“Design for UNICEF” Showcase in New York

Media Design Practices Grad Students present Uganda projects March 28



Art Center Media Design Practices graduate students, in collaboration with the College’s Designmatters social impact department, are in New York this week, showcasing groundbreaking projects that feature insights from design research and prototypes created at the UNICEF Innovation Lab in Kampala, Uganda. The event is part of “Design for UNICEF” on Thurs., March 28, 2013 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the UNICEF House, located in the Danny Kaye Visitors Centre at the United Nations.

The seven students’ projects, aimed at addressing issues of sustainability, access and equity, grew out of a partnership between Art Center’s MDP/Field track graduate program and the UNICEF Innovation Lab. Faculty members Chris Csikszentmihalyi, Sean Donahue and anthropologist Elizabeth Chin head up the team. The student cohort — Jeff Hall, Maria Lamadrid, Judy Toretti, Betsy Kalven, Elizabeth Gin, Jacob Brancsi and An Mina — made multiple visits to Uganda and immersed itself in a broad range of issues challenging the country’s youth.

“Thinking through making immerses students in works about ethnography, colonialism and post colonialism. They also delve into political economy, feminism, structuralism, post structuralism and other theoretical perspectives,” Chin told MetropolitanMag.com. “Key to this approach is taking the time to immerse ourselves in the culture and context as much as possible, rather than coming in with an idea of what needs to be done.”

The cutting-edge program works to develop new methods and technologies that will help advance the efforts of UNICEF. Among the design-oriented solutions the students are developing: ways to empower youth through enhanced connectivity and data transfer; prototypes to expand women’s access to digital technology; and new spaces and tools for dialogue around topics such as nutrition and women’s rights.

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