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Community Engagement

Successful 21st century artists and designers are socially aware, entrepreneurial, and deeply connected to the communities where they live and work.

Engaged cre­ative prac­tice is a phrase that the Stamps School uses to describe the rich col­lab­o­ra­tions that hap­pen when artists and design­ers work in hon­est, mean­ing­ful ways with com­mu­nity part­ners. Together, they gen­er­ate cre­ative work; dis­cover fresh approaches to pol­icy; and address real-world chal­lenges in inno­v­a­tive ways. 

All engaged cre­ative prac­tice efforts share a uni­fy­ing mis­sion: to help Stamps stu­dents, staff, and fac­ulty gen­er­ate col­lab­o­ra­tive, rec­i­p­ro­cal, and mutu­ally ben­e­fi­cial cre­ative projects with com­mu­nity part­ners locally, nation­ally, and internationally.

Socially engaged projects allow the Stamps com­mu­nity to:

  • Respond to a need or set of needs in a par­tic­u­lar com­mu­nity or communities

  • Facil­i­tate con­nec­tions among diverse groups and disciplines

  • Broaden par­tic­i­pants’ expe­ri­ences and under­stand­ing of the world

  • Broaden par­tic­i­pants’ view of the role of art and design in the world

  • Put the­ory and prac­tice together through hands-on col­lab­o­ra­tive projects or pub­lic interventions

Through courses like Detroit Con­nec­tions and Change by Design as well as ini­tia­tives like the Bright­moor Maker Space, Stamps stu­dents learn how to build mean­ing­ful engaged cre­ative prac­tice into their own lives, dur­ing col­lege and beyond.

The Stamps alumni net­work also plays a vital role in bring­ing cur­rent Stam­pers into cre­ative, com­mu­nity-focused work. The video below shares the story of Stamps alum Laura Amtower (MFA 15), Direc­tor of Edu­ca­tion at Com­mu­nity Action Net­work (CAN), and her col­lab­o­ra­tion with Stamps stu­dent Michelle Ha (BFA 22) around CAN’s Strive to Thrive” pro­gram for local youth.

Inter­ested in a Part­ner­ship or Col­lab­o­ra­tion with Stamps Students?

Work­ing together with the diverse com­mu­ni­ties that com­prise our region, Stamps School part­ner­ships and col­lab­o­ra­tions acti­vate cre­ative ini­tia­tives with neigh­bor­hoods, busi­nesses, schools, and com­mu­nity organizations. 

Com­mu­nity Partnerships

Three words best describe the Stamps School’s approach to rela­tion­ship-build­ing with our com­mu­nity part­ners: col­lab­o­ra­tive, respect­ful, and reciprocal.

Typ­i­cally, com­mu­nity part­ner­ships are long-term in prac­tice and require a unique com­mit­ment from both the part­ner and the Stamps School; we share resources and knowl­edge with one another in a rela­tion­ship of equal­ity. An engage­ment project with the Stamps School responds to a set of mutual needs and assets. A strong part­ner­ship means that we’re care­ful to tend to the needs of all involved in the project, includ­ing the com­mu­nity part­ner; the fac­ulty mem­ber and/​or Michele Schara Artist in Res­i­dence; and the Stamps stu­dents’ cur­ric­u­lar needs. Assets of both groups should be iden­ti­fied so that they can be shared and mutual learn­ing can occur. Cur­rent com­mu­nity part­ners include Detroit Com­mu­nity Schools.

Inter­ested in becom­ing a Stamps part­ner? Sub­mit our Pre-part­ner­ship form, below.

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Col­lab­o­ra­tions are also an impor­tant part of the way the Stamps School works with off-cam­pus orga­ni­za­tions. These mutu­ally ben­e­fi­cial col­lab­o­ra­tions are typ­i­cally project-focused and may or may not lead to long-term, ongo­ing part­ner­ships. Recent col­lab­o­ra­tors include: Bright­moor Alliance, Neigh­bors Build­ing Bright­moor, Museum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Detroit (MOCAD), and Sig­nal-Return.

Inter­ested in a new col­lab­o­ra­tion? Con­tact us for more information.


Recent Sto­ries: Engaged Cre­ative Practice