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Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Fall Gathering

James Wheeler leads discussion on "What Next?" at the 2014 Public Interest Design Fall Gathering [photo credit Virajita Singh]

The 2014 public interest design Fall Gathering, which took place October 29th, was meant to bring both students and faculty interested in public interest design together to meet, network, get an update on latest college PID developments. Students and faculty were also there to engage in a facilitated discussion on what PID means to our college community and ideas for what should happen going forward.

The meeting, facilitated by James Wheeler, began with attendees sharing "What I know and What I want to know," from which various PID questions emerged. The discussion then followed the "Pro-Action Café" Method - where participants rotated around to different facilitators, each with their own question to focus on - to tackle three main topics as generated by the opening questions. The session then concluded with a wrap up as a large group, discussing steps to take: what now and what next? The following are just a few highlights and takeaways from the meeting

- The session led by Dean Tom Fisher, looking at defining PID, identified nine key words related to how PID is defined at the U of M: Community, engaged, problem-solving, process, cultural immersion, impact, with, people, and dignity.

- Kristine Miller, who led the group examining the question of "how can we better serve the community?", looked at ideas about the NDSA loan forgiveness and how the school can help students continue their projects outside of school to create ongoing relationships with the community.

- James Wheeler led a discussion around creating a PID curriculum, leading to ideas about Academia, Practice, and Theory all leading into and building off each other, and brainstorming ideas like "what if PID was part of every course?" or "what if there were real clients for every project?"

- The session looking at how to structure an educational program to prepare students for working in PID, led by Jim Lutz, examining what skills and values are needed in PID that might not be as apparent in a normal/existing design education. This led to a discussion on the importance of teaching ethics in a PID education, like empathy, cross-cultural competence, and the value of "street-scape" design and real world experience.

Post-It Notes from the session on "how can we better serve the community?" facilitated by Kristine Miller.

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