Catherine Woodiwiss

For the last 6 years, I’ve been working as a journalist in Washington, D.C., writing and editing on justice, culture, tech, and religion. My favorite posture is ethnographer, tracing the evolutions of ideas and rituals through time and place. When I discovered human-centered design, the lightbulb went on on the full possibilities of my anthropology degree and my journalism career: Act like an storyteller, think like an engineer! I’ve been hooked ever since.

In both journalism and design, for me, the interviewing — hearing and sitting with stories, often from angles, people, or circumstances overlooked by national headlines — and the impulse to creative action — practicing “solutions” journalism or design, that looks beyond a diagnosis of the problem into critically assessing whether models, products, or actions are successful — are the thing. In the last few years, I’ve spent my off-hours getting my feet wet in the world of design. In 2014, I co-launched Trestles, a service design agency aimed at collaboration and creative problem-solving across D.C.’s siloed sectors. I also co-launched Homestage, a DIY house show network for local artists and local living rooms in D.C., and in 2014, I spoke on collaborative solutions and “Do It Together” models at SXSW.

I am eager for a year of training and education at AC4D, to be better equipped to explore what design in service of story, and story in service of design, can look like.

Recent blog posts

‘your entire existence here is going to be a shitshow.’

  “True empathy is not actually achievable. These tools allow us to approximate it.” — Jon Kolko, earlier today Step 1: Use a word I hugely value but am largely skeptical of, due to its overuse and usually-squishy definition in the public imagination. Step 2: Tell me that I and all the VCs and #socent changemakers and…

‘go make something.’

  I love writing, which means I love procrastination. I love exploring the city while I let thoughts gather (this is part of writing, I will say), and playing with words while I pour a glass of wine (this is Very Serious Writing), and sitting down to check Twitter (hmmm), and emerging an hour later, now an expert on whether Azealia Banks was actually left…

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