Paola Aguirre is the Partner & Community Designer for Borderless Studio. She was selected as part of CUE’s Fellowship program in 2019, and later selected in 2020 as Senior Fellow to collaborate & incubate the People’s Budget Chicago (PBC). As a practicing community designer, Paola’s role in the team was across different elements including research, design, engagement, documentation and narrative shaping. Alongside her colleagues, she was able to design and test multiple tools, processes and resources to engage communities of color in defining budget and investment priorities for their neighborhoods.
Presentations from Facing Race 2022
The PBC community workshops are central to the engagement approach, and include tools and resources to make this learning and sharing experience highly didactic, inclusive, and accessible. PBC is a multidisciplinary project combining skills, assets, and methods from popular education, civic engagement, community organizing, arts, and design. Throughout the breakout sessions we intend to utilize the PBC toolkit to support community workshops. The toolkit includes assets to interactively participate and visually document the different parts of the workshop:
Reflection and visioning - This part facilitates a conversation about experiences and ideation, focuses on sharing personal experiences and collective visions, and is guided by the question: what do our communities need to be safe and thriving? Reflection and envisioning as part of the methodology is foundational, allowing people to connect and expand their imaginations. This will be mostly reflected in the panel discussion and as we begin building a budget.
Participatory budget game - This part is intended to support a collective discussion about budget priorities and shared decision-making. Understanding and comparing budget data is a very powerful aspect of the engagement process. After developing their visionary community budget, participants compare it to a city’s actual budget. This moment ignites action and activates next steps.
Activation and connection - During this part of the workshop, the group is prompted to synthesize key themes and debrief with one another to actualize their work into action.Speakers: Paola Aguirre, Ivan Arenas