Dark Matter University is predicated on challenging and expanding the container of design and the format of the classroom. In addition to the yet-to-be-defined program and site(s), the pedagogical set-up and relational approach is critical to the studio. This framework will draw upon the larger network roster of DMU, and also employ a co-teaching element, which is an important characteristic of many DMU seminars and studios.
Over the last year, we’ve used the studio format to explore sites, themes, and methods ranging from investigating how cooperative, collectivized, and radically democratic economic and governance models can help reshape the urban spaces, architectures and landscapes in communities of color; examining and employing Black American modes of cultural production (e.g., improvisation in jazz, social dance styles, ciphers, etc.) to discover unrecognized patterns and challenge traditions of ego and single-party authorship in the design profession(s); and identifying, implementing, and documenting architectures of activism. All of our courses are informed by principles of Design Justice, which advances collective liberation by challenging the privilege and power structures that use architecture and design as tools of oppression.