How would you envision an anti-racist world where diversity, equity and inclusion pave the way for a better future?

The Center for Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan has asked that very question and is turning to the U-M student-body for the answers.

The Envisioning an Anti-Racist World design challenge encourages students to research and share ideas about racial inequality and how this can be changed. The focus extends beyond the impact of the University, but with a global vision – all while approaching the topic from the cross-sections of the arts, XR (physical, augmented, mixed and virtual reality) and design-thinking. In addition, the design challenge has partnered with Innovation in Action (IiA), a campus-wide program providing groups the opportunity, tools, people and space to take on some of the world’s largest challenges.

“We’re [as a nation] dealing with the racial reckoning that’s happened following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor,” says Ryan Henyard, Faculty Experience Designer at the Center for Academic Innovation. “Students across the nation have been protesting since last summer about racial injustice. When they come back this fall, we have to ask ourselves, ‘what are we going to do to be ready for them?’ Students won’t be complacent with just task forces and surveys.”

Students from 17 schools and colleges at the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses will present their outcomes at the Innovation in Action Final Showcase, with the winners being announced during the Student Showcase on Gathertown on Friday, April 9 at 3pm EST by Robert Sellers, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer, and Alec Gallimore, Dean of the College of Engineering. Showcased work by the winning teams will be awarded over $25,000 in prizes for their achievements.

“I’m really proud of how far all of the students have come,” says Henyard. “They’ve been asking really impactful questions throughout the process, interviewing community members about their projects, and getting feedback from their constituent groups and stakeholders.”

Envisioning an Anti-Racist World Design Challenge is a collaboration of the University of Michigan’s Center for Socially Engaged Design, Arts Initiative, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, President’s Arts Initiative Working Group, and Center for Academic Innovation. To learn more about prizes, sponsors and partners, visit

[box title=”EVENT INFO” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#000000″ border_style=”solid” bg_color=”#efefef” align=”center”]Student Showcase on Gathertown
Date & Time: April 9, 2021, 3PM EST
RSVP & Stream:[/box]