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Who is the Design Festival?
Julia Edwards

The 10th Seattle Design Festival (SDF) is just over 20 days away! This celebration will look different than originally planned, as we find ourselves swapping gatherings and canapes for screens and distance. Even with these challenges, we recognize that a celebration of SDF would be incomplete without celebrating the amazing people who make it a reality. We would like to continue to introduce you to the amazing group of volunteers who shape the Festival each year, and who help hold us accountable to our goals, mission, and vision for the Seattle Design Festival. The 2020 SDF Committee includes Elana Darnell, Julia Edwards, Adam Ury, Trevor Dykstra, Lisa Sato, Matt McWilliams, Yasir Altemeemi, George Zatloka, Uris Giron, and Michelle Gagnon-Creeley.

Today we’re highlighting Julia Edwards. Julia received her Bachelors of Art in Architectural Design in 2019 from the University of Washington. After spending that summer with Design in Public for the Seattle Design Festival, she now works for Best Practice Architecture. She was born in Washington but has a love of travel. Outside of work she can be found exploring the Cascades or daydreaming about exploring abroad. She also practices poking people’s skin with ink in her free time.

It was June of 2019 when I came to work for the Seattle Design Festival. This time last year we were tying up the last loose ends to host the Sneak Peek party. We’d arranged committee members to be screen printing t-shirts, information tables with takeaways, and a full spread of finger foods. I never would have guessed that I’d look back at that routine gathering with nostalgia for simply sharing space with people.

Other than the obvious reasons why I look back with nostalgia, I reminisce that the group of people who attended the Sneak Peek was diverse. I spoke to volunteers, professionals, BIPOC, non-BIPOC, designers, aspiring designers, people who had RSVP’d, and people who didn’t know what the festival was before coming. The event brought people together.

Those who come to the festival have a yearning to learn about experiences outside of themselves and it can result in finding common ground. The people who shared space at the Sneak Peek had unique stories, identities and passions. In that moment we were gathered around a unified idea that the festival is a space for all who come to it.

The festival doesn’t have a face; it has many faces. It is a vessel of the voices of others who create the stories told, share their identities, and inspire passions in others. We stand to “demonstrate the relevance of design thinking, promote a culture of collaboration, [and] empower communities to leverage design” but the festival isn’t made by it’s goals, it’s made by the people. All those working on the festival contribute to that, the participants contribute to that, and the public contribute to that.

We are committed to maintaining inclusivity as a cornerstone to the festival despite the reformatting this year. We must still share space, even if only digitally, in the hopes that common ground can unite us. Our committee stands with our community to bring us closer during these distanced times.