The traditional art and design curriculum revolves around instructing students and evaluating their individual projects without considering that a student’s future professional life and success will require that he or she function in a complex design environment with multi-faceted levels of relationships. Educators nurture, and the institution rewards, the ‘me’ designer while the professional world requires that a designer operates as ‘we’ and ‘us’.
For the past two years the MCAD undergraduate and graduate graphic design students have embarked on a series of significant culturally appropriate projects where students engage communities in participatory, culturally appropriate real-world projects. Specifically, they have engaged with the Somali, Vietnamese Hmong, Liberian, and Middle Eastern communities. These communities were selected as a result of student interest and the projects have widened the boundaries of the institution as well as broadening the understanding of the students and developing new and meaningful ways to educate students.
The paper will address specific case studies as well as highlight the strengths and weakness of working with groups that have different needs and objectives. The paper will showcase four recent projects involving: (1) A undergraduate graphic design project that reached out and engaged the entire Somali community (2) A graduate graphic design project called Halal Hotdog that is connecting the Somali community to the greater Minneapolis community as well as becoming an employment creator for young Somali men. (3) A graduate graphic design documentary that has engaged Somali Muslim young men to increase awareness and raise self-esteem. (4) The creation of a graduate graphic design research and development cultural project incubator called, GR&D LAB. Each case study will have examples of the final products as well as an overview of the pedagogical structure of the class.
- design education,
- cultural understanding,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brian_wiley/2/