2013-2015 Engaged Program

 

Program of Design

Art, Art History, and Design

The Program of Design in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design became the first engaged program, with a formalized three-year commitment. 

Two Design Program faculty members, Ann-Marie Conrado and Robert Sedlack, were invited to lead this initiative. During year one of the EPI, the Center supported their work in particular. In the next two years, support was directed toward the engaged scholarship of other Design Program faculty and students. Conrado and Sedlack provided community engagement opportunities for students both locally and internationally.

Professor Sedlack received funds from the Center for his anti-xenophobia work in South Africa, Together+. He was involved in a number of other engaged learning efforts, including an AIDS campaign in South Africa and the redesign of space and materials for the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center (JJC). Sedlack’s course, Graphic Design 3: Affecting Positive Social Change, worked on one or two local projects each fall. Former projects have been done with the Center for the Homeless, Potawatami Zoo, and the Northern Indiana Center for History.

As a Center Faculty Fellow, Conrado’s engaged work focused on strengthening her collaboration with the Center’s International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP) by involving her students in her own work in Nepal and by bringing Nepalese design faculty to teach on campus. Through Center for Social Concerns fair trade internships, students help artisan communities compete in the global marketplace, including providing annual trend data to the Association for Craft Producers design team to aid in developing its own design capacity. Under Conrado’s guidance, the students from the International Summer Service Learning Program of the Center have also designed a variety of products for Nepal such as a rapid deploy shelter for refugee families and a self-sterilizing umbilical cord cutter to reduce infant mortality.

Recent results from the Program of Design’s engaged work have also been local and international. Sedlack’s students assisted in the transformation of the South Bend JJC by providing design recommendations for physical spaces and a number of its materials. The students’ designs have and will continue to be critical in obtaining grants and funding for implementation. Moreover, under the vision of the JJC’s executive director, the process involved in developing these recommendations helped to build within the JJC the capacity to view its facilities and information from the lens of user-experience. This has initiated a change in the organizational culture around services to its users. Internationally, since 2013 the Together+ anti-xenophobia campaign has piloted a related curriculum and books in five Catholic Schools. In the summer of 2013, students from the Center’s ISSLP supported the pilot of the program through classroom observations. The results of the pilot will be used in the approval process for the use of the curriculum in Catholic schools in South Africa nationally. Also, based on her work with the Association for Craft Producers, Conrado received an $86,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State Innovation Fund to create a product design curriculum for Katmandu University and began that work this past year.