In late January, I was invited by Leetha Filderman of PopTech and Cheryl Heller of the School of Visual Arts, MFA Design for Social Innovation (DSI) program, to run a masterclass on community mapping for the Harlem First initiative. The initiative is a collaboration between DSI, PopTech, Arnhold Institute for Global Health, and Strive, and its aim is to “bring together designers, community leaders, data scientists and health care professionals to conceive a new future of wellness care.”
The first day of a four day workshop here at Hunan Normal University was filled with sixty excited architecture and interior design students, an impressive team of faculty, and a challenge that represents not only an opportunity for Changsha to save the hidden heart of its city and its oldest neighborhood, but also a potential model for other cities in China and the world. That’s what I thought I would be compelled to write about. And I will.
On November 30th, chair Cheryl Heller will embark on her third trip to China this year, this time to lead a workshop with seventy architecture and interior design students at Hunan Normal University in Changsha, China. The goal of the workshop is to help students co-create, with residents, a revitalized community that has been eclipsed by a spurt of new development adjacent to it.
Last Friday, The Barnard | Columbia Design for America (DFA) studio came to DSI to be mentored by our students and begin initial planning for our new collaborative program. With the guidance of a select group of first and second year students, the DFA students will be supported in their journey through the design process.
On October 22nd, second year DSI students met with the CUNY Entrepreneurial Journalism fellows for a remarkable exchange of knowledge, insights, and networking. Under the guidance of DSI faculty Karen Proctor and Jane Englebardt’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship class, as well as Director of Education at CUNY Jeremy Caplan, students shared a lively evening of workshops.
Rachel Dixon and Swar Raisinghani were invited to Implementing Impact! Strategies for Creative Intervention to present their respective thesis projects as successful case studies in developing social impact. Implementing Impact! is a one-week summer intensive exploring how to launch socially innovative projects for advanced college students and creative professionals offered at SVA.
The 3 day Wearable Technologies workshop with Despina Papadopoulos and Benedetta Piantella Simeonides challenged DSI students to ideate and construct technology for service or solution. Everyone learned the value of quick deadlines, rapid prototyping, and team collaboration.
This year, DSI’s annual career fair was titled Looking Forward. The event was structured around four categories of discussion between both students and interested parties. Theses topics included: “Building Communities” by investing in people to enhance community, “Purpose” by setting the stage for success by defining and aligning intentions, “Lasting Impact” by creating sustainable value…
Benedetta Piantella Simeonides and Despina Papadopoulos will run a 3 part for workshop for DSI students, introducing them to the world of wearable technologies and the opportunities in applying them to the social innovation sphere.
The eighth grade social justice project “Choosing to Participate” is a cornerstone of the eighth grade humanities curriculum. Through this project students study those who have stood up for justice by becoming/being active citizens themselves.