Public Progam

  • The Design Summit for Friends of Friends
    Maya Bird-Murphy
    Mobile Makers Chicago, Chicago
    Sep 29, 2023 to Sep 30, 2023
    Mobile Makers Chicago

View of the MMC space at Kimball Arts Center, 2022. Courtesy Mobile Makers Chicago. Photo: Maya Bird-Murphy

This interdisciplinary and intergenerational design event creates a platform for Midwest-based creatives to gather and discuss pressing topics such as injustice in the built environment, design as a change agent, diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability while cultivating lasting and meaningful connections. This visionary summit unifies Chicago’s large and diverse design community while inspiring and creating opportunities for young people interested in pursuing a career in design. This event broadens and challenges traditional architectural discourse by elevating diverse and creative voices across the design disciplines.

Maya Bird-Murphy is a designer, educator, and the founder and executive director of Mobile Makers Chicago, an award-winning nonprofit organization bringing design and skill-building workshops to underrepresented communities. She is also a faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Boston Architectural College. Bird-Murphy believes that the design field must expand to include more people and perspectives through teaching and community engagement, and hopes to make her mark on Chicago by making it a more equitable place to live. She was selected by Theaster Gates and the Prada Group as an Experimental Design Lab awardee, featured as one of 50 people who shape Chicago in Newcity Magazine, and was recently profiled in Dwell.

Stephen Cortez is an architectural designer and program facilitator at Mobile Makers Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in architecture and a certificate in urban planning. He is passionate about youth engagement and making change at the local level. As someone who grew up in a disinvested community, Cortez is motivated to use his design skills and knowledge to support young people and ignite change to uplift communities. He has led many Mobile Makers Chicago design and architecture workshops and pop-ups, has cofacilitated community engagement meetings for local architecture projects, and was the lead designer for outdoor furniture commissioned by The Arts Club of Chicago.

The mission of Mobile Makers Chicago (MMC) is to engage and empower youth through design, to train and support future public interest designers, architects, and makers, and to advocate for equity and social, economic, gender, and racial diversity in the design and architecture fields. MMC, founded in 2017, offers free or low-cost design-focused workshops to encourage underrepresented youth ages 8-18 to become advocates and change-makers in their own communities and build lifelong design skills.