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Jan 25, 2021 By IIDA HQ
Cheryl Durst on Designing a Better 2021
Cheryl S. Durst shares insights on how we weathered a radical 2020 and the ways we can transform our world with, and through design in 2021.
By IIDA HQ Jan 25, 2021
Published in

Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA welcomes the new year with a sense of place and reflects on a year that taught us to lean into our humanity to better support ourselves and our community.

Design, and the human capacity for creativity, improvement, and inclusion that it represents inspires us all. Designers are amazing at responding to change, and their ability to unpack what is essential in any issue—including those critical to design—lends itself to an adaptability that is of utmost importance right now. We may not have all the answers, or really all the questions yet in terms of “what's next,” but we do know that design is forward and future-facing.

As we enter the new year we've also been checking in with our design community to ask a few VERY important questions. What are you reading, watching, listening to, and being inspired by? What's getting you by, through, and onward? Cheryl weighs in here with her picks.

What have you been reading? Books that you haven’t been able to put down—fiction, historical bios, magazines, websites, etc. Share what’s keeping you engaged and excited!

The Griffin and Sabine Collection
by Nick Bantock, a super immersive series where you open the beautifully crafted letters of a mysterious couple. It is like being a voyeur. And the books are beautiful keepsakes!
The Best of Me
by David Sedaris
A Promised Land
by Barack Obama
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker,
an Essay Collection by Damon Young
Josephine – The Hungry Heart
, a biography of Josephine Baker by Jean-Claude Baker
Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret
by Craig Brown
The Glass Hotel
by Emily St. John Mandel
Real Life
by Brandon Taylor
by Hilary Leichter
Real Simple
magazine to keep me organized or at least inspired to be organized.
Vanity Fair
and Fast Company
magazine to keep up with what I need to read next!

What music have you been listening to? Comfort albums to new indie stars—what are your favorite in-between zoom soundtrack faves?

The Hamilton soundtrack (!!!)
Wynton Marsalis classical and jazz—especially Wynton Marsalis with Musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Anything by Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, or Stevie Wonder
Old School 70’s singer/songwriters like James Taylor, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Bill Withers
Old school 80’s dance/party R&B music like The Gap Band, Sugarhill Gang, Rufus, and Chaka Khan, Cameo, Whitney, Prince, Tina Turner, Sade, Fine Young Cannibals, etc

What podcasts have you been listening to?

Reply All
, a podcast about how the internet and technology affect human behavior and interaction
KCRW's Left, Right & Center, politics and culture from all viewpoints
Global News Podcast
, news podcast from the BBC World Service
WTF with Marc Maron

Scam Goddess
, a true crime focused on the latest scams, rackets, grifts
My Favorite Murder
hosts, and guests tell stories about true crime and murder investigations from their hometowns
NPR's All Songs Considered, the best new music you’ve never heard, and interviews with artists, writers, and indie labels. Great way to find new music!

What design and art have you been viewing virtually (or maybe some in person) that’s kept you energized and creative?

Harlem Renaissance 100
, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance that encompasses art, literature, fashion, design, and music
MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo)
virtual galleries. Incredibly broad historical collection
The National Gallery, London
's full collection especially the art of the Renaissance
The MET Cloisters – Virtual Tour

The Victoria and Albert Museum Online
, 5,000 years of creativity
from ancient Chinese ceramics to Alexander McQueen, a comprehensive collection of culture, art, and design

Ok, guilty pleasure. Spill—tell us what online/media content has been feeding you in the most commercial, non-academic, but totally satisfying way.

Bridgerton definitely
Learning how to craft the ultimate charcuterie board (with variations like Breakfast charcuterie; or SugarHigh Charcuterie)
A 20 minute afternoon nap every now and then
Planning the perfect road trip
Revisiting/rewatching Disney and Pixar movies
Crossword puzzles (actually completing them)

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