We had the pleasure of participating in CallisonRTKL Seattle‘s annual Spark Week this year, where the focus was around design for inclusion. We spoke with Callison staff members about both tangible and intangible of ways we see inclusion and exclusion play out in the criminal justice system, the yoga community, and the nonprofit world. We told them that once our students are labeled as criminals, the stigma follows them throughout their lives, even after they have done their time–excluding them from job and housing opportunities, education, and as a result they are excluded from our communities, often labeled as “bad” and not welcome. We told Callison of our dream to have an office space with room to offer yoga classes to our students once they get out, and to their families. We know people of color often feel excluded from yoga studios, so we want this dream space to be one that feels community-based and accessible for all.
After all the ideas we threw at them, we had abolutely no idea what kind of design project they would come up with, and we were so thrilled when they presented their idea for “Yoga Beyond Bars,” a yoga series to occur in public spaces across Seattle, where our incarcerated teachers could teach outdoor summer yoga classes to the community via webcam, allowing them to be seen as something other then criminals, and to build a following as a yoga teacher before they are released. Congrats to the team who put so much work into this project for winning best Spark Week Seattle proposal–we can’t wait to see where this goes <3