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From Ideas to Acts

A report from Min Yeh, Fall 2014 DSI post-graduate fellow

Fall 2014 DSI Post-graduate Fellow Min Wen Yeh spent the last several months building upon the work of her thesis project, The Bridge, which addresses design tools and methods for cross-cultural interaction and group collaboration. Her thesis project included a toolkit for students bridging highly motivated mindsets to positive cultural adaptation behaviors. During the Fellowship, Min further developed the thesis work through designing and testing educational tools in the ESLI program at UArts, and built a conceptual / behavioral / pedagogical model.

To explore Min’s project in more detail, see the final documentation, Leading Ideas to Acts, as well as the facilitation guide and tools she developed, My Journey Maps.

The Design for Social Impact Post-graduate Fellowship provides exceptional graduates of the program the opportunity to implement and measure the impact of their thesis work as applied within the Philadelphia community. Additionally, the Fellow will make a significant contribution to the graduate program by serving as a mentor to current students and promoting the work of the program in support of our recruitment efforts.

Min Yeh’s fellowship was generously sponsored by the Design for Social Impact MDes graduate program, the Office of the Provost, and International Student Programs at The University of the Arts.

From Ideas to Acts
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by Jeremy Beaudry.
Reaching Across Cultures: International Design Initiatives at The University of the Arts
DesignPhiladelphia 2013
ThursdayOctober 17
6:00PM to 8:00PM
Terra Hall, University of the Arts
211 South Broad Street
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With the increasing complexity of social, technological, and ecological challenges, design practice has subsequently expanded its focus to become a significant agent of social transformation and innovation. Designers have at their disposal a number of tools and methods which give them a unique ability to partner with communities, organizations, and businesses to help initiate meaningful change. 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 other cultural contexts? How do designers most appropriately enter into these cultures? Reflecting on these questions, students and faculty from the undergraduate and graduate Industrial Design programs at The University of the Arts will discuss two recent design collaborations in Kenya and Beirut, Lebanon that explore the challenges inherent for designers working in global contexts.

In this DesignPhiladelphia blog feature, Prof. Jeremy Beaudry explains further the motivations and objectives for the event: http://www.designphiladelphia.org/?p=2506

Reaching Across Cultures: International Design Initiatives at The University of the Arts
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 at 3:55 pm by azahn123.
Design Professionals of the Post-Professional Era

Fuajia Amin, a first year student in the MiD program, reflects on her understanding of the role of the designer.This post was originally posted on Fuajia’s blog on October 3, 2013.

I remember one of my first industrial design projects; I was a sophomore at Virginia Tech and this was the point in the program where students were taught the design process. I was in the process of learning how to research, iterate, sketch, create prototypes, do 3d models and render them. When I completed this project, I felt so proud of myself; I had created something on my own from the beginning to the end and I actually liked the end result. Today, design seems to be taking a direction that is allowing more and more people to experience something similar to this feeling of accomplishment that one feels after creating.

“Yet, to my mind, the most significant boundary currently not only being crossed but being dismantled is the boundary between professional and amateur, or more pertinently, between designer and user.” (Atkinson, 30). This statement raised some questions and thoughts in my mind. Though I see myself as a professional, I wondered when I stopped viewing myself as an amateur. Was it supposed to be after I got my undergraduate diploma? Whenever it was, the issue that arises from these boundaries being crossed or dismantled is the negative way in which some people, especially professionals, view the situation. Many feel as if the role of the professional will be devalued, but I do not fully agree with that argument. Having access to design tools does not make someone a designer. Even if everyone had access to a 3d printer, many will still make rubbish until someone teaches them the skill or until they encounter an easily identifiable need. Having this access also does not devalue those who went to school for design, instead I believe it leads to more opportunities for collaboration between professionals and amateurs.

I believe this is where one can truly see the difference between professionals and amateurs; designers have a better understanding of all the different aspects that go into a design while amateurs tend to see only the immediate need or want. It is important to note that designers are the ones responsible for making design tools more accessible to the masses or for making design more self driven through the DIY approach and other methods. Designers are helping non-designers to feel less dependent and able to help themselves. In a way, I see the designer who is able to create this as an “advanced” professional because they are not only designing a product; they are designing experiences that allow people to feel confident and creative. They have a better understand of the individual’s need beyond the product.

Design is more than just a profession to me; it is more about solving problems and delivering services whether they are concrete, abstract or emotional. As designers, we can design tools that allow people to feel similarly to how I felt when I completed one of my first design projects. I believe that if we focus too hard on the profession part of design, we can get a little self focused and possibly have a hard time accepting changes which can push us to grow as professionals. If we see ourselves more like experts at solving problems, creating experiences and providing services, we are able to discover new forms of design and opportunities around us that also lead us to be better well rounded designers.

Source cited: Boundaries? What Boundaries? The Crisis of Design in a Post-Professional Era, P. Atkinson – 8th European Academy of Design Conference – 2009

Design Professionals of the Post-Professional Era
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This entry was posted on Friday, October 25th, 2013 at 5:40 am by azahn123.
Generative Research for the Front End of Design: A Talk by Liz Sanders

Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 12:00-1:00pm

University of the Arts, Terra Hall, 5th Floor, Room 511/513

The MID program at UArts is pleased to present a talk by Liz Sanders on Generative Research for the Front End of Design. Sanders is a pioneer in the use of participatory research methods for the design of products, systems, services, and spaces. She currently teaches at Ohio State University, and is the founder of MakeTools (http://www.maketools.com/), a company that explores generative tools for collective creativity.

You can check out her new book Convivial Toolbox here: http://amzn.com/9063692846

Generative Research for the Front End of Design: A Talk by Liz Sanders
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This entry was posted on Monday, March 25th, 2013 at 6:32 pm by azahn123.