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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 Stamps students 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