This activity was developed by Jane Pirone and Barbara Adams for a series of speculative storytelling workshops titled “Collective Effervescence”. All artwork by Jane Pirone.

Barbara Adams is a sociologist whose interdisciplinary research looks at how knowledge is produced and political action is initiated through art and design projects. Barbara co-edited the book Design as Future-Making and is co-editor in chief of the journal Design and Culture. She is Assistant Professor of Design and Social Justice at Parsons School of Design and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Wesleyan University.

Jane Pirone is an Associate Professor of Design Ecologies at Parsons School of Design where they served as Dean of the School of Design Strategies from 2015-2019 and as Director of the Communication Design program from 2006-2011. Jane’s creative and transdisciplinary practice engages with living systems, storytelling, participatory futures, and new technologies from critical, queer and post-human perspectives.

An illustrative ode to Audre Lorde accompanied by her words on difference, power and possibility.

How is difference a force for change?

Difference must be not merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like a dialectic. Only then does the necessity for interdependency become unthreatening. Only within that interdependency of different strengths, acknowledged and equal, can the power to seek new ways of being in the world generate, as well as the courage and sustenance to act where there are no charters. Within the interdependence of mutual (nondominant) differences lies that security which enables us to descend into the chaos of knowledge and return with true visions of our future, along with the concomitant power to effect those changes which can bring that future into being. Difference is that raw and powerful connection from which our personal power is forged. As women, we have been taught either to ignore our differences, or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change. 

Excerpts From: Sister Outsider (Audre Lorde, 1984).

Download the PDF to colour the illustration and reflect on difference and creativity.

This page is part of UNHCR’s Project Unsung collection and portfolio. Project Unsung is a speculative storytelling project that brings together creative collaborators from around the world to help reimagine the humanitarian sector. To discover move about the initiative and other contributions in the collection, you can go to the project website here.