Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Tools for Collaboration and Participation

My experience team-teaching with Basma Hamdy, along with our shared interest in the transformative power of design, has led to research aimed at balancing collaborative practice with community engagement in order to serve the cultural context of the MENA region. Together, we have developed curriculum to engage students in community-based projects, along with tools to facilitate effective team-building based on design competencies such as the Design Powers System.

WonderBox Project

Long before the invention of film, storytellers would wander the streets of different parts of the world calling children to listen to historical stories, projected into a portable box with peep holes. These boxes were used for educational and entertainment purposes, bringing the community together to share in cultural narratives filled with magic and wonder.

The Wonderbox is a research project with Basma Hamdy and graphic design students at VCUQatar. Together, we worked with Mahatat for Contemporary Art in Cairo, Egypt to work directly with the community using arts-based research practices. The project brings together traditional storytelling with emerging technologies to explore the role of interactive tools in nurturing wonder-filled community engagement.

“The 3ajeeb! Wonderbox: Interactive storytelling for cultural preservation in Qatar” faculty research grant (with Basma Hamdy). VCUQatar, Doha, Qatar. Grant for $10,815 USD.

Conference Proceedings
WonderBox: Storytelling and emerging technologies.” (with Basma Hamdy). LearnxDesign: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers, Edited by Robin Vande Zande, Erik Bohemia, and Ingvild Digranes. Vol.2 (604–622).

“Culture in a box: Reshaping community-based narratives into visual constructs” (with Basma Hamdy). Presentation at the AIGA Design Education Conference, Spaces of Learning: Inside Outside Graphic Design Education, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 16–18, 2015.

Design Competencies in Collaboration

An increasing number of publications underscore the importance of collaboration as part of a new paradigm within corporate, organisational, and institutional contexts. This research explores the tendency for design students, as well as educators and practitioners, to identify with specific competencies and design roles.

Building on the idea of the integrated whole and the Myers-Briggs Type indicator, a preliminary model for team-based collaboration was developed for an undergraduate learning environment: Design Competencies in Collaboration (DESCO) Model. This model and the Design Powers System can help guide team-building activities and skill-assessment in order to support diverse teams with complementary skillsets.

Presentation and Workshop

“Design Competencies in Collaboration (DESCO)” (with Basma Hamdy, VCUQatar). PechaKucha Presentation and Workshop at the 2016 AIGA Design Conference: The Shape of Design, Las Vegas, NV, October 17–19, 2016.