MID Students and Faculty Travel to Beirut

With the increasing complexity of social, technological, and ecological challenges, design — as a process and a way of thinking — has subsequently expanded its focus to become a leading agent of social transformation and innovation. Designers have at their disposal a number of powerful tools and methods which give them a unique ability to initiate meaningful change in communities, organizations, and businesses. But how do these design tools and methods translate across cultural, linguistic, and geographical lines? And how do the underlying assumptions and values embedded within these practices sit within in other cultural contexts?

With these questions in mind, four MID graduate students (Vrouyr Joubanian, Nidhi Jalwal, Min-Wen Yeh, Jordan Shade) and MID faculty member, Prof. Jonas Milder, travelled to Beirut, Lebanon on June 3rd to begin a design research project exploring the translation of design methods and tools across cultures. Through workshops and focused fieldwork, the MID team will initiate a month-long design collaboration with Lebanese students and designers in which they together will explore the shifting definition and application of design methods and tools in the Beirut context. The project will culminate with an exhibition and public presentation and discussion of the experience by the MID graduate students and MID Program Director, Prof. Jeremy Beaudry, during the 2nd annual Beirut Design Week, a series of exhibitions, conferences, workshops, and screenings which explores the role of design in contemporary culture, society, education and economy (June 24-30).

This project is generously supported by The University of the Arts Faculty and Academic Development Fund, with special assistance from Associate Provost Jim Savoie. Essential to the project has been our partnership with the MENA Design Research Center, a Beirut-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the understanding of design and developing its role as a creative tool for the enhancement of society at large in the Middle East and North Africa. Doreen Toutikian, Director MENA DRC & Co-Founder, has been instrumental in helping us frame the project and organize the logistics for our visit. Studio work space for the MID team has been kindly provided by AltCity, a co-working and incubator space created to facilitate, mobilize, encourage, and support high impact entrepreneurship and innovation in Lebanon and the region.

MID Students and Faculty Travel to Beirut
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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 6th, 2013 at 3:22 pm by azahn123.
Recent MID Grads Kelly Babcock & Alex Visconti Will Present at ‘Design-Ed Future 2013’

Recent alumnae Kelly Babcock MID ‘13 (Industrial Design) and Alex Visconti MID ‘13 (Industrial Design) will present their thesis work “Truss: A Partnership for Design and Education” at “Design-Ed Future 2013: Design Education Conference” being held June 28 and 29 at the University of the Arts. The presentation will take place during the Design-Ed Future’s “unconference” segment on Friday, June 28 from 3:00-4:30pm.

During the first year of their studies, Babcock and Visconti explored the world of alternative learning spaces through their work with YouthBuild Charter School, a vocational charter school for high school dropouts, and the Free Library of Philadelphia teen services. They employed design research methods, such as ethnographic observation and interviewing as well as generative participatory activities, to gain a deep understanding of issues such as chronic low attendance, and how to build programming and physical spaces for young adults.

This experience naturally led them to focus their thesis work within public, secondary education. “Truss: A Partnership for Design and Education” outlines a model for partnership between university design students and public school teachers to support the implementation and sustainability of design-based learning.

It tells the story of Babcock and Visconti’s own experience working with a principal intern/American history teacher at the Franklin Learning Center, a high school in the Philadelphia public school system, where they implemented a design-based learning project to build 21st century skills in a class of junior students.

This experience provided the opportunity to outline the roles, responsibilities and relationships between the design student and public school teacher. Through this innovative model for partnership, they hope to alleviate some of the main stresses or obstacles teachers face when implementing a new way of teaching.

Babcock and Visconti will be speaking about their experience as designers in the classroom, and will be focusing their discussion on the five things they found to be most influential in shaping the roles and relationship between the university design student and the teacher. These key learnings include lesson and activity planning, direct instruction and facilitation, building creative confidence, assessment of understanding, and organizing reflection.

Their presentation will be followed by time for Q&A and discussion.

Recent MID Grads Kelly Babcock & Alex Visconti Will Present at ‘Design-Ed Future 2013’
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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 27th, 2013 at 11:32 am by azahn123.