The Lemonade Project, "Birthing as Resistance"

“Birthing as Resistance”

“Type ‘girls’ into the search engine and describe what you see.”

Set in the darkened auditorium of our Midtown neighbors, the Alliance Française d’Atlanta, a group of men and women attending The Lemonade Project Session Two faced a projection screen. With cell phone in hand, they searched for images of men, boys, girls, and women, as similar screenshots from a Google search appeared before them.

“I see mostly women.”

“There’s only one girl, and she looks out of place.”

Observations rang out into the air, often met with nods of agreement and collective musing, as we journeyed through a meaningful collaborative exercise showcasing the media’s role in our own socialization and the conceptualization of ourselves.

Yet, before socialization lays claim to us, we are born. Merriam-Webster defines birth as the emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent. But, what does birthing truly mean? Can it only be used in reference to the relationship between a living thing, and its parent? Can it inhabit more?

At MODA, we present design in all of it forms, including redesign. What if we could radically transform birthing as a process that we can do for ourselves? What if, in the process of birthing, we could design our own self-concept that encourages the blossoming of our true selves? What if birthing became an act of resistance against prejudice?

As we exchanged stories that November night, we slowly chipped away at the lessons society taught us in our youths. We took steps together towards our own rebirths, and began the long journey towards designing social justice for both ourselves and our communities.

-Blair Banks, MODA Education Coordinator and Design Club Manager

The Lemonade Project, Kick-Off

Get In Formation.

MODA is no stranger to radical ideas and out-of-the-box conversations about design’s capacity to solve problems, transform lives, and make the world a better place. So, naturally, no one was surprised to find a printed copy of Beyonce’s Lemonade Syllabus laying on a round marble table in the office of Laura Flusche, MODA's Executive Director, one morning.

Fast forward through expansive conversations about Beyonce’s visual album and all of the design decisions that went into producing something so spectacular, juxtaposed with conversation about our need to design for social justice — that's how the Lemonade Project was born at MODA. Before we knew it we had a timeline, one rallying around fearless leaders Blair Banks and Ariana Hamilton, and a launch plan for 12 months of Lemonade activation. This program marks a year-long effort to design an open and accepting space for conversation and action intended to advance social justice in Atlanta.

With the announcement of the Lemonade Project, the MODA team opened registration for three sessions to be held in October, November, and December 2016. In just a few days, all the sessions sold out. Moving quickly from a 200 seat lecture hall to a 400 seat theatre, MODA opened up the wait list for Session One in order to accommodate as many people as possible, and kicked off the project with a screening of the visual album followed by breakout conversations dedicated to the themes that inform the chapters of Lemonade. Being in that room, watching Lemonade on the big screen, and being a part of the conversation that followed was nothing short of amazing. And just like that, the beyhive was In Formation.