If my department chair told me 2 years ago that by the time I graduate from Art Center, I will have conducted field research in Peru and India, studied and collaborated with MBAs in Singapore and worked at my dream company in San Francisco, I would never have believed him. Ironically, he actually did allude to such possibilities during my 4th term review and even in hindsight I’ll never know how he could have guessed so accurately. As an Environmental Design student with a Designmatters Concentration, I have been able to travel to the most curious corners of the world, meet and connect to amazing people and have learned more about myself than ever before.
Gala Narezo (Photography and Imaging ’01) is also a graduate of Yale University. She started her career in television and film production before focusing on photography. Her projects have been exhibited internationally. Her book of photographs, “Locales,” documenting quickly disappearing local shops in the gentrifying neighborhood of Colonia Roma, in Mexico City, was published by Artes de Mexico. In her photography and collaborations Gala specializes in creating platforms for social issues using design thinking, and storytelling. Currently Gala works as a multidisciplinary art director. Her recent projects have included social awareness campaigns, urban interventions and curricula development for topics as varied as immigration, sustainability and mindful education.
Last summer, I was fortunate enough to intern with Designmatters. At the time, I was unsure about what to expect, and frankly, I was not completely convinced by the new found popularity of social entrepreneurship. That being said, it did not take long for me to experience, first-hand, just how effectively collaborative entrepreneurial projects can change the world around us. As I left my internship, I acquired an interest in researching the complex social problems in the world today and gauging the sustainability of the measures being taken to solve them. Coincidentally, having just been accepted to a politics and economic development program in Santiago, Chile for the fall semester, I decided to engage in this interest through a 3-week backpacking stint in South America. Carrying the skills I obtained during my time at Designmatters, I was able to participate in a rare, incredible experience.
This March, Art Center Product Design students Herbert Hsu and Kevin Heidkamp attended the 2013 Compostmodern Conference in San Francisco, supported by the Office of the Provost and Designmatters. They were accompanied by Product Design faculty member Dice Yamaguchi and Designmatters Fellow-in-Residence Muireann McMahon. The following is a two-part blog post in which both Herbert and Kevin share their unique Compostmodern experiences.
Ramone Muñoz, who has been teaching at Art Center for nearly 30 years, enjoys giving students design challenges with heavy research components. The class project from last Fall entitled “Perspectives” has been assigned a few times over the last 20 years.
In this re-post from the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, we are highlighting the Design and Social Impact white paper based on the 2012 Social Impact Design Summit.
Dustin York is a 2012 graduate from the Art Center College of Design with an MA in Media Design. In 2010, he was a Designmatters Graduate Design Fellow, where he worked on UNICEF’s Child Friendly Technology, a framework for adapting and deploying technology into developing regions’ primary school curriculums. In 2011, he worked with the MIT Senseable City Lab on the LIVE Singapore! project, where he designed and visualized speculative futures revolving around the real-time networked urban environment. Recently, Dustin started working as an interaction designer for Social Finance, Inc., a San Francisco-based start-up that provides an alternative to the traditional student loan by connecting alumni investors with student borrowers.
The month of December has brought about a mad dash to reach the completion of another rewarding academic term, but there is no question that the end of the calendar year and holiday season also always invites a heightened contemplative mood. I tend to mark it with a wrap up post that usually provides a personal reflection of some of the highlights of the activities the department led, or participated in, throughout the past twelve months. READ MORE
In this re-post from the Stories of UNICEF Blog, Chris Fabian (Co-Lead, Innovation Unit, UNICEF) shares his thoughts about global, hybrid collaborations and how they relate to current UNICEF projects. One project in particular, involves Art Center students from the brand new Media Design Practices Field Track. Students and faculty are currently in Kampala, Uganda conducting field research at UNICEF’s Innovation Lab.
Students on the Media Design Practices Field Track work in a real-world context where social issues, media infrastructure, and communication technology intersect. Field track partnerships such as UNICEF are run jointly with Designmatters.
To learn more, check out the MDP/Field Track Blog.
In the spring of 2012, one Undergraduate Film and two Graduate Broadcast Cinema students traveled to Kauai, Hawaii as part of the Designmatters Fellowship Program, in order to create a documentary for the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. The student team was comprised of a director (Olaolu Jegede), a cinematographer (Jonathan Augustavo), and an editor (Jorge Sandoval). This project was supported by a grant from the Acacia Foundation. In this blog post, Olaolu gives a candid account of his experiences in Hawaii directing the documentary entitled Garden in the Sea.
Safe Agua Peru projects GiraDora and Balde a Balde were recently awarded E-Team grants from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.
Guest Blogger Sherry Hoffman is a Research and Professional Practice Faculty member at Art Center College of Design.
Colorado seems like a funny choice for a workshop on Earthquake Risk Perception. I was greeted in the Denver airport by multiple Tornado Shelter signs along with Baggage Claim and the Men and Women’s Restrooms. I didn’t realize that tornadoes were a part of their culture and way of life, the way perhaps earthquakes are a part of ours in Southern California. But we don’t have signs that tell us where to go for shelter or what to do in the event of an earthquake. It’s kind of unspoken or joked about but not part of our daily visual conscious.
In May of 2012, 10 Art Center students and 2 faculty members made their way to Bangalore, India to conduct research for the Designmatters, Living Home India project sponsored by Ashoka. The team spent 9 days in Bangalore investigating the living needs of low-income housing dwellers in India, with the ultimate goal of creating a platform for developing innovative furniture and living systems for India’s estimated 130 million-person user base.
Designmatters Vice President, Mariana Amatullo was recently presented the inaugural Outstanding Leadership in Social Innovation Education Award from the Dell Social Innovation Challenge.
“Experiencing like breathing is rhythm of intakings and outgivings. The succesion is punctuated and made a rhythm by the experience of intervals, periods in which one phase is ceasing and the other is inchoate and preparing.”
- John Dewey in Art as Experience
Dave Foster (Advertising ’05) is a social innovation designer, focused on creating solutions for social and environmental benefit based on deep understanding of issues and communities in need. His expertise is in social enterprise, sustainability and, increasingly, development and appropriate technologies. He is the founder and editor of BoP Designer, a website and blog dedicated to “solutions and social innovations at the ‘base of the pyramid’”. His personal portfolio can be found at davefoster.info. Dave currently lives in Dubai, UAE.
At the onset of 2012, select members from the Safe Agua Peru team made their way to the University of Texas at Austin to participate in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge Sustainable Vision Venturelab, with the goal of sharing preliminary design outcomes as well as learning business strategies to move their projects forward. In the following blog post, Alex Cabunoc (Product Design) gives insight into his time spent in Texas and shares the process of preparing a business plan for his design, GiraDora (a human powered washer and spin dryer). In addition to GiraDora, two other Safe Agua Peru projects also participated in the Venture lab; Balde a Balde (a portable faucet that provides running water from any bucket) and Vitamigos (a new fun, playful, & interactive experience for moms & kids that brings together water purification & nutrition in a tasty beverage).
With the Designmatters December/January blog entry, it has become sort of a tradition to take a beat to reflect about milestones, while jotting down some thoughts about what may lay ahead with the start of the New Year.
Alumnus Daniel Lee (Graphic Design 07) recently returned home to New York City after completing six weeks of volunteer work at Lily of the Valley, an orphanage in South Africa that has been providing love and care to children abandoned or orphaned due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic for over 20 years. In this blog post, Daniel reflects on his days in South Africa and discusses the experiences that have influenced him to return for an additional six months to continue his work at the orphanage.
Students Mariana Prieto (Product Design) and Erik Anderson (Graduate Broadcast Cinema) recently completed a return trip to Lima, Peru as part of the Fall term Safe Agua Peru studio.
Outcomes from the award winning Safe Agua Chile project are being featured in the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s “Design with the Other 90%: Cities” Exhibition at the United Nations (October 15, 2011-January 9, 2012.) Guest bloggers Penny Herscovitch (Environmental Design faculty), Dan Gottlieb (Environmental Design faculty), Liliana Becerra (Product Design faculty) and Elizabeth Bayne (Graduate Broadcast Cinema alumna) attended the exhibition opening in NYC. In this post, the team gives some insight into the experience of being recognized by Design with the Other 90% and having their work showcased at the United Nations.
With the facilitation of Designmatters and the Provost’s office, students Siddharth Vanchinathan, Byron Wilson and Jasen Mehta (Graduate Industrial Design) conducted field research in Kerala, India, over the summer as part of a student and faculty team from Caltech, Saintgits College of Engineering and Saintgits Institute of Management. The field research has informed and grounded their current work investigating design solutions for “base of the pyramid” markets.
This research trip is continuing as part of their current course work for Design for Development (E/M 105), a Caltech class led by Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Ken Pickar. Instructor Nathan Allen is the Art Center faculty mentor for the team.
In this repost from the team’s blog, Graduate Industrial Design student Siddharth Vanchinathan gives an earnest account of this recent trip to India.
Designmatters Vice President, Mariana Amatullo reflects on her time spent in Cerro Verde, a community on the outskirts of Lima, Peru where Art Center students have been conducting field research in collaboration with the Innovation Center of Un Techo Para Mi Pais, as part of the Safe Agua Peru project.
Guest Blogger Liliana Becerra (Product Design, Faculty) shares her experiences participating in the National Collegiate of Inventors and Innovators Alliance’s (NCIIA) first Sustainable Vision Teaching Lab held at Colorado State University.
Guest Blogger Mariana Prieto di Colloredo (Product Design, 6th term) is the lead contact of Art Center’s social impact student organization, Mustard; a member of the sustainability-focused student organization Eco-Council; and a candidate for the Designmatters Concentration in Art and Design for Social Impact.
On my plane ride back from D.C. to LA last week, I kept marveling about yet another first for us at Art Center: the opportunity to have a public showcase for our collaboration with the Innovation Center of Un Techo Para Mi Pais at the atrium lobby of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). READ MORE
Guest Blogger John X. Carey (Film Department, 8th term) is the recipient of the 2011 Young Director’s Award from the Cannes Film Festival as well as the Art Director’s Gold Cube Award for his film, “Voices from the Field”.
Bright and brilliant minds gathered at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on Saturday, March 26th, for Open Minds 2011, the student exhibition organized by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) in conjunction with the organization’s 15th Annual Conference, Open: Catalyzing Innovation. The conference was attended by more than 380 faculty and students throughout the country who share NCIIA’s vision and benefit each year from its mission: “to support technology innovation and entrepreneurship in universities and colleges to create experiential learning opportunities for students, and successful, socially beneficial businesses.”
[Reprinted in part from Art Center's blog The Dotted Line]
Teed ["in waiting"]: Portraits of South Sudanhighlights portraits and images captured while Graphic Design student Tyler Paulson served local missionaries in the region during parts of 2008 and 2010. Paulson’s journey captures a sensitive, yet exciting transition for a generation of people that have only known war. His images praise a world of peace which has quickly opened exciting opportunities for healing and growth.
Guest blog by Bianca Fuchs, student, Graphic Design Department
Designers and geo scientists? That seemed to be the unasked question on the minds of the engineers, policy makers, meteorologists, emergency managers, and other participants at the US Geological Survey’s ARkStorm Summit in Sacramento on January 13 and 14, 2011.
As I sit down to write the final blog entry of the year, I am making a conscious decision to resist compiling another trite “year in review” about what we have been up to with Designmatters at Art Center.
Last October, our class of 12 students was still busily refining concepts, building mockups, and preparing for midterm presentations for Safe Agua, a sponsored project focused on addressing water issues in the campamentos, or slums, of Santiago, Chile. Since then, six projects were developed, including a shower solution, dishwashing station, and community laundromat being field-tested by Un Techo para Chile.
Art Center’s fall term started for us on the heels of an extraordinary week in Shanghai. Highlights included the opportunity to experience first hand the pageantry and wondrous scale of the 2010 World Expo;
Who needs an alarm clock when you can wake to the sound of a choir of monks?
NikolausKloster, a 600 year-old monastery in Germany has an atmosphere that I would describe as a charming castle mixed with a frat house. This special place was home to me and 23 others for a week as we learned about key issues of sustainability and attempted to tackle some of them.
This famous verse from the great Spanish poet Antonio Machado kept echoing in my head during the events that marked the end of Spring term at Art Center two weeks ago—the college’s 80th anniversary and formal inauguration of Art Center President Buchman, and the graduation of the Spring 2010 class.
Tradition still holds sway over the contemporary mores and every-day logic of the western world in the diverse villages that make up the Lake Atitlán watershed in Guatemala.
The Haiti Earthquake is a natural and man-made disaster of catastrophic proportions with tragic loss of life, immense heartbreak and widespread devastation. Hard to comprehend that this long-suffering and impoverished island nation would have to be the one, of all places, to endure the wrath of such an event. A quake that experts already anticipate will be ranked as one of the most destructive in modern history. READ MORE
I write the last post of the year from Santiago, Chile, where a workshop on social innovation co-organized by the Inter-American Developmental Bank (IADB) and our partners from the Innovation Center of Un Techo para Mi Pais brought together a handful of educators in business, engineering and design from universities across Latin America (Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Peru were represented) to connect about best practices and “apply innovation and creativity to fulfill unmet human needs” and improve basic quality of life of low-income communities—a population of 360 million folks throughout the continent who make the bottom of the pyramid bracket. READ MORE
I’m back from glorious snowed-in Aspen Meadows, where AIGA and Winterhouse Institute staged the Aspen Design Summit. This meeting was focused on complex, real world problems that can be addressed through the ingenuity and “progressive reach of design’s influence,” in the words of AIGA’s Richard Grefé. READ MORE
I would like to call it a conincidence that my IDDS experience started with butterflies and ended with butterflies. The picture that documents my arrival at Tek Credit Union Hostel at KNUST, Kumasi does not capture the butterflies that were in my stomach. READ MORE
It all started due to one startling statistic, that 98% of the water in Guatemala is contaminated. READ MORE
Two of our fall project collaborations were launched this past month of August with several days of immersive field research in rural villages outside Antigua, Guatemala, and slum communities in the southern outskirts of Santiago, Chile. READ MORE
Designmatters was part of the Big City Forum program recently–Leonardo Bravo’s “creative speakeasy” as he sometimes informally refers to it, a truly present-day LA salon that engages an eclectic group in conversation about the multiple layers (urban, civic, social, economical, design-driven) that make up the fragmented reality of our city. READ MORE
Reflections on self-validation; what is the role of “Social Design”?
Clearly I’m trying to outsmart myself by playing off the name of my blog host; but I’m hoping this invitation will allow me to explore some questions that have dogged me –and possibly others as well? — for quite a while now. READ MORE
Spring time in New York, cocktails, delicious food and two major awards – all in one night! I had the honor of representing the “Images Speak” team during the 88th Art Directors Club gala party in New York. The event took place in the charismatic Manhattan Art Gallery District at the ADC gallery. READ MORE
We are well midway into spring. The past several weeks for me have been marked by encounters and events that brought home, and together, in more than one instance, the elusive meaning of words such as “creativity” and “hope” – which can otherwise pepper language and conversation in pretty banal ways. READ MORE
Being a part of a group working on a project for Human Rights was one of the most amazing experiences for me at Art Center. I had always wanted to make a change through art and was continuously looking for ways to apply my artistic skills where there was a need for change. READ MORE
Earlier this year I approached Designmatters with an interest in attending Compostmodern, a one-day conference in San Francisco built around the topics of Sustainability, Design, and Business. With the support of Designmatters, I was able to attend the event along with fellow student Yana Kramskaya, which overall helped me gain an idea of what the conversation was like surrounding these increasingly relevant and interwoven fields. READ MORE
I had the opportunity to spend some face time recently in New York with Cynthia E. Smith and Matilda McQuaid who are part of the curatorial team behind the upcoming Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Triennial scheduled for spring 2010 (check out their blog to submit ideas.) The Triennial will be focusing heavily on this conversation about design for social impact by answering the question Why design now? Why is design an essential tool for solving some of today’s most urgent problems?
I’m very excited to announce the pairing of our Designmatters initiative with the new student-led social impact design group at Art Center: Mustard. Now that discussion of design for social action has reached fever pitch, it only makes perfect sense that Art Center should have its own student-formed grassroots movement to further dialogue and action on this topic. READ MORE
With the support of Designmatters, in March 2008 we had the privilege to attend the Clinton Global Initiative, a two-day event that took place at Tulane University in New Orleans. The conference brought together university students from every state and 15 countries. Each student proposed a Commitment to Action, which would tackle a global problem through a self-initiated solution. The global problems addressed were climate change, peace and human rights, and poverty alleviation. READ MORE
When the first A.D. signals the end of production on set with a triumphant “that’s a wrap folks!”, one can sense the very last, exhilarating peak of energy sweep through the cast and crew, with echoing cheers, smiles, and the collective satisfaction of a large job just completed. A frequent visitor to my husband’s sets, this is somehow the image of closure that my mind conjures up as I look back at 2008 and muse over the intensity and diversity of Designmatters projects that culminated this past year. READ MORE
You couldn’t pick a better time to host an international disaster preparedness conference. Staggering economic challenges, this historic U.S. election of Barack Obama, and fires in the L.A. hills. Change and volatility – both highs and lows – have ruled recent weeks. READ MORE
A Global Crescendo: Women’s Voices from Conflict Zones, a collaboration between the International Rescue Committee and writer and photographer Ann Jones, is a special exhibit featuring women’s voices and photographs taken by survivors of conflict from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire. READ MORE
As we ready for the great intensity of midterm reviews at Art Center–seven full weeks into our fall academic term–I wanted to briefly revisit early September and note one of the recent highlights of the Designmatters program: an exhibition and workshop of student work “Images for Human Rights,” celebrating the Declaration of Human Rights, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris during the 61st Annual DPI/NGO Conference: “Reaffirming Human Rights For All“(September 3-5). READ MORE
Designmatters recently welcomed guest speaker, Tara Lohan, Senior Editor at Alternet and editor of the book Water Consciousness, to Art Center to give a talk on the global water crisis in this term’s Designing Water’s Future transdisciplinary studio. The goal of this studio, involving Environmental Design, Product Design, and Graphic Design students, is to generate a public awareness campaign about the global water crisis and inspire communities into action. READ MORE
My name is Gabriel Wartofsky, I’m currently a 7th term transportation design student at Art Center, and through sponsorship provided by Designmatters and the Art Center Sustainability Summit, I am am one of three Art Center students (along with Arthur Leung and Seon Young) who participated in “TransLocalMotion,” the international summer school initiative hosted by the Tongji University of Architecture and Design in Shanghai, China in August. READ MORE
Images Speak, a Designmatters publication documenting the health education materials developed as part of the Mpala project, was just awarded a Silver Spark Award! READ MORE
We are very proud that two Art Center Product Design students, Bryce Butcher and Nathan Cooke, were selected to participate in the second IDDS Summit hosted by MIT, Olin College, and Cooper-Perkins, and sponsored by Rockefeller Foundation and National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. READ MORE
While it was a thrill to connect and spend some time in the company of Tim Brown following his terrific keynote at Serious Play, Art Center’s Design Conference, his invitation to present the Designmatters program at IDEO’s celebrated Thursday “Know How” lectures series, was quite the unexpected gift. READ MORE
We are pleased to announce that the Color Guard Moquito Net project developed in the Fall 2006 Designmatters transdisciplinary studio collaboration with GE Healthcare is the recipient of an award from the Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) sponsored by Businessweek. This is an international competition and Art Center is the only U.S. design school to win awards (four total in the student category). READ MORE
“Being a designer is being a realistic optimistic,” this was one of Enzio Mazini’s key opening messages at the thought-provoking Changing the Change Conference that brought an international audience of educators, researchers, designers and practitioners among us to present our papers, share project case studies and ponder the state of design research today and into the future, particularly as it pertains to key issues of sustainability and social impact. READ MORE
It’s so exciting everytime we see Designmatters projects go from a final display on Art Center walls out into the community for real world application. Our project partner, Flintridge Operating Foundation, has recently added the Dilemmas Campaign, developed in our Spring studio collaboration, to their website for use and distribution by their partners. READ MORE
I had the pleasure of representing Designmatters at the Southern California World Water Forum College Grant Program Award Ceremony hosted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on May 30, 2008. READ MORE