The Family Leadership Design Collaborative (FLDC) is a national network of scholars, practitioners, and family and community leaders who work to center racial equity in family engagement.

We do this by reimagining how families and communities can create more equitable schools and educational systems. We engage in research to develop “next” (beyond current “best”) practices, measures, and tools to foster equitable collaborations toward community wellbeing and educational justice.

The FLDC is a participatory design research project (PDR). PDR emerges from design-based research and is an iterative research process that attends to power, relationships, and histories of oppression/resilience through partnering with young people, families, and communities. PDR advances theories of human learning alongside new sets of relations, practices, and tools towards social justice and change-making. We do this through a practice of PDR called solidarity-driven co-design.

Co-design is a process of partnering and decision-making that engages diverse peoples to collectively identify problems of practice and innovate solutions. Co-design has the potential to foster change-making that is responsive, adaptive, and equity-oriented.

The FLDC was launched in 2015 by Drs. Ann Ishimaru and Megan Bang, out of the University of Washington College of Education. (Dr. Bang has since moved to Northwestern University). The initial project involved two phases of convening and research, spanning three years.

In Phase 1 we convened over 40 scholars, practitioners, and community leaders to identify a research and practice agenda. We then partnered with groups in 10 cities across the U.S. Community leaders in each city facilitated a series of “design circles” that brought diverse community members together face-to face to identify and co-design solutions to local issues.

In Phase 2 we worked more intensively with partners in W. Salt Lake City, Chicago, Southeast Seattle, and S. Los Angeles. We supported each site in co-designing and piloting local solutions, while fostering solidarities and knowledge sharing across sites.

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Phase 1 Report
Phase 2 Report

Meet the Collaborative