A partnership with Root Division, a non profit arts organization in San Francisco to design a classroom and create a workshop curriculum to teach middle and high school youth design skills.

Team: Anum Awan, Karelia Arredondo, Rawan Kobeissi, Tara Chandi
Community Partner: Root Division
Class: Social Lab

Overview

In the summer of 2017 the team set up the Digital Lab at Root Division, an arts non-profit in San Francisco, and conducted a series of creative problem solving workshops for middle and high school youth. The workshops were free. They spent a year doing research and talking to non profit art organizations to understand the existing infrastructure. They developed partnerships and conceptualized the Digital Lab based on their expertise and the needs of the community partner.

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Environment Design

They transformed a basement storage room at Root Division into a space for creative innovation for youth. They set up a 3D printer, projector, and plotter printer created a design-friendly environment through installing:

  • LED Lights: for creating an exciting, futuristic environment

  • Whiteboard Wall: for writing important information, brainstorming and collaborative sketching

  • Strings and Pegs: for hanging work to share for critiques, gallery walks, and feedback

  • Individual Stations: for providing supplies for the day so students would have their own space with everything they need

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Workshops

1. T-Shirts
Julio Martinez was the instructor for the first two days over which the students were introduced to graphic design and stencils. They made a design that they painted on shirts.

2. Posters
Rawan was the instructor on the third day and gave the students a demo on a browser based design software called Gravit after which they created posters for their favorite musician on tour.

3. Zines
Karelia and Anum instructed the last two days of zine making. After analyzing zines and discussing the importance of self expression, the class worked on a collaborative space themed zine.

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Research

The team met with educators from several non-profit organizations that were offering free after-school art programs in the city. They learned that San Francisco had a robust network of art organizations doing great work, with several decades of experience. These organizations had already cultivated safe spaces, relationships, and trust with the youth they served. With these insights, they decided to pivot from creating a new summer program to collaborating with these art organizations, bringing in their design expertise. What they saw was the perfect opportunity to take their design thinking and graphic design skills outside of the graduate design program and into the community.

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Prototyping

Prior to facilitating workshops at the Digital Lab, they did 2 prototypes of single-day workshops at two Boys and Girls Clubs, during which they did design thinking exercises with middle and high school youth. The focus of the workshop was designing for an island of the future that goes underwater. They collected feedback on from the workshops and made iterations to the final format.