Student and Community Design Projects
Everyday Art is a citizen ethnography project that engages youth and adults in discovering and documenting everyday art and artists in their community. The project engages participants through field-based events, workshops, and courses. Early deliverables include an exhibit at the Madison Children’s Museum. The exhibit, which was designed in collaboration with students from Middleton Alternative Senior High and Clark Street Community School, profiled three everyday artists who live and work in Dane County, Wisconsin. Learn more by visiting the everydayartexhibit.org website.
The Neighborhood Game Design Project is an ongoing exploration of tools and learning experiences that foster youth engagement in place-based game design tied to local people, places, and issues. Implementations typically include two main components: a place-based inquiry component, where students use mobile media to identify and investigate their city, and a game design component, where students individually and collaboratively design analog and digital games and simulations to teach others about local places and issues. A key goal of the Neighborhood Game Design Project is to explore how the affordances of mobile media, geo-locative technologies, and games might be used to deepen people’s connection to local places.
During the Urban Design Project students explored, documented and reflected upon local neighborhoods by engaging in a series of mapping, photography and interviewing activities. Afterwards, they met with city planners to share their findings and make suggestions for how the city might be improved. During the project, the students learned about new urbanism and used it as a framework for studying continuity and change in the design of their local community. They also conducted walkability surveys and identified design changes that could be implemented to make their city more walkable.
Youth Tours supports young people as they develop virtual, photographic and physical tours of their neighborhood or places that are important to them. Youth-led tours have been used to help young people create and deliver stories tied to local places and as an avenue for them to share their expertise and local knowledge. They have also beed used as a method for better understanding youths’ perceptions of local places and issues.
The Capitol Protests was a project that involved youth in documenting and reflecting on a series of protests that took place in and around their state’s capitol building in response to a proposed statewide budget. The youth read about the protests, interviewed participants, and shared their own experiences and perspectives on the issues, actions, and responses. Key goals of the project included, building the students’ interviewing and documentation skills and developing their understanding the events from different perspectives. Additionally, the youth developed media projects allowing them to share their own stories and perspectives and teach others about the events. You can learn more about this project by reading Place-based Design for Civic Engagement.
Game Jams provide an opportunity for participants to quickly brainstorm, develop, and playtest analog and digital games within a short period of time. While game jams differ based on the context, some common goals include, generating ideas for games that might be more thoroughly developed later, teaching the basics of game design, testing particular technologies or game mechanics, introducing participants to different design processes and methods, and team building. I have co-designed and co-facilitated a variety of game jams with youth and adults, including two global game jams that engaged participants from around the world, including youth and professional designers, in developing ARIS-based mobile games over a two-day period. Visit this link for more information about the 2015 ARIS Global Game Jam. Also see this blog post for an example of a design workshop involving teachers and this blog post for an example of a design jam that brought together teams of students and teachers.