SpeedFriending: No Pressure is a collaborative socially engaged project meant to question existing structures and contribute to the "public good". My collaborator, Alina "Lina" Celik, and I decided to address the social disconnect in the Art Practice department between the students, to the rest of the campus, and also the weirdness many feel after not interacting with many during the pandemic. We decided to facilitate a controlled but relaxed environment structured like a speed dating event, that allowed students within the department to get to know each other on a much deeper level than they typically would in a classroom environment. We made sure to have music, snacks, and good company (of course). We also ensured that as facilitators we were engaged and excited, to ensure the energy was up but that it also felt like a casual hangout between friends. We did minimal photographing, just a few photos for documentation, so we didn't impose on the conversations happening and so the speakers didn't feel like they were being listened to. We had contact cards, that allowed our participants to later reach out to each other and continue those relationships outside of class.
We ran this project on a small scale in September of 2021, but will be running it again on a larger scale for the new incoming Art Practice students in Fall 2022!