“Designmatters allows us to look at the world as a classroom with an eye toward changing it for the better. We aspire to redefine and expand the role of the artist and designer into one who is a catalyst for social change and innovation.”Mariana Amatullo, Vice President, Designmatters Department
An engaged mode of art and design education that forms creative leaders, Designmatters provides the know-how and aspiration to shape the futures we truly desire for a more sustainable and equitable world.
Through research, advocacy and action, Designmatters engages, empowers and leads an ongoing exploration of art and design as a positive force in society.
Designmatters is integrated across all the educational departments at Art Center College of Design. Activities are organized at 3 key levels:
As an educational magnet and research division for the college, we conceive of projects for the curriculum, oversee the DM Concentration at the undergraduate level, and partner with Graduate Media Design Practices in the MDP/Field Track;
As an agent for social impact educational projects, we are a guarantor for implementation and assessment of projects led by students, faculty and alumni;
As an external relations center for strategic partnership building, we leverage art and design education as tool for positive change in the world.
As Art Center’s social impact department, Designmatters is where local, national and global issues are encountered head-on. Participants are in the world, with the world.
Values that are embedded into the department are filtered into the curriculum, programs and projects. These values represent the spirit of Designmatters, and consist of:
Commitment: We are dedicated to looking at, confronting, researching and addressing real-world issues, and we endeavor to innovate through art and design.
Relevance: We strive to be a model for relevancy in education. We open doors for organizations to engage with artists and designers and see them as key contributors to their mission.
Engagement: We look at the world as our classroom, with an eye toward changing it for the better. Our students engage in experiential learning, giving them an insider’s awareness of the challenges confronting communities around the block or around the world.
Collaboration: We view art and design as a space that invites collaboration with other disciplines, such as: development, science, business, engineering, and anthropology. It is in the intersection between distinct areas of inquiry that we often find the most opportunity for innovation.
Empathy: We believe that artists and designers can be uniquely compassionate as how they relate to the lives of others, and with that comes great responsibility.
Action-led outcomes: We see art and design students as having the gift of creativity and the skills to execute a vision, and when immersed in a real-world context, they can be empowered to become changemakers.
“Turning outward is key to the future of higher education in art and design. Designmatters provides the platform where that can happen.”Lorne M. Buchman, President, Art Center College of Design
At the environmental, social and economic levels, this pillar addresses global challenges by meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future.
With a focus on mobilizing decision-making and provoking change at the policy level, this pillar explores communication tactics and advocacy strategies.
Touching on health issues that impact global populations, this pillar creates the designs of environments, products, systems of delivery, and communication portals.
Using innovative, market-based approaches to create social and environmental impact, this pillar guides a new generation of innovators who want to do well by doing good.
As an educator and researcher deeply immersed in questions that probe how we might better articulate and translate what I like to refer to as “the return on design” (ROD) in the public sector, I have been deeply immersed in a remarkable journey for the past three years of my PhD research at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. There, I have the privilege to study in the inspirational built environment of Frank Gehry’s Peter B. Lewis building, and under the mentorship of a cadre of management and design scholars who have long championed the power of design practices to create alternative futures. Recently in fact, Weatherhead’s commitment for design as a discipline for unique inquiry has taken on a new sense of relevance with the launch of the Design and Innovation Department—a trans-disciplinary entity that brings together design faculty (with Dr. Richard Buchanan as chairman), together with experts in marketing and policy studies, as well as information systems, to think anew about the value design brings to our society’s capacity to act and innovate.
Congratulations to Lynelle Cameron, John Cary and everyone at Autodesk on the launch of the Autodesk Foundation.
The Autodesk Foundation is the first foundation to focus investment exclusively on the people and organizations using design for impact.
To learn more check out this Public Interest Design article on the recent Autodesk Foundation launch.
Public Interest Design
Public Interest Design promotes Designmatters Vice President, Mariana Amatullo’s recently launched survey that takes the concept of “design attitude” and connects it with key activities and dynamics that characterize design in the social innovation context.
By Mariana Amatullo
GOOD reposts Mariana Amatullo’s recent Designmatters blog piece.