“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead’s famous dictum is alive and well for an international group of designers taking part in a new SVA summer program dedicated to the growing field of design for social advocacy. Over six weeks the participants in Impact! Design for Social Change worked with community groups around New York City to improve the quality of life for Americans whose voice may not always be heard. On Friday, August 20, from 9:30am – 12noon they’ll present their final proposals in a public forum at 133/141 West 21st Street; from 3 – 5pm they’ll put forward their own ideas to change the world for the better.
“We asked students to roll up their sleeves, taking the program out of the realm of theoretical thinking and extending it into the real world,” explains Mark Randall, a principal at Worldstudio who co-founded Impact! with Steven Heller, co-chair of the MFA Design Department. Along with Randall and Heller, students heard from designer and SVA Acting Chairman Milton Glaser; LOT-EK architects Giuseppe Lignano and Ada Tolla; and Edwin Schlossberg, founder and principal designer at ESI Design; among others. To match students up with appropriate clients, SVA partnered with DesigNYC, a newly-formed collective of designers and design advocates with the mission of helping nonprofit and community groups in need of design services connect with professional, pro bono design resources. Among the groups to benefit from Impact! are Enterprise Community Partners, which promotes decent, affordable housing for low-income individuals, and the independent, award-winning news program Democracy Now!
For a glimpse of students’ experience leading up to Friday’s presentations, visit the Impact! blog.