Submit a Case Study— Global LEAP: New Frontiers in Design for Social Innovation

The team that brought us LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation has a new project. They would like to consider your work in their upcoming project— Global LEAP: New Frontiers in Design for Social Innovation.

Award recipients of the Design Incubation Educators Awards 2019 in the category of Service—Marianna Amatullo, Jennifer May, and Andrew Shea—along with Bryan Boyer work together on this new effort to consider innovation and social impact design as a moral and philanthropic imperative across the globe.

“Our commitment is to represent a diverse overview of design practices that are shaping the field of social innovation across countries and continents. Our book will not present a singular definition of “design for social innovation,” but will instead celebrate the many heterogeneous and dynamic forms of how designers engage critical challenges in their communities, cultures, and countries.”

For details, visit their website, and consider submitting your work for consideration. They are looking for 50 design projects that have made an impact- no matter the level of scale. Find out more & submit or nominate a project at http://globalleapbook.com. Deadline is May 31!

State of Flux

Natacha Poggio
Assistant Professor
University of Houston Downtown

The climate change debate is divided into two major sides. One argues that the current global warming is caused by human factors while the other side insists it is occurring because of natural forces. Scientists around the world have conducted research that shows human activities contribute the most to today’s climate change. Human activities like the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture and changes in land-use patterns contribute to tip the Earth’s energy balance by trapping more heat, leading to global warming. The increased temperature fluctuations on Earth lead to more frequent extreme weather events (hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires) which are another indication that climate change is, in fact, a reality.


“State of Flux” is a poster design series on climate change issues, showcasing our planet in a state of flux. My presentation will address how students of different illustration skill levels learn about systems-thinking, design principles and the importance of raising awareness of natural and human interventions that led to climate change.

LEAP Dialogues: The Educators Guide

Service Award Winner

Mariana Amatullo
Associate Professor
Parsons School of Design, The New School

Andrew Shea
Assistant Professor
Parsons School of Design, The New School

Jennifer May
Director, Designmatters
ArtCenter College of Design

LEAP Dialogues: The Educator’s Guide (Mariana Amatullo, Jennifer May and Andrew Shea, eds. Designmatters, 2017), is an open-source publication about design for social innovation and the career pathways that are emerging in this field. A re-conceived digest of the original award-winning print publication designed by TwoPoints.Net, LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation (Mariana Amatullo, Bryan Boyer, Liz Danzico, and Andrew Shea, eds., DAP and Designmatters, 2016), the Educators Guide is tailored to educators and comprised of six selected dialogues and five case studies from the original book, a new annotated bibliography and a new series of open-ended questions that expand each dialogue with critical reading prompts to jumpstart conversations in the classroom. Taking a cue from the early adoption of the original book in syllabi across design courses in peer institutions, the impetus to develop the guide was to contribute to the emerging field of design education for social innovation by creating a readily accessible set of materials meant to communicate and inspire new and expanded directions of study for students and educators alike. With this goal in mind, the subheadings that organize the material of the guide: designing services, designing for community engagement, designing for entrepreneurship, designing across organizational boundaries, and designing for impact measurement, serve as guideposts to the themes that are illustrated in the dialogues and case studies selected. The themes, dialogues, case studies and annotated bibliography can be combined in several ways to create syllabi for courses with different learning outcomes for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Since its publication in September 2017, the Educators Guide has been received with critical interest as attested by its inclusion in syllabi across the country (in colleges such as ArtCenter and Parsons where members of the editorial team teach, but also nationally and internationally). In a field of design that remains sparsely populated in terms of comparable readings that communicate teachable lessons, the data compiled to date about downloads of the guide demonstrate significant interest distributed across the world: as of May 29, 2018, the Educator’s Guide has been downloaded 567 times by 460 unique users across 25 countries, including the United States, the UK, Australia, China, Germany, Finland, India, Uruguay and South Africa. Approximately 40% of the downloads have been from users at educational institutions, including Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Design, MICA, Indian School of Design & Innovation, Aalto, Stanford, EnsAD, University of Toronto, MassArt, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, Tshwane University of Technology and University of South Australia.

LEAP Dialogues: The Educator’s Guide is available for download here: https://designmattersatartcenter.org/leap-educatorsguide.

In 2018 the editors partnered with AIGA National and the AIGA Design Educators Community to make available a series of “how to” instructional videos, produced by AIGA, that include a range of scenarios on how the Educators Guide might be used in the classroom: https://www.linkedin.com/company/aiga/

An April 2018 article by editor Andrew Shea about the pedagogical value of the case studies in the Guide published by AIGA DEC is available here: https://educators.aiga.org/design-over-time-the-value-of-case-studies/

Mariana Amatullo is an Associate Professor of Strategic Design and Management at Parsons School of Design, The New School. She joined Parsons in August 2017 after 16 years at the helm of Designmatters at ArtCenter, the social innovation department she co-founded in 2001. Amatullo’s expertise is in developing design curricula and conceiving international and national educational projects, research initiatives and publications at the intersection of design and social innovation. Her scholarship and teaching engages broadly with questions about the agency of design in organizational culture and social innovation contexts. Amatullo holds a Ph.D. in Management from Case Western Reserve University; an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Southern California, and a Licence en Lettres Degree from the Sorbonne University, Paris, where she also studied Art History at L’Ecole du Louvre. A native of Argentina Amatullo grew up around the world.

Andrew Shea is an Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Integrated Design at Parsons School of Design, and principal of the design studio MANY. He wrote Designing for Social Change: Strategies for Community-Based Design and was on the editorial team of LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation. His design and writing have been featured by Design Observer, Fast Company, Slate, 99 Percent Invisible, Core77, and Print, among others.

Jennifer May is the Director for Designmatters, where she oversees a dynamic portfolio of external partnerships, curricular and extracurricular projects and an active slate of special initiatives and publications. Jennifer also serves as a faculty adviser on Designmatters Transdisciplinary Studios, working directly with department chairs, faculty and partners to create educational experiences for students. Jennifer first joined Designmatters as the manager of the LEAP Symposium, a 2013 gathering of 150 thought leaders to discuss career pathways in the emergent field of design for social innovation. She continued with the LEAP initiative as the managing editor of LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation, an award-winning publication on new practices in social innovation, and editor of the open-source LEAP Dialogues: The Educator’s Guide.  Jennifer earned her M.B.A. from USC Marshall School of Business, where she was a Society and Business Lab Graduate Fellow, a Forte Fellow, and Vice President of Programs for Net Impact.

Thoughtful Social Impact Through Scaffolded Design Methods and Well-Time Fieldwork

A spring 2018 design studio, case study—how to attain that balance of a good quality course and meaningful social design.

Cynthia Lawson
Associate Professor of Integrated Design
Parsons, The New School

Alik Mikaelian
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
DEED Lab Research Fellow
Parsons, The New School

Devanshi Sihare
Design Strategist

Megan Willy
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
Parsons, The New School

The past decade has seen an explosion of interest from the design academy in running projects and courses on design and social impact. The challenge remains, however, to have students get enough exposure on relevant competencies in the 15-week semester.

This presentation discusses a spring 2018 design studio as a case study in how to attain that balance of a good quality course and meaningful social design. Specific methods of both course development and delivery as well as conducting design research are discussed. The ultimate stakeholders of this course’s projects were in a different country and not easily accessible, adding a particular complexity.

The first part of the semester included exercises such as an Ecosystem Map and the Business Model Canvas. Students developed a Theory of Change placing special emphasis on the assumptions they were making about their stakeholders, which were clarified during the fieldwork research which took place in Guatemala over Spring Break.

The second part of the semester included expert interviews and guest visits, to support each project in becoming  as realistic as possible.

We argue that while the design process is often used as the central point of discussion for studios, there are, in fact, other variables such as the weekly structure, the timing of fieldwork, and the explicit scaffolding of learning, which can yield more effective social impact design. The key is getting enough exposure on relevant competencies dealing with social impact design into the 15 week semester.

Teaching the Truth About Eric Gill in the Age of #MeToo: A Classroom Case Study

I believe we have a responsibility as educators to provide young people with honest information so that they are empowered to make choices that reflect their values.

Dave Gottwald
Assistant Professor
University of Idaho

When I was in graduate school, it was occasionally remarked that widely revered English artist Eric Gill was “a bit odd.” However, it was not until I had to prep a new History of Typography course that I realized this was a euphemism for “monster.” I knew that his eponymous san serif is essentially the Helvetica of the UK—you can find everywhere from British Rail and the BBC to the Church of England and many children’s books. Gill Sans is the face that advises all to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.

The truth is that Eric Gill molested two of his daughters from their teen years onward. He exposed himself to children and to women who worked for him. He maintained a sexual relationship with his sister for most of his life, and he even had carnal relations with the family dog. We know this from Gill’s own journals, which were brought to light in a definitive biography published in 1989. Yet in the two design history texts assigned for my course, one is completely silent about Gill’s crimes, and the other glosses over it.

I believe we have a responsibility as educators to provide young people with honest information so that they are empowered to make choices that reflect their values. Even though I teach at a rural campus in a conservative area, my students were more prepared to hear and talk about Gill’s crimes than I had anticipated. I will present a case study outlining the material presented, including highlights from our lively discussion about what responsibility one has in using a typeface. I will share the posters they designed about the subject, and quote from their written responses—both about Eric Gill and his typefaces, and their assessment of how I delivered the material.

Developing Citizen Designers: Our Civic Responsibility

Social Design is the practice of design where the primary motivation is to promote positive social change within society. As the design industry evolves, so too must design education.

Social Design is the practice of design where the primary motivation is to promote positive social change within society. As the design industry evolves, so too must design education. Developing Citizen Designers is a compilation of case studies written by design educators to address the notion that design, and the teaching of design, can empower students to play a more an active role in improving the way they live, interact and communicate with each other and their audiences. My presentation will address how social design pedagogy can be developed to address concrete social needs utilizing strategies like design thinking, collaborative learning and participatory design process.

Elizabeth Resnick is a Professor Emerita, former chair of Graphic Design and current part-time faculty at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts. She earned her B.F.A. / M.F.A. in Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island.

Professor Resnick is also an active design curator having organized 7 comprehensive design exhibitions, the last 4 on socio-political graphic design: The Graphic Imperative: International Posters of Peace, Social Justice and The Environment 1965–2005; Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010; Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age: 2001–2012 and Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: International Posters on Gender-based Inequality, Violence and Discrimination (2016) investigating gender-based inequalities deeply entrenched in every global society.

Her publications include catalogs for the exhibitions, plus Developing Citizen Designers, Bloomsbury Academic (2016), Design for Communication: Conceptual Graphic Design Basics, John Wiley & Sons Publishers (2003) and Graphic Design: A Problem-Solving Approach to Visual Communication, Prentice-Hall Publications” (1984). She is currently working on ‘The Social Design Reader’ for Bloomsbury Academic (2019).

Elizabeth Resnick
Professor Emerita, part-time faculty, Graphic Design
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
621 Huntington Avenue, T617
Boston, Massachusetts 02115 USA

Elizabeth.Resnick@massart.edu

BMORE Than The Story

Teaching Award Winner

Audra Buck-Coleman
Associate Professor
University of Maryland College Park

The death of Freddie Gray and his treatment by police sparked anger, protest, and violence in Baltimore during April 2015. Mass media implicated area youth in the crime and destruction, whether they committed it or not. Their overriding narrative was pejorative and full of scorn. Students at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts (AFSIVA), a public high school in West Baltimore, lost control of their narrative. BMORE Than The Story brought together art and design students from AFSIVA and University of Maryland (UMD) to collaboratively produce an exhibit response to the Baltimore Uprising. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian affiliate, hosted the exhibit, which opened during the one-year anniversary of Gray’s death and closed in September 2016.

The project was successful for its end product—the exhibit— as well as its curricular structure, which allowed students to create meaningful relationships and delivered multiple “teachable moments” over two consecutive semesters. This timeframe enabled the students to build a sense of community and have rich conversations about the issues at hand before diving into the exhibit’s potentially divisive issues. Almost 60 students—24 from UMD and 35 from AFSIVA—participated. I know of no other undergraduate project that has had students co-design at such scale and duration.

UMD students learned how to research, synthesize and create design about complex issues. They researched the death of Freddie Gray, police brutality, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and Baltimore’s history of race relations, economy, and culture. They then connected these findings to larger issues: academic achievement, incarceration rates, political power structures, and the level of violence present in these communities. They produced information designs visualizing their results. This heavy content was difficult to unpack and yet critical to understanding the AFSIVA students’ challenges and opportunities. With today’s information overload and plethora of wicked problems, clarity and synthesis are essential. The UMD students developed research techniques and honed their design skills to communicate and unpack a wicked problem lurking in their back yard.

These students also co-designed compelling visuals that effectively communicated their most salient messages. In a post-project survey, the AFSIVA students said the exhibit represents the issues that are most important to them (100%), their friends (89%), their school (83%), and Baltimore (94%). Through this project they also gained a better understanding of how they might leverage art to address important issues (88%) and learned to collaborate more effectively (98%). Finally, they said that because of this collaboration, they feel like more people cared about them and their struggle for justice.

This project exemplifies and advances a critical need for social design curricula: ways to incorporate assessment mechanisms. We are able to quantify and qualify the impact of this project. Our research results indicate that the project had a significant, positive impact upon the AFSIVA community. Findings can enrich future social design research and curricula.

BMOREThanTheStory-DesignIncubation-F

Audra Buck-Coleman is an Associate Professor and director of the graphic design program at University of Maryland College Park. She has written, art directed, curated, designed, authored, led, and collaborated on numerous design projects including Sticks + Stones, an international multi-university collaborative graphic design project that investigates stereotyping and social issues. Her research focuses on social impact design, assessment mechanisms, design pedagogy and design’s role in culture, identities, and representation. She has led students through 16 whole-class collaborative projects, seven of which were with off-campus stakeholders and four of which were with on-campus ones. Seven addressed issues of underrepresented communities. One was an international collaboration with students from China, Germany, Turkey, and the United States. She holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Bachelors of Journalism from the University of Missouri. She is currently pursing a PhD in sociology to connect to social design.

Addressing Racial Disparity in Design Education

Audra Buck-Coleman
Associate Professor
Graphic Design Program Director
University of Maryland College Park

How do you engage undergraduates in complex, conflict-ridden issues such as social injustice, racism and police brutality? How can these students co-design meaningful objects and messages around such topics that resonate with its stakeholders and community members? Finally, how can you know if these efforts have been productive and successful? BMORE Than The Story offers one case study of how to answer these questions.

In April 2015, the death of Freddie Gray and his treatment by police sparked anger, protests and violence in Baltimore. People from President Obama to the mayor of Baltimore to countless others called the protesters “thugs” and strongly denounced the Uprising and the destruction taking place. The overriding media narrative was pejorative and full of scorn. West Baltimore schools and their students, including those at nearby Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts (AFSIVA), a public high school, were implicated in the crime and destruction whether they committed it or not. These students lost control of how they wanted to be defined and regarded.

BMORE Than The Story brought together AFSIVA students and graphic design seniors at University of Maryland College Park to co-design an exhibit that would address critical issues in their community: racial disparities, identity, disenfranchisement, equity, oppression, policing and self-agency. The students reclaimed their narrative and voiced counterpoints to the previous year’s one-sided media portrayal. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History in Culture in Baltimore, a Smithsonian affiliate, hosted the exhibit April through September 2016.

In addition, project authors incorporated qualitative and quantitative research to assess the project’s effectiveness. Results showed the high school students were empowered by the project and deemed the exhibit highly successful. Lessons include ways to engage students on difficult topics as well as ways to measure the effectiveness of such a project.