Design students in Design for Social Value class used the Design for America (DFA) design process and methods when collecting written stories of various community members of Anderson. They then opened a pop-up event which allowed the community to read and respond or add their own narratives. There are plans to publish a book of each story and release it at the end of the Spring Semester.
DFA is a national organization that started at several prestigious universities across America, including Ivy League institutions.
According to Associate Professor of Design Herb Vincent Peterson, the DFA has started with spring semester classes. He notes that Anderson University is the first and only higher education institution in South Carolina to be selected to partner with DFA, and that Anderson University is the only Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) institution with such a partnership in place.
“I’ve been aware of Design for America for quite some time and have known about how effective they are in bringing design learning to cross-disciplinary practices and students who are learning in various fields and in the community at the same time,” Peterson said. “When I took the position here at AU, one of the first thoughts I had was “we’re just set up to be a perfect space for a potential DFA studio.”
Peterson pointed out that having a presence downtown in the Chiquola Building is an ideal place for a DFA program and that students and faculty are enthusiastic about the possibilities.
“It makes sense with our Christian background and our focus of working through a faith-based lens,” he said. “The funny thing is when I approached DFA to see what it would really take for us to create this partnership, I was taken aback in a good way, because everything they are promoting was what we were actually already doing and were already applying in our studios.”
“We’re in the process of launching right now as we speak this semester, which is really exciting with the junior students,” Peterson said.
Plans this semester include organizing a conference and a block party where members of the community will discuss why design matters for the community as a whole.
More information about Design for America can be found on their website.
The South Carolina School of the Arts appreciates its community partners for helping Design for America become a reality: Lowes Anderson, AnMed, Anderson County Library, Anderson County History Museum, AU Books and Beans, Corner Bagel, E-City Java, Jen Hubble and Associates, and Keller Williams.