News and updates from MICA Center for Social Design
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April/May 2017

Congratulations MASD 2017! 

Congrats to the MASD Class of 2017! Their proud families, friends and loved ones looked on as they received their diplomas on May 15th. The student commencement speaker was our very own Smile Indias. We are so proud of their many accomplishments and are excited to see what the future holds for these amazing change makers!

Matt Barr
Denise Shanté Brown
Jayne Chartrand
María Isabel Garcí
a Díaz
Smile Indias
Devika Menon
Naeeme Mohammadi
Patricia Natalie
Molly Reddy
Rachel Serra
Irina Wong
Mimi Yang
Social Design Exchange 2017

The Center for Social Design hosted the second annual Social Design Exchange, a final event to share the process, learnings, and insights from the MASD'17 cohort's thesis work with an audience of over 100 in MICA's BBOX on April 24th. The event featured brief videos and TEDTalk-style presentations by each of the MASD'17 students on a variety of issues and social problems.

The event livestreamed on the MICA Social Design Facebook page and videos from the event are also available on our Vimeo page
Fred Lazarus Leadership for Social Change Award

We're so proud of Denise Shanté Brown (MASD'17) who was selected as the winner of the 2017 Fred Lazarus Leadership for Social Change Award, in recognition of her outstanding community-centered design work to give voice to the pain, trauma, hopes and desires of diverse communities. The Lazarus Award is given to one undergraduate student and one graduate student who, through the power of design, were able to engage in meaningful ways with the Baltimore community to raise awareness of public issues and create lasting change.     
Launching Artists in Baltimore (LAB) Award Winners

Each year MICA offers $10,000 LAB Awards to provide a launching platform for graduating students to enter and meaningfully contribute to the cultural life of Baltimore. Congratulations to this year's LAB Award winners, which includes two MASD'17 grads: María Isabel García Díaz for her project "Juntos Adelante: Design for Latinx Access and Achievement in Higher Education" and Molly Ready for her project "Co-Designing Career Pathways in partnership with MOED/YouthWorks summer jobs program.
Meyerhoff You+ Graduate Fellowship

We're delighted that Patricia Natalie (MASD'17) was selected as one of only two recipients of the Meyerhoff You+ Graduate Fellowship, to support her thesis work focused on redefining beauty to reclaim the physical, mental and emotional health of women. The Fellowship support will enable Patricia to attend the National Eating Disorders Associate conference in New York City.
De Nichols visits Center for Social Design
The Center for Social Design hosted the amazing De Nichols for a weeklong visit, March 26-30, to provide advice, mentoring and critique to the MASD'17 class on their thesis projects. De is the Director of Civic Creatives, a multi-disciplinary design practice that helps change makers nationwide address social, civic, and racial equity challenges within their communities. De was recently selected as a fellow in the John F. Kennedy Center's Citizen Artists program, which recognizes artists across the country who utilize their art form for positive impact on communities.    
From Baltimore to Budapest
Center for Social Design Directors Lee Davis and Mike Weikert spent a whirlwind week, April 2-9, in Budapest, Hungary, working with our friends in the EcoLab at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design (MOME). Lee and Mike presented to students and faculty at MOME about our work and also participated on a panel at Social Design Perspectives, an event celebrating the launch of "Cloudfactory - A Social Design ABC," the EcoLab's latest published book reflecting on five years of the Cloudfactory project working with Roma youth in Bódvaszilas.    
Register for Fall 2017 Practice Based Studios!
MICA graduate and undergraduate students of all disciplines are able to enroll in Practice Based Studios through the Center for Social Design (CSD). Practice Based Studios bring students from a variety of disciplines together with outside partners from government, nonprofit, and business sectors to identify opportunities, generate ideas, and make tools for positive social change. To date, Practice Based Studios at CSD have engaged over 250 students across 12 disciplines in more than 50 projects. Past partners have included: Behavioral Health System Baltimore, Real Food Farm, National Wildlife Foundation, Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Baltimore Housing, Baltimore City Health Department, and Johns  Hopkins Center on Aging, among many others.

Enroll in Practice Based Studio classes for Fall 2017 by emailing us at:
HIV Stigma & Trust Team
Project Spotlight: Stigma and Trust around HIV for Baltimore Women

The HIV Stigma and Trust Practice Based Studio team presented their work at the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) on May 5th. The students shared key insights from countless interviews with women living with HIV and service providers around fighting stigma through conversation, collaboration across demographic divides, and removing stereotypes about older women. The team also shared ideas and opportunities for building relationships between BCHD and women living with HIV & AIDS in Baltimore. 

A special thank you to all of our partners: LIGHT Health and Wellness, Sisters Together and Reaching (STAR), Older Women Embracing Life (OWEL), New Opportunities for Women, Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, Jacques Initiative, and Hope Springs.

Project team: Mimi Yang (MASD'17), Spense Nelson (Graphic Design '17), Mengxi Wei (Graphic Design MFA'18), Madoka Wada Clark (IA'19), Mikea Hugley (Graphic Design '18), Jeff Glendenning (GD MFA) and Cierra Foxx.

Instructors: María Garcí
a-Díaz (MASD'17) and Becky Slogeris, Design Lead (MASD'12). 

Smile Indias
News & Updates
  • Smile Indias (MASD'17) is featured in the "Global Perspectives" section of the Spring 2017 issue of MICA's Commotion Magazine.
  • Rachel Serra (MASD'17) has been selected to work this summer as a designer on a large-scale hospital project with the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.
  • Kayla Ingram (MASD'16 and Robert W. Deutsch Social Design Fellow) published the article "Who Runs The World" Women!" reflecting on the first Friends for Financial Freedom & Equality (EFFIE) Awards. Kayla was also in Nicaragua to work on a strategic plan with Casa Xalteva, a social enterprise language and culture center.
  • Diamond James (MASD'16) was one of eight finalists for MICA's UP/Start Entrepreneurship Competition. View her video introducing her proposed Quarters venture here
  • Demi Laswhawn (MASD'16) joins the New York City Administration for Children's Services as an analyst, community organizer and social designer.
  • Justin Wuetcher (MASD'16) joined Little Bird Innovation in Memphis as a Design Strategist.
  • Eva Fury (MASD'15) once again worked as a designer and creative director for the LGBTQ youth prom in Baltimore. 
  • Silvia Mata-Marin (MASD'15) presented on "Costa Rica: Designing a Carbon-Neutral Country" on April 15th at "Storytelling Environmental Justice," an Earth Day event and exhibition coordinated together with Dr. Wen Huei Chou (Post Doctoral Fulbright Scholar '15-'16) at the Taichung National Library in Taiwan.
  • Byron Banghart (MASD'14) has been named one of five new Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at Open Works for a six-month residency. 
  • Becky Chen (MASD'13) recently moved to Boston to join the product team of KAYAK as a UI/UX designer.
  • Dana Abdulla (MASD'12) spoke about "Design in Unsettled Times" at the Studio-X-Amman event on April 8th during Milan Design Week.
  • Ben Peterson (MASD'12) is featured in the "Designing for America" article in the Spring 2017 issue of MICA's Commotion Magazine, exploring his work integrating human-centered design at Code for America.
  • Center Co-Director Lee Davis participated in the second gathering of the Irvine Foundation New Leadership Network cohort facilitated at Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (, April 26-28.
  • The Center for Social Design was a Community Partner for the April 25th Impact+Innovation Forum, hosted by The Social Innovation Lab at Johns Hopkins.
  • The Center for Social Design hosted a visit on April 18th by the team of Conflict Kitchen, a restaurant serving cuisine from countries with which the US is in conflict.
  • The Center for Social Design and the Baltimore Impact Hub co-hosted "Designing a Movement" on April 13, a movement-making workshop offered by Context Partners. 
  • A team of faculty and students, including Mike Weikert, Thomas Gardner, Becky Slogeris, Smile Indias, Denise Brown, Molly Ready, Matt Barr and Irina Wong, shared the work of the Center for Social Design to an audience of over 130 potential investors at the MICA Leadership Summit on March 25th. 
  • Center Co-Director Lee Davis was invited to serve as a reviewer for the 2017 J.M.K. Innovation Prize, supporting game-changing social entrepreneurs.
Cool Down B'More
Biomimicry Global Design Challenge 

MASD'17 students Naeeme Mohammadi, Rachel Serra and Mimi Yang submitted their entry for the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge on April 30th, the culmination of their spring Independent Study with Center Co-Director Lee Davis.

The team conducted immersive research to understand the priority impacts of climate change through conversations with climate experts and activists across Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay area, and hosted workshops with biologists to help identify inspiration from nature to address their articulated climate challenge. Center for Social Design Biologist-in-Residence, Dr. Vanessa Beauchamp, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University, worked as a resource for the students throughout the process.

On April 19th, the team shared preliminary research findings with a group of biologists and community climate leaders. The team ultimately narrowed focus to address negative heat-related health impacts caused by climate change within low-income communities in Baltimore. They were especially interested in the question: How might we create more equitable access to resources to combat the heat? The team identified biological inspiration from the Chesapeake Bay, an ecological system especially resilient to extreme fluctuations in temperature. Specifically by drawing inspiration from the mutualistic relationship between blue crab and bay grass, the team developed the idea of "Cool Down B'More," a network that connects low-income communities to designated cool spaces via an affordable transportation system.

View the team's introductory video for Cool Down B'More here

Upcoming Events

Social Design from Baltimore to Brazil
May 15-28, 2017
Rio de Janeiro and Manaus, Brazil
Center Co-Director Lee Davis will be in Brazil for events and meetings with social design colleagues and university partners, May 15-28, including presentations at the Escola Superior de Desenho Industrial (ESDI) in Rio de Janeiro, at the UFAM Design School at the Federal University of Amazonas in Manaus, and at Impact Hub Manaus.

Design in Government (DiG) 2017
May 25, 2017, 8:30-4:30pm
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Washington, DC
Smile Indias (MASD'17) will represent the Center for Social Design at DiG Spring 2017, a convening to explore the latest innovations, issues, and business strategies to build a creative community in government. 


Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP)
Human-Centered Design (HCD) Bootcamp

Monday-Tuesday, June 12-13
Towson, MD
A team from the Center for Social Design led by Design Lead Becky Slogeris (MASD'12), Esther Kang (MASD'16) and Kehinde Bademosi (MASD'15) will design and co-facilitate a 1.5-day long HCD Bootcamp for over 150 international field staff of Johns Hopkins CCP.

Copyright © 2017 Maryland Institute College of Art, Center for Social Design, All rights reserved.

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MICA Social Design · 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave · Baltimore, MD 21217 · USA

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