Clever Ep. 215: Kinfolk’s Idris Brewster Uses AR to Empower Collective Memory Building

06.13.24 | By
Clever Ep. 215: Kinfolk’s Idris Brewster Uses AR to Empower Collective Memory Building

Innovative and passionate, Idris Brewster is the co-founder of Kinfolk, a non-profit digital and educational platform with a mission to bring Black and Brown narratives to the forefront of the conversation. Kinfolk uses immersive AR experiences to make history come alive, changing how kids learn about historical heroes and filling in holes that school curriculums and cultural institutions leave in history. Listen to the latest episode of the Clever podcast as host Amy Devers talks with Idris Brewster about how he’s using his technical and artistic expertise to disrupt traditional narratives through immersive experiences, empowering others to do the same.


A Black person with glasses smiles while standing outdoors with trees and sunlight in the background. The image includes text: "EP. 215" and "clever CANDID CREATIVE HUMAN.

Idris Brewster

Not everyone grows up being filmed for a documentary about receiving an education as a Black student at a prestigious, primarily white school, but Brewster did. The project only caught some of his activities, but there was a clear focus on his artistic development. A college grant gave Brewster access to VR technology, allowing him the ability to combine his passions and talents to be expressed through new media. What this ultimately led to was the co-founding of the Kinfolk Foundation in 2017, where Brewster is Executive Director, working with others in augmented reality, location-based technology, and community to engage in placing digital monuments in public spaces, memory building, and foregrounding the Black, Brown, and Queer histories that have been intentionally silenced.

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A giant hair pick sculpture with a clenched fist handle is installed in a river, with a city skyline and a bridge visible in the background.

All Power to All People by Hank Willis Thomas

Art installation with a central statue surrounded by corn plants, set against a warm, colorful background.

Manuel Mock

A large statue of a historical figure in military attire stands in the center of a busy city roundabout surrounded by buildings and light trails from moving vehicles at night.

The Monuments Project, General Toussaint Louverture on Columbus Circle, 2022

A large, pink and yellow abstract sculpture is situated on a sandy waterfront area with a skyline in the background. An information board is in the foreground near a wooden walkway.

Fountain for Survivors by Pamela Council

A large statue depicting a Black woman in a white dress holding a book and flowers stands in the middle of a cobblestone street lined with buildings and parked vehicles.

Tourmaline by Alien Superstar

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.