Design Schools and Summer Camp

Via. Co Design – American Design Schools are a mess and produce weak graduates.

The first five years in a designer’s career are absolutely critical and the true educational experience. A young designer must appreciate that opportunity to mature while on the job and take nothing for granted. A willingness to do anything and everything he or she can to get experience and learn, from the ground up, should be reinforced by the schools. Since design can be a difficult career option, we’ve got to instill young designers with a critical sense of reality — your first job is your true MA, your best chance to establish a career path, your opportunity to work on the coolest projects — and you get paid for it. What a great job it is!

I think my time at Iwb was critical in shaping my thoughts on design education.  Summer projects in interdisciplinary design, folio reviews, and having worked as a young professional has also made me especially interested in it.   The article talks in the context of industrial design but I see the same issues applying to built environment designers.

Much of the work that students show me in their portfolios is broken into two categories: skills work (3D CAD) and process work (research, model-making). Only a few show projects showcasing the applicant’s ability to integrate seamlessly all levels of creativity.

Integration!  that’s a key word for design as I see it.  Integration of ideas, of disciplines, of outcomes, of visions.  This might be why I’m especially interested in studios, workshops, design-builds, real-life community projects (learning by doing), as these seems to be the most powerful ways to get students to work and collaborate prehaps differently than silo-teaching might usually teach. 

Someone had sparked a thought about another summer community project in New York (which is an accidential pattern I have started the past 2 years).  With Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, I had applied for a job for a summer camp working with kids around public spaces, sustainability, and planning.   A bit similar to the Centre for Urban Pedagody’s teaching artist model-  I figured that these things are equally enriching for kids as well as artist/designs/planners.   This all got me thinking about  “design summer camps”.   That can be linked to schools, targeting grad students but think there is also a niche market for transitioning or young professionals, like myself who are outside the official school systems.  Also think there are lots of passionate designers looking to contribute and build their own experiences.   I’ve participated in these kind of models before (Pratt with SSBx, Terra Farm), I’ve found others with AA(UK), and was eager to find similar things in Australia but no real luck to date. 

Around the time of Terra Farm, I had mentioned to someone he could just run his own in his own city- and that’s basically the idea in my head right now, that one day I would like to run and facilitate these things.  Design Summer Camps that would partner kids/community and emerging designers to do something in public spaces/built environments.  

Finding or faciltating these projects, even potentially getting paid to do so, or making it tax deductible professional education expenses.  It is about helping achieving outcomes for designers and communities in need, but ALSO appeals to my selfish/bias longing to be based somewhere but continue to do fun, rad projects around the world.


One thought on “Design Schools and Summer Camp

  1. […] had gone up with specific inspirations and older ideas of starting design-build summer camps.  I envisioned that it would contribute to the overall place (example getting students to build […]

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