What existential epiphanies have to do with New York high schoolers and The Clash.
We agree with Paola Antonelli in that “design is the highest form of expression people have, period.” And for it to be a truly transformative force of social change, it has to be woven into a society’s most deep-seated cultural sensibility. What better place to begin than the ripening young mind, whose design sensibility remains unaddressed, if not assaulted, by traditional academia?
Project Interaction is a 10-week afterschool program teaching high school students how to use design to change their communities. From storytelling to critical thinking to interaction design, the curriculum takes a holistic approach to design as a social problem-solving tool and encourages students to tackle issues that matter to them with solutions that are both thoughtful and practically viable.
One of our favorite aspects of the project is the series of interviews with established designers, who share how they got their first a-ha! moment about what design means and the turning point in their self-discovery at which they recognized design as a lifelong calling.
Design is something with a sense of history, something that you can riff off of, flip to the past, tweak it, make it your own, and just kind of keep moving forward and just playing with the world around you and reassembling it.” ~ Bill DeRouchey
[Design] helps you think. It’s assistive to all other disciplines. Whether or not you end up becoming a designer or an artist in the strictest sense, the skills are just valuable aross the board.” ~ Jason Santa Maria
The project, which reminds us of Emily Pilloton‘s wonderful Studio H initiative, just finished raising funds on Kickstarter, successfully, and is about to kick off the fall curriculum in partnership with the Urban Assembly Institute of Math & Science for Young Women. Follow them on Twitter for updates and help spread the word about an admirable effort we hope to see replicated in public schools everywhere.