March 28, 2010
I've put up a blog for The SisterScarf Fund, which is really a relief, since it has been on my mind forever. Right now the blog is about how to organize yourself into starting a project for social action. Seems so many people have such good ideas, but put things off because they don't know exactly how to get started.
I do hope you'll take a look at it and comment and follow it and everything so that I know who's reading, and so I can tailor thoughts to what you need.
March 16, 2010
So this is exciting. I get to speak at Impact! Design for Social Change, a new, six-week summer intensive program co-founded by Steven Heller of SVA and Mark Randall of Worldstudio. It's planned to "introduce participants to a growing field of design for social advocacy."
I don't know what I'm going to talk about yet. But probably about how Therese and I designed and established our refugee-relief project, The SisterScarf Fund, eight years ago, to provide microgrants for community-identified pressing needs on the border of Thailand and Burma. I could definitely speak on what we've learned and where we want to go with the project.
Here's more information on the six-week course !mpact SVA::
The program, scheduled between July 12 and August 20th of 2010, will bring together design thinking and social entrepreneurship to discuss ways that design strategy supports the constituencies of non-profits.
The curriculum zeroes in on three aspects of design for social change: evolving your big idea, developing your pitch, and funding your project. These lessons will be divided into two tracks, as described below:
The first will educate students on how to conceive and execute their own projects for social change with a focus on funding projects that are not client-based. For the second track students will participate in the development and full execution of a team project that addresses a pressing need within a predetermined community. The team projects for the program are being selected in partnership with desigNYC—a group of leading designers and design advocates with a mission of improving life in New York City by helping connect the nonprofit and professional design communities.
Faculty include Mark Randall, Steven Heller, Andréa Pellegrino, Bob McKinnon, and Martin Kace, with guest lecturers David Gibson, Milton Glaser, Scott Harrison, Natalia Ilyin, Jason Rzepka and Edwin Schlossberg.
Learn more about the faculty, lecturers, curriculum and application process at their website: http://www.sva.edu/impact/
March 16, 2010
For some time now, ever since I started teaching so much at Cornish College of the Arts, I've had the feeling I'm holding 2 or three running power tools in both hands at all times. This is not how I want to be living.
The brand business with Pam Heath, called Emerson Harris; the NGO with Therese, called The SisterScarf Fund; the teaching, the travel, the book, the articles. By the end of last semester I was dodging deadlines left and right, and I knew I would have to make some hard decisions about reducing the complexity of my work life.
I couldn't imagine not teaching. I couldn't imagine not continuing to support the microgrants that SisterScarf funds. I could not imagine not helping people communicate about their projects concerning positive social change. And I couldn't imagine not writing. But I could imagine doing less of some of the more annoying aspects of business.
Pam Heath and I agreed that if we were to do less, we'd want to do less big stuff for big concerns that eat up a huge amount of our time in the pitch-and-propose process, in the management of talent, and in the infernal paperwork that goes along with handling projects for big corporations. And so we decided to end Emerson Harris and be individual people again, consulting one-on-one with the people that make decisions in nonprofits, NGOs and corporations.
Now that Pam and I are unstringing Emerson Harris, I look forward to getting my students' papers back to them, the two articles I owe to magazines filed, my book done and my relationships with my clients back to a one-on-one. And should another huge, gorgeous project come up that we just can't resist gathering a team to do-- well, Pam and I agree to prance across that bridge when we come to it.