Josef Albers teaching at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, circa 1946
Josef Albers teaching at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, circa 1946


Using a collaborative studio model, this series of workshops will explore design teaching methodologies and learning competencies. It has been argued that design is uniquely placed to address the needs of twenty-first century learners. In the workshops, we will discuss this and will debate the status of design and its significance for a liberal arts education. Design pedagogies prioritize systems thinking, active and creative learning experiences, skillful collaboration, contextual thinking, and project-based models. These approaches aim to produce thinkers and makers equipped to effectively negotiate increasing complexity in the scale of problems, escalating demands for interdisciplinary collaboration, and the accelerating pace of technological evolution. In these workshops, we challenge the idea that learning works best when organized from simple to complex. Participants will share strategies and consider how they might integrate design pedagogies into their teaching to foster creative confidence, collaborative practices, and contextual thinking.

All are welcome! Although each workshop builds on the previous, sequential attendance is not necessary. Feel free to attend one, two, or all three. RSVP to Barbara Adams at


SPRING 2019 

Workshop I: Details TBA

Workshop II: Details TBA

Workshop III: Ways of Being
Susan Jahoda and Caroline Woolard of BFAMFAPhD
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 / 3:00-5:00 p.m. / TST 114 (East Room)
Details to follow. See more about their current projects here and here.



SPRING 2018 

Workshop I: The Classroom as Active Design Studio
Thursday, March 8, 2018 / 1:00-3:00 p.m. / Fisk 122
This workshop will provide an introduction to design as an interdisciplinary practice. Participants will engage design strategies through a series of challenges and collaborative exercises. We start with the premise that learning is a designed activity and experiment with a number of activity-based techniques and reflect on the process. Participants will gain resources, strategies, and valuable insights to help them effectively guide students through a collaborative design process. 

Workshop II: Prototyping Learning Environments
Thursday, March 29, 2018 / 1:00-3:00 p.m. / Fisk 122
In this workshop, we will explore how design acts as a mediator between people and the activities they hope to accomplish through interactions in and with their environments. Our focus will be on developing the capacity to support skillful collaboration in the creative framing of problems as we move through the design process. Participants will create prototypes of learning environments as a way of assessing complex systems interactions and ways of designing in relationship to that complexity.

Workshop III: Museum of Smothered Selves
Otto von Busch, Associate Professor of Integrated Design, Parsons School of Design
Thursday, April 19, 2018 / 2:15-4:15 p.m. / Allbritton 311
In the final meeting, Otto von Busch will share insights from and examples of the workshops he has used in his practice and research. He will lead a project-based workshop showing how design can move our thinking from objects to systems, from the present to possible futures, and from the affirmative to critical practice. Participants will build monuments honoring unrealized and interrupted lives. The Museum of Smothered Selves (The MoSS) thinks through design to examine the dynamics of rejection, social regulation, and stifled aspirations.