Sustainable Futures

Sustainable Futures

Intercultural Design Collaborations


I believe there is an obligation to harness and utilize design as a tool for positive social and environmental change. As such, my research with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt explores the benefits of introducing sustainability practices into the design classroom while tackling the complexity of intercultural collaboration. Our research looks at the generative relationship between geographically distinct classrooms and encourages students to collaborate virtually, exchange ideas, and communicate solutions based on our planet’s most precious resources. The advantages of building partnerships and teamwork are great: sustainability challenges are rarely solved in silos, and exposing students to multiple perspectives can help build necessary interpersonal skills, sensitivity, and system-based thinking.

Recognition of Excellence


2016 Communication Design Educators Awards, Design Incubation: Recognition for excellence (runner-up) in the category of teaching based on merit and high academic achievement for ‘Intercultural Design Collaborations  in Sustainability’ with Kelly Murdoch-Kitt.

Projects were selected by a panel of distinguished jurors based on originality, rigor, impact, scope. This category acknowledges the contribution to visionary curricular development, outstanding instructional quality, novel teaching methods, successful assignments and projects, and impact on student and alumni success.

Writing on the Topic


Sustainability at the forefront: Educating students through complex challenges in visual communication and design” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt and Dr. Kelly Norris Martin). Interdisciplinary Environmental Review: Vol.16., Nos. 2/3/4 (285–311). 2015.

Experiential elements of high-to-low-context cultures.” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). LearnxDesign: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers, Edited by Robin Vande Zande, Erik Bohemia, and Ingvild Digranes. Vol.3 (1301–1318). 2015.

Design nexus: Integrating cross–cultural learning experiences into graphic design education.” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). Studies in Material Thinking: Re/materialising Design Education Futures. No.11. 2014.

My water, my change: Confronting global water concerns through cross-cultural collaboration” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). Design with the other 90%: Cumulus Johannesburg Conference Proceedings, Edited by Desmond Laubscher, Fredericho Freschi, Collina Luisa, Amanda Breytenbach, and Kathryn Pope. (223–233). 2014.

“City reflections: Design collaborations for cross–cultural learning.” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). Design Education from Kindergarten to PhD – Design Learning for Tomorrow: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers, Edited by Janne Beate Reitan, Peter Lloyd, Erik Bohemia, Liv Merete Nielsen, Ingvild Digranes, and Eva Lutnæs. No.4. (387–404). 2013.

Presentations on the Topic


“Co-creating sustainable futures: American and Middle Eastern visual design students explore behavior change” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). Exhibition presentation at the AASHE 2015 (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) Conference and Expo: Transforming Sustainability Education, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, October 25–28, 2015.

“Creating significant change through redirective practice” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). Presentation at the AIGA Design Education Conference, Spaces of Learning: Inside Outside Graphic Design Education, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 16–18, 2015.

“Click. Connect. Crit: Teaching global collaboration for international design innovation.” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). Virtual presentation at the AIGA Design Education Conference, New Ventures: Intersections in Design Education, Portland, OR, September 11–13, 2014.

“Sustainability at the forefront: Educating students through complex challenges in design and communication” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt and Dr. Kelly Norris Martin). Virtual presentation at the Just Sustainability: Hope for the Commons Conference, Seattle, WA, August 7–9, 2014.

“Cross-cultural design collaborations in water sustainability” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). Virtual presentation at the Just Sustainability: Hope for the Commons Conference, Seattle, WA, August 7–9, 2014.

“Matters of responsibility: Prioritizing sustainability in design curricula across the globe” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt and Dr. Kelly Norris Martin). Presentation at the 9th International Conference on the Arts in Society, Rome, Italy, June 25–27, 2014.

“Intercultural by design: Exploring virtually mediated cross–cultural relations between middle eastern and western design students” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). Virtual presentation at the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) Annual Design Education Summit, Madison, WI, May 19–20, 2014.

“Anything but the color green: Introducing sustainability into project–based visual communication courses” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt and Dr. Kelly Norris Martin). Virtual presentation at the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) Annual Design Education Summit, Madison, WI, May 19–20, 2014.

“8,092–mile collaboration: A cross–cultural design education experiment between students in San Francisco and Dubai” (with Kelly Murdoch–Kitt). Presentation at the AIGA Geographics: Design, Education, and the Transnational Terrain Conference, Honolulu, HI, December 13–15, 2012.