Our Approach

POWER-AWARE. CONSENT-DRIVEN. RELATIONSHIP-CENTERED.

Build With’s approach to design and organizing is informed by twelve years of direct field work, non-profit leadership and labor, peer learning, and research. We’ve learned from where traditional diversity trainings, inclusion programs, worker advocacy, and “community impact” practices fail to shift power (both within teams, and between institutions and communities), and we’ve tailored our services to respond.

Participants of the 2015 Build With research jam. Photo by Daniel X. O’Neil.

Participants of the 2015 Build With research jam. Photo by Daniel X. O’Neil.

Our work is informed by best practices in relational anti-racism organizing, research and design justice, and institutional trauma studies. We deeply understand the complexity of how identity, oppression, history, and culture entwine and impact power dynamics on an interpersonal, organizational, and communal level. When we work, we base our efforts in the reality of these dynamics, as well as other structural and systemic pressures of colonialism and white supremacy.

while helping to create opportunities for different outcomes by centering consent, transparent negotiation, and the reallocation of resources. When appropriate in Learn more about our history and focus on non-extractive communal practice here.

We are active members of the Design Justice National Network and strive to keep our work in alignment with the network principles. Find those here.

ON “COMMUNITY”

The word “community” gets thrown around quite a bit in both non- and for-profit spaces, so we want to be clear that when we say “community”, we’re not talking about some abstract feel-good projection of people, nor are we using coded language to refer to shallow diversity quotas that prop up the authenticity of white institutions.

For us, community is sacred. When we use the word, we are always referring to real people in real, complex, pre-existing or potential connection to one another. Rather than helping you “build” community, our work is designed to help you weave connections with and between communities - your own and others’ - to make long-lasting impact and necessary short term change.