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September 12th, 2014
thesmithian

'America’s racial underclass, the off-the-grid hustlers and entrepreneurs who many Black elites ignore or demonize, rarely sees political leaders of any color advocating for them…'

The divide, while generational on the surface, is also fueled by class, as young people with education, networks and access tend to view politics as a long-term process – one that comes with victories, but also compromise and setbacks. Millions of young Blacks have no entrée to the nuances of American democracy and racial struggle. Their world is more painfully straightforward and wrenching—Black folks get shot in the streets with no hope of justice.

more.

August 4th, 2014
thesmithian
hrdcvrlife:

We knew, when we met with Claudia in midtown Manhattan, that she would bring HRDCVR to life.
We wanted someone to listen to our every wild idea, someone who pushed back, and someone who had her own ideas. We wanted someone who gets the HRDCVR mission. We wanted someone brilliant and creative—and recommended by some of the most amazing and talented people we know.
So: Claudia de Almeida, an “award-winning art director, graphic design instructor and self-proclaimed type nerd” will be directing the design of the HRDCVR. 
As she discusses in this chat with me, Claudia grew up in Brazil, and moved to the United States when she was 18. After graduating from NYC’s School of Visual Arts, Claudia worked for nearly 10 years as a designer and art director in New York, moving to San Francisco in 2013 to serve as Design Director at WIRED. We’re thrilled she’s on board. Her spirit is everything. —Danyel Smith, cofounder, HRDCVR
Why HRDCVR? HRDCVR is a dream project! As editors (yes, art directors are editors too!) and as storytellers we look at the world with a different set of eyes—everything is an opportunity, a story waiting to be told…HRDCVR celebrates amazing content that is around us, and brings it to life. It’s for everyone and anyone. 
Describe your style. Well, I don’t believe in having a style. I think of style as something you look back on…after 30 years…I believe in having a design philosophy…approaching each project with a fresh set of eyes and as a one-of-a-kind piece. I look into the content, and what I call the VOICE. I look for visual ways to develop this Voice. Everything must relate, and speak in similar tones—or disturb it—for a specific reason. My work relies heavily on typography and its nuances to tell these stories. I think of design very much like music—layering different textures that complement or challenge each other. In my eyes, design should be appropriate, be unapologetic, smart, beautiful and optimistic.
 What does it mean to be a creative—in 2014? This is not a 9-5. Being creative is not a job, or a career, it’s a lifestyle. You look at the world and see colors, textures, unexpected combinations that create something beautiful. I’m very inspired by food and fashion, and those are things I experience when I’m away from the computer, out and about in life.
What was your first design work? My first professional design work was a layout I did for T: The New York Times Style Magazine, when I was a freelance junior designer working for Janet Froelich, just starting off. It was a page that looked back on the history of the short jacket, it was called “A Short Story,” and it’s still one of the favorite pages I have ever designed. 
How does design influence? Can it influence? Can it push change? Design is everything and everything is design. We make design decisions every day. We design our lives, we design our look and we design our careers. What should I look like today? What should my house look like? What should I do with my life? That’s the power of design. On a practical level, graphic designers like myself—and product, interior and fashion designers—we’re solving everyday problems by making the world more functional, more beautiful and easier to navigate. Design informs, inspires, challenges, provokes and makes us think. If you ask me, all of those things improve our lives and push us forward as a society.
What is it about type, letters, and lettering that appeals to you so much? My father died when I was very young. After his things had been packed we still had a variety of random personal items of his that my mother kept. All of those everyday objects were treasures to me. All of them were typographical. He had a stapler with one of those old school labels on it (apparently he was huge at labeling all his office stuff), his notebooks and blackbooks with his amazing handwriting, his Rolleiflex camera, all of those things told me about someone I couldn’t remember, and through them I discovered a lot of things about my father. Type for me is a way to connect, is a way to express feelings and ideas in a more powerful way.
What do you love most about teaching? I love sharing my love for design, and helping young and upcoming designers find their own voice, discover their own set of tools to express their ideas and how they view the world, how they solve creative problems. I am a huge believer in a personal point of view, and one’s own way of doing something. I encourage it and I’m inspired by it. When I teach, I learn. Because of it, I think I’ve become better at collaborating with others, interacting with co-workers, leading a team, and presenting to clients. I haven’t taught since moving to California and it’s left a huge hole in my life. There is nothing more rewarding then seeing other people succeed and grow.
Do you miss Brasil? What is the design scene like there? I miss Brasil every day. I love my life here, but I miss my country, the food, the people, the environment, even the bad stuff, the corrupt government and the frustrating news cycle. All of that makes Brasil the place that it is. All of the struggle, the anger, the Brazilian’s never ending love and belief that Brasil can be better. Passion for everything—soccer, music, summer. All of these amazing things are creative fuel, and as a result the design scene in Brasil is rich and growing. There are great designers and illustrators in Brasil that definitely have an international influence to their work, but with a strong Brazilian flavor, a lot of joy. Brazilian design is full of risk taking.
You’re currently living on both coasts. What do you love about California? And New York? Both are exciting and inspiring places. They both offer an incredible mix of diversity, which is the best way to get inspired. People from everywhere, raised in different ways, with different values, all coming together. That’s the best way to learn and to be exposed to new ideas. The physical landscape of both places is amazing and promotes different and amazing experiences. I also have to add Seattle to my list. I think you’ll find me there more and more as well. 
Describe the perfect situation for doing your work? An unlimited supply of Nespresso coffee, a bottle of smartwater, and working and collaborating with amazing people that inspire and challenge me. 
What are your highest hopes for the look and feel of HRDCVR? I want it to feel incredibly elevated but incredibly human, a mix of old and new, an incredible journey of textures. I want the reader to feel all the joy and love all of us put into it, and as they read it, to feel how special this project is.

[look of the day]
ed. note: this is an exciting day for our HRDCVR.

hrdcvrlife:

We knew, when we met with Claudia in midtown Manhattan, that she would bring HRDCVR to life.

We wanted someone to listen to our every wild idea, someone who pushed back, and someone who had her own ideas. We wanted someone who gets the HRDCVR mission. We wanted someone brilliant and creative—and recommended by some of the most amazing and talented people we know.

So: Claudia de Almeida, an “award-winning art director, graphic design instructor and self-proclaimed type nerd” will be directing the design of the HRDCVR.

As she discusses in this chat with me, Claudia grew up in Brazil, and moved to the United States when she was 18. After graduating from NYC’s School of Visual Arts, Claudia worked for nearly 10 years as a designer and art director in New York, moving to San Francisco in 2013 to serve as Design Director at WIRED. We’re thrilled she’s on board. Her spirit is everything. —Danyel Smith, cofounder, HRDCVR

Why HRDCVR? HRDCVR is a dream project! As editors (yes, art directors are editors too!) and as storytellers we look at the world with a different set of eyes—everything is an opportunity, a story waiting to be told…HRDCVR celebrates amazing content that is around us, and brings it to life. It’s for everyone and anyone. 

Describe your style. Well, I don’t believe in having a style. I think of style as something you look back on…after 30 years…I believe in having a design philosophy…approaching each project with a fresh set of eyes and as a one-of-a-kind piece. I look into the content, and what I call the VOICE. I look for visual ways to develop this Voice. Everything must relate, and speak in similar tones—or disturb it—for a specific reason. My work relies heavily on typography and its nuances to tell these stories. I think of design very much like music—layering different textures that complement or challenge each other. In my eyes, design should be appropriate, be unapologetic, smart, beautiful and optimistic.

 What does it mean to be a creative—in 2014? This is not a 9-5. Being creative is not a job, or a career, it’s a lifestyle. You look at the world and see colors, textures, unexpected combinations that create something beautiful. I’m very inspired by food and fashion, and those are things I experience when I’m away from the computer, out and about in life.

What was your first design work? My first professional design work was a layout I did for T: The New York Times Style Magazine, when I was a freelance junior designer working for Janet Froelich, just starting off. It was a page that looked back on the history of the short jacket, it was called “A Short Story,” and it’s still one of the favorite pages I have ever designed. 

How does design influence? Can it influence? Can it push change? Design is everything and everything is design. We make design decisions every day. We design our lives, we design our look and we design our careers. What should I look like today? What should my house look like? What should I do with my life? That’s the power of design. On a practical level, graphic designers like myself—and product, interior and fashion designers—we’re solving everyday problems by making the world more functional, more beautiful and easier to navigate. Design informs, inspires, challenges, provokes and makes us think. If you ask me, all of those things improve our lives and push us forward as a society.

What is it about type, letters, and lettering that appeals to you so much? My father died when I was very young. After his things had been packed we still had a variety of random personal items of his that my mother kept. All of those everyday objects were treasures to me. All of them were typographical. He had a stapler with one of those old school labels on it (apparently he was huge at labeling all his office stuff), his notebooks and blackbooks with his amazing handwriting, his Rolleiflex camera, all of those things told me about someone I couldn’t remember, and through them I discovered a lot of things about my father. Type for me is a way to connect, is a way to express feelings and ideas in a more powerful way.

What do you love most about teaching? I love sharing my love for design, and helping young and upcoming designers find their own voice, discover their own set of tools to express their ideas and how they view the world, how they solve creative problems. I am a huge believer in a personal point of view, and one’s own way of doing something. I encourage it and I’m inspired by it. When I teach, I learn. Because of it, I think I’ve become better at collaborating with others, interacting with co-workers, leading a team, and presenting to clients. I haven’t taught since moving to California and it’s left a huge hole in my life. There is nothing more rewarding then seeing other people succeed and grow.

Do you miss Brasil? What is the design scene like there? I miss Brasil every day. I love my life here, but I miss my country, the food, the people, the environment, even the bad stuff, the corrupt government and the frustrating news cycle. All of that makes Brasil the place that it is. All of the struggle, the anger, the Brazilian’s never ending love and belief that Brasil can be better. Passion for everything—soccer, music, summer. All of these amazing things are creative fuel, and as a result the design scene in Brasil is rich and growing. There are great designers and illustrators in Brasil that definitely have an international influence to their work, but with a strong Brazilian flavor, a lot of joy. Brazilian design is full of risk taking.

You’re currently living on both coasts. What do you love about California? And New York? Both are exciting and inspiring places. They both offer an incredible mix of diversity, which is the best way to get inspired. People from everywhere, raised in different ways, with different values, all coming together. That’s the best way to learn and to be exposed to new ideas. The physical landscape of both places is amazing and promotes different and amazing experiences. I also have to add Seattle to my list. I think you’ll find me there more and more as well. 

Describe the perfect situation for doing your work? An unlimited supply of Nespresso coffee, a bottle of smartwater, and working and collaborating with amazing people that inspire and challenge me. 

What are your highest hopes for the look and feel of HRDCVR? I want it to feel incredibly elevated but incredibly human, a mix of old and new, an incredible journey of textures. I want the reader to feel all the joy and love all of us put into it, and as they read it, to feel how special this project is.

[look of the day]

ed. note: this is an exciting day for our HRDCVR.

Reblogged from HRDlife
July 10th, 2014
thesmithian

'A powerful government workers' union will end its support for the United Negro College Fund after the group accepted $25 million from the conservative powerhouse Koch brothers and the college fund's president appeared at a Koch event. In a letter made public Thursday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said it will no longer partner with or raise funds for the fund, known for its iconic motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”'

more.

July 4th, 2014
thesmithian

'In 2013, of the 30,000 students that took U.S. high school Advanced Placement computer science exam, less than 20% were female, eight percent were Hispanic, and three percent were black. No female, black or Hispanic students took the exam in Mississippi or Montana. The poorest communities, often the most diverse, have the most limited access to technology. According to a Pew Internet study, just three percent of teachers of the poorest classrooms feel that their students have access to the digital tools they need at home.'

more.

June 30th, 2014
thesmithian

'…the deference our professional and political classes feel toward the hallowed groves of academe, probably explain why this industry has been able to get away with 30 years of something close to price gouging, a practice that would never be tolerated from any other provider of life’s necessities. They also explain why American students have done virtually nothing to stop the spiral while students elsewhere take to the streets in fury when threatened with the tiniest tuition increases.'

more.

June 20th, 2014
thesmithian

…Japanese artist Yusuke Asai has covered a primary school classroom in Maharashtra in an intricate and hypnotizing mural made with mud.

more.

June 14th, 2014
thesmithian

ucresearch:

In 1942 a young African American Ph.D. in mathematics, David Blackwell, interviewed for a teaching job at Berkeley. He was hired, but not for many years.

When finally invited to join the statistics faculty in 1952, several of Blackwell’s new colleagues told him there was a backstory to his failed application a decade earlier. It had been decided to offer him a position in mathematics, they said, but the wife of the departmental chair, who sometimes invited the faculty to dinner, insisted she would not have a black person in her house — and the offer was squelched.

Blackwell, who eventually became the first tenured black professor in the University of California system, shares this vivid memory in a 10-hour interview with the Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Office (ROHO). His life history is part of a recently completed oral-history series on 18 pioneering African American faculty and senior administrators, hired before the advent of affirmative-action policies in the 1970s, who broke barriers and laid the groundwork for those who followed.

Read more

[look of the hour]

June 9th, 2014
thesmithian

'…what happens when I meet someone and we want to get married. Then my debt becomes their debt…These are all adult things that I never thought about when I was 18 and agreeing to take on a student loan.”

more.

June 8th, 2014
thesmithian

…chronicles the deterioration of the country’s once-vaunted state college system, where a majority of students pursuing a postsecondary degree are enrolled. She bemoans the fact that the community ­colleges, which play a central role in educating the “less advantaged,” must beg for money, and she lays into for-profit ­colleges like the University of Phoenix, the largest of the 1,000 or so of these institutions that have sprouted up in recent years.

more.

…chronicles the deterioration of the country’s once-vaunted state college system, where a majority of students pursuing a postsecondary degree are enrolled. She bemoans the fact that the community ­colleges, which play a central role in educating the “less advantaged,” must beg for money, and she lays into for-profit ­colleges like the University of Phoenix, the largest of the 1,000 or so of these institutions that have sprouted up in recent years.

more.

May 27th, 2014
thesmithian
His scores had earned him admission to the University of Virginia, but the school had politely offered to pay his tuition at Howard once it discovered he was black. He became the president of his engineering class at Howard and went on to succeed in his career. But the one thing I noticed very early on was that he didn’t have any white friends or colleagues. As far as I could tell, the only white people my father knew were the fathers and mothers of the kids on my sports teams. Early in my life he made it very clear in his words and actions that he wanted me to be able to navigate the white world seamlessly so that I could, as he always put it, write my own ticket.
May 18th, 2014
thesmithian

'…the belief that students were often blocked from living up to their potential by the presence of certain fears and anxieties and doubts…These feelings were especially virulent at moments of educational transition—like the freshman year of high school or the freshman year of college. And they seemed to be particularly debilitating among members of groups that felt themselves to be under some special threat or scrutiny: women in engineering programs, first-generation college students, African-Americans in the Ivy League.'

The negative thoughts took different forms in each individual…but they mostly gathered around two ideas. One set of thoughts was about belonging. Students in transition often experienced profound doubts about whether they really belonged—or could ever belong—in their new institution. The other was connected to ability. Many students believed in what Carol Dweck had named an entity theory of intelligence—that intelligence was a fixed quality that was impossible to improve through practice or study.

more.

May 18th, 2014
thesmithian

Newark has fifty new principals, four new public high schools, a new teachers’ contract that ties pay to performance, and an agreement by most charter schools to serve their share of the neediest students. But…

a lot more, here.

+++++

photo by Krisanne Johnson

May 17th, 2014
thesmithian
You know, I was locked up previously…I feel way more confident now.

Jerome Davis

a 42-year-old who graduated from ECA’s weatherization program, said his work with the Connection Training Services staff instilled a sense of confidence in him that he lacked the last time he had been released from jail.

CTS is

…has worked to give the formerly incarcerated of Philadelphia—where the recidivism rate is 65.3 percent and three-year reincarceration rate is 41.1 percent — the skills they need to land on their feet. Last week, CTS graduated the first crop of participants in their new federally funded Training to Work program.

May 17th, 2014
thesmithian

Baldwin’s frank…perspectives…may have made him unpopular at a time which many people prefer to think of as postracial, and in which Black classics must fight for the few token slots available on a whitewashed reading list.

more.

Baldwin’s frank…perspectives…may have made him unpopular at a time which many people prefer to think of as postracial, and in which Black classics must fight for the few token slots available on a whitewashed reading list.

more.

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