MFA Design for Social Innovation is presenting the exhibition “Harlem First: Mapping the Health of a Community” from January 11 to February 1 at the SVA Gramercy Gallery. It will be the first part of a larger initiative organized in collaboration with The Arnhold Global Health Institute and the PopTech Institute.
“Twenty-four of our students, who are part of the Mapping and Visualization class, have been working toward identifying the factors that influence health in neighborhoods in Harlem,” Cheryl Heller, chair of MFA Design for Social Innovation, says. “They are looking at factors that are beyond the purview of the medical profession, such as crime, homelessness, poverty and gentrification.”
Along with the exhibition, the Harlem First initiative will include workshops, a master class and a symposium. On January 19, a workshop will take place where experts in health, community mapping and personal resilience will converse and share ideas with Harlem residents, MFA Design for Social Innovation students and each other.
Primoz Kovacic, the co-founder and director of Spatial Collective, a Nairobi-based social enterprise that uses geographic information systems for community development, will hold a master class for students and residents on January 28. “Primoz works in Nairobi teaching residents to collect their own data so that they can own it and can understand how they start to affect it,” Heller says. “It’s going to be great to see how he responds to the students’ and residents’ maps.”
There will also be a symposium at the SVA Theatre on February 1, which will give everyone involved an opportunity to calibrate the data that has been collected and to consider what else needs to be done.
“The world is trying to figure out solutions to issues related to health,” Heller said. “Harlem First is connecting our students to real things and exposing them to how indicators work.”
“Harlem First: Mapping the Health of a Community” will have a reception on Thursday, January 21, at 6:00pm. For more information, click here.