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UP Fellowship for Change in Design

Center for Urban Pedagogy
Working Time
Full Time


The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is announcing the call for applications for the CUP Fellowship for Change in Design, an initiative to support the development of a pipeline of talented individuals from historically under-represented communities into the design fields, and to dismantle the systemic biases that stand in the way of their advancement as leaders in these fields. The Fellowship, which is a paid, year-long, full-time, training program, is designed to promote and support individuals in gaining the skills, contacts, and experience to help them excel in their design careers.


About CUP

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is a nonprofit organization that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement. We collaborate with designers, educators, advocates, students, and communities to make educational tools that demystify complex policy and planning issues.


We believe that increasing understanding of how these systems work is the first step to better, more equitable, and more diverse community participation in the decision-making that shapes the places where we all live.


For more information, visit CUP at: 


The CUP Fellowship for Change in Design

CUP is committed to fostering greater equity in the work we produce, the way we produce it, and the way we function as an organization. We seek to be an organization where people with different abilities and from different racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds can thrive together, and where our practices create opportunities, not barriers, to achieving greater social justice.


To that end, we have committed to leveraging our unique position at the confluence of design and social justice to promote change in the design fields. As many recent surveys have noted, the design world has been slow to incorporate people from historically under-represented communities into its ranks, particularly in leadership positions. While a variety of causes lead to this, and greater efforts are required to address it, we are committed to using our resources to contribute to and catalyze that change in design.


The Fellow will be selected through a competitive, juried process and will work with CUP from July 2018 – June 2019.


The selected Fellow will:

Gain professional experience while learning CUP’s methodology for creating effective and impactful design projects
Work in collaboration with grassroots organizations and talented designers on critical social justice issues, and learn the language and skills needed to effectively partner with these different disciplines 
Be part of CUP’s intensive methodology for bringing community members (“end users”) directly into the design process, learning valuable skills for facilitating design conversations and incorporating feedback in meaningful ways 
Experience valuable professional development and mentoring opportunities with CUP staff, as well as with established and up-and-coming designers in CUP’s network 
Gain a broad range of marketable professional skills, particularly around how nonprofits work (such as fundraising, budgeting, and project management) 
Get hands-on experience with the nuts and bolts of production, particularly print production 
Work with an amazing staff of professionals and contribute to the growth and development of an exciting, fun, and impactful organization 
Learn about pressing social justice issues, and how to engage with them, as a designer and an individual 



The Fellow will work on a broad range of CUP projects, providing design and organizational support for our Youth Education and Community Education programs. There will be some opportunities for creating original design work, but the bulk of the role will involve providing support on projects with outside designers.


The Fellow will be part of the CUP office, and will work 40 hours a week during the one-year Fellowship period.


The Fellow’s responsibilities include:

Participating as a member of a project team working on programs like Making Policy Public and Public Access Design
Helping to facilitate community workshops using CUP tools, and training others to use them
Design production work for print and web using Adobe Creative Suite, including creating visuals for CUP projects, website, emails, and event invitations; assisting with other design, review, and production, as needed
Managing the print production process for CUP products
Research and general project support on CUP projects
Assisting with CUP communications, including email blasts, fundraising outreach, and press releases, including designing collateral materials
Providing general administrative and organizational support as needed 


Who should apply?

The ideal candidate will:

Identify as a member of a community that is historically under-represented in the design professions, including but not limited to people of color; people from low-income, LGBTQ, or immigrant communities; formerly incarcerated people; and others.
Have a background in design, particularly graphic, communication, or UI design. We believe this is a good position for a recent graduate from a design program. However, we recognize that individuals with potential to become great designers may come from a broader range of experiences. Therefore, we do not require a degree in a design field (or any degree at all). However, we do require evidence, in the form of a portfolio of images, of your skills and abilities as a designer and your proficiency with design software.
Be committed to social justice and racial equity
Possess good verbal and written communication skills
Be proficient with Adobe Creative Suite software, basic web applications, and Microsoft Office
Be friendly, self-directed, extremely detail-oriented, and able to work in a collaborative environment with a broad range of partners 


Timeline and selection process

All applications are due by noon Eastern time on Wednesday, March 28th. (No exceptions. Late submissions will not be accepted.)


Review stage one

CUP staff will review applications for completeness.


In early April, complete applications will be reviewed by a jury of three prominent designers, who will evaluate applicants based on the criteria above, and select up to five finalists to advance to stage two


The finalists will be announced publicly and featured on CUP’s website, email newsletter, and social media in April and early May. (Last year, CUP was also able to collaborate with two of the finalists on other projects, outside of the Fellowship program.)


Review stage two

In April, the finalists will be interviewed by CUP staff, who will make the final selection in early May.


The Fellowship will take place from July 2018 through June 2019.


The Fellow will be part of the jury to select the 2019 Fellow next Spring.


The jury

This year’s jury is made up of:

Juliette Cezzar—designer, writer, and Assistant Professor of Communications Design at the New School’s Parsons School of Design
Edel Rodriguez—visual artist and illustrator
Forest Young—Head of Design at Wolff Olins 


In support of our commitment to achieving greater social justice, CUP strives to be a healthy, positive, and sustainable place to work.


To that end, we provide free health insurance benefits, a flexible leave policy, professional development opportunities, and a reasonable work schedule that allows our staff to have a healthy life both inside and outside of work. We are also committed to working together as a staff to better understand issues of race, equity, and justice and to continue to further our own education on how we engage with and address those issues as individuals and as an organization.


The selected Fellow will receive a stipend in the amount of $36,000 (paid in monthly installments) and have access to a budget of up to $500 for professional development activities (including conferences, classes, or other activities). During the second half of the Fellowship, the Fellow

will have the opportunity to work on her/his/their resume, cover letters, and portfolio during

work hours, and to get feedback and advice from CUP staff on those materials.


The Fellowship will also provide two sets of mentorship opportunities. The first is mentorship from the CUP staff in the methods and processes we use to achieve our mission. This takes place both through working under the guidance of experienced staff on CUP projects, and through one-on-one weekly sessions with a supervisor. The second mentorship opportunity will be through a quarterly series of one-on-one mentoring sessions with each of four prominent designers, from a variety of practices. This is an opportunity to learn more about the field, gain access to leaders in the design world, and ask questions that help you in your own career development. The Fellow will have the opportunity to help select her/his/their mentors. Our 2017-18 Fellow has met with designers like Njoki Gitahi of IDEO, Jonathan Jackson & Sarah Nelson-Jackson of WeShouldDoItAll, and Renda Morton of The New York Times. 


None specified


No requirement


If you are interested in the position, your application should include:

A cover letter, in which you address why you are interested in the Fellowship, what you hope to get out of it, and what your goals are for your career
A current resume
A portfolio of your design work. We are looking for your skills to work on a range of visuals and with type. Please indicate the context in which your projects were completed, and your role.
A list of 3 references, with contact information.


Please send all materials as a single PDF (max 5 MB) to by Wednesday, March 28th at noon. Include “CUP Fellowship for Change in Design” in the subject line.


Please note that we will NOT review applications that do not provide all requested materials. In addition we will not use links to access additional information that is not included directly in the PDF (this includes links to web-based portfolios).

No phone calls, please.


CUP is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to fair and inclusive employment practices, and strongly encourage people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and others who may contribute to the diversification of ideas to apply.