News and updates from MICA Center for Social Design
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March/April 2018
Three MASD'18 Students Receive LAB Awards
We're so proud that three MA in Social Design (MASD)'18 graduate students have been selected as winners of MICA's highly-competitive Launching Artists in Baltimore (LAB) Awards. Each year MICA offers each LAB Award winner with $10,000 to provide a launching platform to enter and meaningfully contribute to the cultural life of Baltimore. The three MASD'18 winners and their respective projects include:
  • Ashley Eberhart: "Rising Action Studio" - supporting staff at local nonprofits to develop their own authentic voice while intentionally building a culture of storytelling at their organization. 
  • Valeria Fuentes: "Roots & Raíces" - a series of monthly events that highlight surrounding immigrant artists, musicians, and immigrant rights activists.
  • Kim Schulke: "People First" - designing street enhancements in a neglected area of Greenmount Avenue through a collective process of ideation workshops and a community build day with neighbors.
Ashley Eberhart wins in UP/Start Venture Competition!
Ashley Eberhart (MASD'18) was also selected as one of the six winners of MICA's third annual UP/Start Venture Competition on April 4th. Ashley will receive $10,000 in seed funding for her creative innovative business, Rising Action Studio, which helps change makers and nonprofits tell stories about social impact movements around the world. The UP/Start Venture Competition focuses on incubating and building creative business ventures within the MICA Community.    
Social Design team selected for Clinton Global Initiative University 

Three MASD'18 students, Steffanie Espat, Kate McGrain, and Hannah Shaw, have been selected through a competitive global application process to participate in the forthcoming annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) gathering, October 19-21, at University of Chicago. The three applied to share their work together on HealthiAir, a pop up event created by the Center for Social Design, Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins, and other community partners, through a Practice-Based Studio led by Center Associate Director Becky Slogeris. The CGI U Network is a consortium of colleges and universities started in 2007 by President Bill Clinton to engage and support the next generation of leaders.
MASD Prototyping for Good

MASD Faculty Lead Thomas Gardner and visiting faculty Bori Feher, Program Director at the EcoLab at Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design (MOME) in Budapest, Hungary, co-led a MASD prototyping module in early April. The MASD'18 team was introduced to basic concepts and methods of prototyping, and were given several rapid prototyping challenges, among them an IKEA Bag Design Challenge, and were then tasked with applying at least two prototyping approaches to advance their MASD thesis process. MASD'17 alumni Matt Barr and Irina Wong served as co-facilitators and guest critics.  
Becky Slogeris leads Design Research Bootcamp at Yale

Center Associate Director Becky Slogeris led "Asking the Right Questions: Design Research Bootcamp," a hands-on, professional skills workshop on Monday, April 2, at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (CITY) in New Haven, CT. The Bootcamp focused on how to do thoughtful, effective design research, introducing the human-centered design process with a focus on the research phase: meeting your target population where they are, asking great questions, and drawing deep insights from what you've heard. The Bootcamp was co-hosted by the Tsai CITY, the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY), and the Yale Center for Engineering, Innovation & Design (CEID).     
Budapest Grafika*  

The Center for Social Design co-hosted a lecture on Monday, April 9, "Budapest Grafika (Budapest Graphic Design)" by Balázs Vargha, Chair of the Graphic Design Department at Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design (MOME) and Founding Partner of Stalker Studio in Budapest, Hungary. Balázs shared recent work from his practice and teaching, including highlights from the "Branding for Social Impact" course he is co-teaching with MICA Graphic Design Chair Brockett Horne, a unique collaboration between faculty and students at MOME in Budapest and MICA in Baltimore. The lecture was co-hosted with AIGA Baltimore, MOME EcoLab, MICA Graphic Design, and MOME Graphic Design. 
Engaging Youth through Social Design

María Isabel García (MASD'17), Keerthana Ramesh (MASD'18), Center Associate Director Becky Slogeris (MASD'12), and youth designer Kalissa, presented a session at the 2018 Strong City Baltimore Neighborhood Institute on "Engaging Youth through Social Design," on April 14th. The team shared case studies and tips and tricks from this year's after-school Social Design Lab @ Baltimore Design School (BDS), where MICA students and BDS middle and high schoolers are working with Behavioral Health System Baltimore to tackle underage drinking through design.
Lee Davis featured on ReDesign.School

Center for Social Design Co-Director Lee Davis is featured on the new ReDesign.School platform launched by The Design School at Arizona State University (ASU). ReDesign.School is a platform to "listen and engage with the best minds in the design world" in order to rethink the future of design education and to prototype an innovative design school for the new American university.
MASD Alumni Gathering

MA in Social Design (MASD) current students and alumni hosted an informal MASD Alumni Gathering on Friday, April 13th. Alumni from the MASD classes of 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 gathered for happy hour in Baltimore with their peers to share drinks, MASD memories, and social design advice with the 2018 cohort preparing to embark on their next professional adventures in May!
Practice-based Studios
Now recruiting students for Fall 2018 Practice-Based Studios!

What would your creative practice look like if you took it out of the studio and into the world? Practice-Based Studios welcome MICA students of all disciplines to work on a social challenge in Baltimore City in partnership a community organization. In this immersive, semester-long studio course, you will learn and practice the fundamentals of human-centered design, a collaborative process that uses methods like one-on-one interviews, user workshops, and rapid prototyping to ensure that your designs reflect the needs, behaviors, and preferences of your users. 

Whether you're a graphic designer, a sculptor, or a filmmaker, you can use human-centered design to ensure your work is created with, not just for, communities. From designing a food truck that brings fresh produce to urban food deserts, to reimagining the HIV testing process to reduce stigma, this course tackles issues that matter. Students work as a single, interdisciplinary project team with a community partner for the entire semester, so you will gain deep experience in an issue impacting Baltimore. 

The course's topic and community partner will be announced in the beginning of the semester. Past partners have included Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore City Public Schools, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

A Practice-Based Studio might be the right fit for you if you want to engage more deeply with Baltimore City, are excited to work in a team-based environment with students from around MICA, and are open to exploring complex systems with patience, empathy, and optimism. To enroll in this course, or ask any questions, email Becky Slogeris, Faculty Lead (

Lab@OPM Spring Design School
News & Updates
Danah Abdulla (MASD'12) 
MASD Alumni Profile 

Dr. Danah Abdulla (MASD'12) is an educator, designer and researcher. Currently, she is a Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures course at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, a practice-based course applying critical thinking and design research methods to projects addressing social, business and environmental needs.

After graduating from the MA in Social Design (MASD) program at MICA in 2012, Danah completed her PhD in the Design Department at Goldsmiths, University of London (2017). Her PhD thesis, titled "Design Otherwise: Towards a Locally-Centric Design Education Curricula in Jordan," examined the philosophies, theories, practices, models of curriculum, and pedagogy that are appropriate references for design education curricula in Jordan to be more locally-centric. Through participatory action research, she worked with a range of designers, design educators and design students to explore the possibilities of design education that is more relevant to milieu. Danah's PhD thesis was drawn from her MASD thesis research at MICA.

She is interested in new narratives and practices in design that push the disciplinary boundaries and definitions of the discipline. Her research is particularly focused on decolonizing design, possibilities of design education, design culture(s) (Arab region focus), publishing, the politics of design, and critical views of social design practices. She has published her work in peer reviewed journals, as book chapters, and conference papers, and has presented her work at a range of academic conferences and more industry focused conferences.

She is a founding member of Decolonising Design research group alongside seven other researchers, and the founder, creative director and editor of Kalimat Magazine, an independent, nonprofit publication about Arab thought and culture.

Prior to completing her MA in Social Design at MICA (2012), Danah worked for advertising agency DDB as a Digital Cultivator, putting together social media campaigns and building online communities for the likes of Subaru, Canadian Cancer Society, Guinness, and more. She also worked for word-of-mouth marketing agency Matchstick with clients like l'Oréal, Maybelline, Carlsberg, and others. She holds a BA (Honors) in Communications from the University of Ottawa (2008), in Ottawa, Canada.

Her more recent projects include a co-edited issue (with Decolonising Design) of the Design and Culture journal (Vol. 10, Issue 1), a co-authored article on Design Activism in Modes of Criticism, and a presentation on decolonizing design education (with Luiza Prado and Tristan Schultz) at the Research Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

See more about Danah and her work at:
Upcoming Events

Social Design Exchange
Monday, April 23, 2018, 6-8:30pm
The BBOX, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
1601 W. Mount Royal Ave
Baltimore, MD
Join us for the Social Design Exchange, an interactive evening with the MA in Social Design (MASD) Class of 2018 as they share their thesis projects and processes.

Featuring: Franki Abraham, Jen Begazo, Ashley Eberhart, Steffanie Espat, Valeria Fuentes, MaeAnna Hassell, Mengru Liao, Kate McGrain, Keerthana Ramesh, Kimberly Schulke, Hannah Shaw, and Christina Yoo. 

Reverberations: The Roots and Relevance of Community Design
June 8-9, 2018
Neighborhood Design Center (NDC)
Baltimore, MD
MASD Faculty Lead Thomas Gardner is serving on the Conference Steering Committee for "Reverberations: The Roots and Relevance of Community Design," the Association for Community Design's annual conference, to be hosted by the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) in Baltimore in June 2018.

Copyright © 2018 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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