during the week.

Not long after the opening of the gallery would be the community gallery’s next adventure to Portland Pride Waterfront Festival. Which was later this year to avoid the festival interfering with June 19th and because in July there was much less of a chance it would rain and make the festival very muddy like last year. And so, I worked with my supervisor to transport all the artworks to the festival, and I helped set up the area and monitor the space during the festival. It was really lovely seeing people excited with various pieces and seeing some of the artists themselves come by to see the gallery there. After packing up and returning the artwork to the gallery, I created a thank you post for the community and the artists. A small problem I ran into was the photos I took of the gallery space were a bit barren of people hahahaha that’s what I get for taking photos before the festival had opened LOL. So, I decided it would be fun to feature the Q Center pride mascot submissions taking their own gander at the gallery.

SORRY I LOOK SO DEAD IN THE LAST PHOTO HAHA the excitement from proposing one last project relating to zines at the Q Center kind of wiped me. I’ll let you all know how that all goes on my last day next week WOW! Anyway, feel free to stop reading at this point as a ramble on my thought process for how I organized presenting the work in the galley. So, I organized the walls by four themes more less: bonds, abstraction and living, the body and then leading to nature in the final wall. I mainly did this through not only how the pieces looked to me from both first impression to me as the viewer and then reflecting on the artists statement from the artists and how they all kind of hold a flow of connection to one another despite being various subject matter. This pretty much concludes my second to last post. Thank you for reading 🙂