Instructor: Laura Allcorn

Two Saturdays:

Saturday, April 13th, 2019, 10:00am - 6:00pm

Saturday, April 27th, 2019, 10:00am - 6:00pm

Want to stage a demonstration that pushes beyond marching with signs? In this workshop, you’ll explore something I like to call “Participatory Satire”— a tongue-in-cheek style of demonstration that requires public participation. Imagine we’re all going to act out the punchline of the giant joke that’s being played on us, illuminating its absurdity.

You’ll learn how to apply the basic principles of satire and experience design to engage the public in an “Participatory Satire” style demonstration.

Session 1: Defining + Practicing Participatory Satire

First, we will talk about satire—What is satire? Why it is a useful communication tool? How can it be applied to shine a spotlight on absurdities?

Then, we’ll talk about experience design— What is experience design as it relates to public activations? What approaches and strategies lead to success? What are enticing invitations to participate? How do you make participants feel in on the joke, not the butt of it? How can you reward participation?

Once we’re all speaking the same language and have a handle on the basics, we’ll start applying these modes of thinking to an absurdity, big or small, that we think needs attention. We’ll research and strategize to understand the impacts the absurdity has on people, the public’s level of awareness or misunderstanding, and tactics that might allow us to reach them. Together, we’ll develop a “Participatory Satire” concept, a sketch, and an actionable production plan for activating our work in a public space during the final workshop.

Session 2: Taking Participatory Satire To The Streets

We’ll all work together to take our Participatory Satire concept into the wild. We’ll quickly create set pieces, props, scripts, costumes, handouts, new-fangled machines—whatever it takes to create a compelling experience. Then, we’ll perform it in public, making subtle modifications as we learn what works and what doesn’t. Afterwards, we’ll discuss which methods succeeded and which could use improvement.

Who is this class for? Those who are passionate about engaging the public in dialogue and debate through art and design. Designers, Activists, Researchers + Scientists, Strategic Thinkers, Experience Designers, Performers, Comedians/Satirists, Builders/Makers, Architects, Creative Coders, Writers, and Storytellers.

Prerequisites: A desire and ability to collaborate with a diverse group of people. Comfort with making and engaging with the public.

Materials: For lectures, a notebook and your favorite writing implement, and a laptop.

For studio, we’ll discuss supplies that we need in the first session. If you have spare craft supplies that meet our needs please bring them.

We have a limited number of scholarships for our workshops. If you need an application, please send an email to with your complete name and contact information.

If you need academic credits for the workshops, please contact