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International Experience @ Home: Global Studio

With study abroad programs currently paused due to the pandemic, the Stamps School of Art & Design has developed new ways for students to build global competencies. A new 400-level virtual studio course for Winter 2021, Global Studio, brings international collaboration center stage and fulfills the International Experience requirement for 2021.

Taught by Assistant Professor and remote collaboration expert Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, Global Studio brings Stampers together with peers from India and Qatar to form interdisciplinary creative teams led by local and international faculty instructors representing a range of creative disciplines. Teams will identify questions or problems of mutual interest and develop creative responses to them.

Murdoch-Kitt is currently working with co-instructors Sucharita Beniwal at National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad, India), Sudebi Thakurata at Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology and the design studio Depicentre (Bengaluru, India), and Basma Hamdy and Denielle Emans at Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar (Doha, Qatar) to determine what kinds of global challenges the student teams will explore this winter.

“We are currently looking at ripple effects of COVID-19, such as mental health, environmental impacts, social inequities, and other issues that have been brought into sharper focus due to the pandemic,” Murdoch-Kitt said.

In addition to generating interdisciplinary creative output, Murdoch-Kitt expects that students will refine their collaboration and global competencies in ways that may offer more focus than some traditional study abroad programs.

“Global Studio will challenge students to engage their creative thinking by partnering with international art and design students who are equally passionate about global issues,” Murdoch-Kitt said.

Many of the assignments for the course draw from Murdoch-Kitt’s book co-authored with Denielle Emans, Intercultural Collaboration by Design: Drawing from Differences, Distances, and Disciplines through Visual Thinking (Routledge 2020).

“Fostering the success of these student teams relies on introducing visual thinking activities to help them brainstorm, iterate, experiment, make decisions, and produce new ideas,” Murdoch-Kitt said.

“This process creates an opportunity to learn healthy risk-taking, build trust, blend complementary skills, and mediate conflict resolution — all skills that 21st-century creative practitioners need to cultivate in order to reshape and push their disciplines forward.”