Designer: Design Studio for Social Intervention (United States); Collaborators: Local artists, photographers, volunteers (Canada, Serbia, United States); Locations: Canada, Serbia, United States (Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon); Years: 2016–present

Social Emergency Response Centers (SERC) are pop-up workshops designed to help communities when they need them. Rather than responding to natural disasters like hurricanes, the centers were created to respond to social emergencies such as social injustices, oil spills, gentrification, and more. The team reimagines clear emergency procedures, like the “stop, drop, and roll” fire drill, asking participants to STOP, look around, gather your people; DROP fear, anxiety, assumptions; let’s ROLL, roll out new ideas, roll together . . . . Co-led by activists and artists, SERCs aim to bring communities together to envision and build a stronger, more just democracy.

Image: SERC healing activity featuring Move Baby Move founder Aaron Palmer, 2017; Photo: Lori Lobenstine