Are you a youth activist or organizer involved in today’s big issues?

DUA is a free, 3-day, residential summer training for youth activists in Columbia, SC happening July 26–28, 2019!


What is DUA?

DesignUnderstandAct (DUA) is a 3-day, fully-funded, residential training for 20 young activists and organizers who are already involved in activism in Columbia, SC. Through a series of interactive presentations and workshops, participants learn about the institutions and systems that affect how change is made. As a result, DUA will empower youth to engage in persistent and impactful action within their communities.

We envision a generation of activists who are not only passionate about their ideas, but also equipped with the understanding, platforms, and tools they need to create the greatest change possible.

Why is it called DUA?

The first step in solving problems is to gain understanding. This outlook is shared by the process known as Design Thinking—the iterative method that designers (architects, graphic designers, etc.) use to solve problems.

In our research, we found that young people frequently engage in action-based activism—e.g. by organizing marches, rallies, protests—but do not always understand the larger systems and institutions within which their issues are contextualized.

By introducing the frameworks that affect activism, we empower youth to engage in persistent and impactful action within their communities. We challenge youth to develop their understanding so that their actions be as effective as possible.

DUA uses Design Thinking to bridge the gap between Understanding and Action.

Our History

Founded in Columbia, South Carolina in 2018, DesignUnderstandAct was created to address the ever-widening gap between understanding and action in youth activism.

We spent the second half of 2018 in research mode—reading existing academic literature, reviewing programs similar to ours, and interviewing dozens of researchers, activists, and youth—to get the best understanding of this landscape. What we found was not a single, well-known youth activism training program that both tracks impact and uses design thinking.