Designing women: Meet ReadyLaunch grantees

The big reveal: meet the four designers who will be supported by our ReadyLauch grant and learn what they’ll create.

readymag blog_meet ReadyLaunch grantees

To promote equity in the design field, we at Readymag have re-launched the Designing Women initiative, which archives and celebrates the impact of female-identifying, non-binary, and other persons affected by gendered issues in design. This time, Designing Women is enhanced with a ReadyLaunch Grant for small, realistic design projects. This fellowship continues our dedication to supporting underrepresented designers, encouraging knowledge sharing, and inspiring creativity.

We received over 700 great project proposals and carefully considered them all to choose four grantees. Each grantee will soon receive a $2000 check and assistance in media coverage. They’ll also get support from our grant partners, Female Design Council, including one-year access to a Female Design Council membership and a place in their Mentor Match Program. Read on to see what remarkable ideas will soon become a reality.

Alphabet of Black Creatives by Nia Musiba

Nia Musiba is a queer multidisciplinary artist, designer, muralist, and educator committed to diversifying art and design spaces. Nia was born to a Tanzanian immigrant in the US, and her creative practice has been a way to connect further to her identity. Since 2019, she’s been manifesting this reconnection in community-based projects and public art to inspire other people of color, who have historically been misrepresented in an overly flattened, brutalized, and hypersexualized manner. Nia will use the ReadyLauch grant to support her digital project, the Alphabet of Black Creatives.

“For the project, I interview Black creatives and highlight their experiences—their triumphs, failures, and everything in between—as opposed to the output of these creators. I do it to rehumanize Black creatives, who have often been overlooked, overworked, and underappreciated. The Alphabet of Black Creatives also serves as a resource for emerging creatives to understand the infinite possibilities that exist for them.”—Nia Musiba

With the grant, Nia will interview ten more creatives for the project and compensate them for their time. She will also hire a Black writer to help her write short articles about the creatives. In addition to the project, she’ll host an artist panel for the Black creatives to meet and discuss their experiences.

She Was Lightenin’ by Caprice Humphries

Caprice Humphries is a Black queer femme digital designer, cultural researcher, and storyteller passionate about design, photography, fashion, and contemporary art. She enjoys creating work that shows the breadth and beauty of Black and Brown lived experiences. Humphries remembers that her childhood was colored with memories of her sitting at her elders’ feet to listen as they recounted their fondest memories. No matter which way their whimsical trips down memory lane wound, she was always left with a lesson, virtue, or moral, and she learned a great pride in her culture and the history of Black people.

Caprice will use the Grant to design the She Was Lightenin’ zine. She believes it will bring the communities she belongs to closer through articulating Black experience stories like the ones that nurtured her into adulthood.

“My interactive digital zine, She Was Lightenin’, will celebrate the multifaceted brilliance of Jamaican women in Dancehall from the late ’80s to 2000. Beyond their party appearances, they were parents, innovators, entrepreneurs, disruptors, and cultural icons. They inspire me deeply, both personally and artistically, and I aim to honor their overlooked contributions to contemporary culture.”—Caprice Humphries

South Asia: State of Design and Prospects of Equity by Charu Pragya

Charu Pragya is an Indian researcher and design activist. She moved back to Delhi from New York in 2019, driven by a desire to engage more actively with the political changes she hoped to see and affect. This journey has been transformative for Pragya: she developed a greater appreciation of the nuanced interplay between personal agency and accountability, labor, and broader political and societal aspirations. Charu Pragya transitioned from her collaborative projects on labor conditions with the International Labour Organization, the World Bank, and the GIZ, and her role as Head of Research at an agency, to focus on new endeavors that align more closely with her evolving passions and aspirations, including establishing a new design studio called Public Knowledge.

“Motivated by social justice, the ‘South Asia: State of Design and Prospects of Equity’ project explores the labor conditions of designers in India, connecting labor issues with broader societal dynamics. Akademi Mag also supports it, and such collaboration enhances my ability to spotlight and address key issues, aligning with my commitment to gender equity and improved labor practices.”—Charu Pragya

With the ReadyLaunch grant, Pragya will develop a live survey to study labor conditions among Indian and South Asian designers, distribute it via social media, and analyze the data for insights. Then, she’ll share her findings through Akademi Mag socials and other industry forums to advocate for improved labor practices globally.

Softer Digital Futures Conference 2024, by Nicole Jonasson and Ida Lissner

Nicole Jonasson and Ida Lissner are two digital designers based in Copenhagen. In 2020, they founded SOFTER—a nonprofit female and queer-led organization network and community committed to rewriting the narrative that tech is ‘hard.’ By applying feminist strategies and softness to everything from aesthetics to pedagogies and social spaces, SOFTER inspires and empowers women and gender minorities to practice, discuss, and shape the digital industry. They’ve facilitated conferences, workshops, talks, summer schools, and residencies in Denmark, the UK, and online.

“Our yearly Softer Digital Futures Conference gives our community an opportunity to learn from experts and each other, dive into important subjects, and connect with like-minded creatives. The event creates a ripple effect to create the larger societal change that we wish to see.”—Nicole Jonasson and Ida Lissner

With the funds, Jonasson and Lissner will support the Softer Digital Futures Conference in Copenhagen. The conference will cater primarily to female and gender minorities within digital design and tech, students and young practitioners. It will have a tight schedule of talks, debates, workshops, a community dinner, and space for collaborations.

Keep an eye on Readymag’s blog and social media to learn more about the grantees’ projects: we’ll showcase them in detail in autumn. If you also want to speak up with a design project, take a look at the Designing Women project’s Resources page. It features handpicked design organizations and initiatives that provide funding and support to female and non-binary-oriented projects.