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While we don’t currently have plans to offer Design Challenge in 2024, it may be offered again in the future. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date and learn more about our other programs and events!


Community Design Challenge is both a professional development training program and a real-life problem solving experiment. Participants go through a 6-part workshop series exploring the steps of The Design Thinking Process, while concurrently working in a team of 4 participants to design a solution to a real-world problem faced by the Community Partner (our participating local businesses and nonprofits).

Our Goal

To equip participants with a more resilient skill base using the “Design Thinking” process  to navigate today’s challenging world while also delivering a more resilient solution for our Community Partners ~ a win-win for all.

  • 6 workshops + homework throughout the program
  • Approx 7-10 hours of work each week 
  • Up to 16 participants will be selected
  • Participants work in teams of 3-4
  • Team Facilitators guide teams throughout the project
  • Expect both remote and In-person classes & field work 
  • $2,400 stipend per participant, distributed in two payments.

Who is this program for?

Our Fall 2023 program is open to anyone who is interested in growing their professional practice through a deeper understanding & exploration of the Design Thinking Process, and qualifies as low-to-moderate according to state guidelines. This could include (but is not limited to): design and creative professionals, business owners or employees, entrepreneurs, freelancers, non-profit staff, and community members. We encourage people to apply who identify as BIPOC, POC, women and LGBTQIA+



The Design Challenge Program is grant funded through the Real Jobs Rhode Island. Participants must be able to prove that they meet these criteria for eligibility:

  • Participants cannot be students.
  • Participants must live or work in the State of Rhode Island.
  • Participants must be low-to-moderate income, defined as total household income that equals or is below the following limits:

Statewide Income Limits for Rhode Island 2022-2023 (Based on Total Household Income)


Selection Criteria+

Applicants will be reviewed and the final participants will be chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Willingness to address change within the community.
  • Expressed benefit that the program will provide the participant.
  • Experience in working on teams and/or openness to a collaborative design process.
  • Availability to participate fully in the program timeline.
  • Enthusiasm and openness to dig into a time intensive and exciting process!
Program Timeline+
  • Application Launch: 8/7/23
  • Info Session: TBD 
  • Applications Due: 9/6/23 
  • Notification to Awardees: 9/15/23 
  • Program Dates:
    • Orientation: Wednesday 10/4 (time & location TBD) 
    • Workshop  1: Design Thinking Process + Teamwork – 10/6, 1-5pm (in person in PVD) 
    • Workshop 2: Design Justice – 10/11, 4-6pm (zoom) 
    • Workshop 3: Design Research & User Experience – 10/13, 2-4pm (zoom) 
    • Workshop 4: Synthesis, Ideation and Prototyping – 10/20, 1-5pm (in person in PVD) 
    • Workshop 5:  Creative Facilitation & Public Engagement – 10/27, 2-4pm (zoom) 
    • Workshop 6: The Final Stages: Iteration & Implementation – 11/4, 1-5pm (in person in PVD) 
    • Projects Due + Final Presentations – 11/14 (time & location TBD) 

*Final schedule will be confirmed upon acceptance.


Rhode Island State Council On The Arts

Real Jobs Rhode Island