On December 9, a screen printing enterprise project created by students from Detroit Community High School, Stamps School undergrads Emma Berger, Dean Clancy and Mary Clare Harrington, Engineering student Chelsea Pugh and LSA student Kevin Li was chosen to receive funding at Detroit SOUP, a monthly micro-funding event in Detroit. The students were also interviewed about their project for a feature story on NBC Nightly News.
Created for Nick Tobier’s Change by Design course, the screen printing project involved a collaborative redesign of the high school’s logo, creating the screen for the print, printing shirts and posters, and getting approval from the school administration to allow students to wear the student-created shirts on Fridays in place of the uniform shirt. Future plans include setting up an ongoing enterprise that allows high school students to take commissions, create a revenue stream and train the next generation of entrepreneurs.
“I think the high school students are beginning to see that art and design is a viable career. And you can see the creative satisfaction they are getting from making something themselves,” says Kevin Li, a Neuroscience major who has changed his career plans after being involved in the class.
“This class has changed my life,” Li adds. “I was going to go straight into medical school but I realized I want to be involved in education and public health. I’m applying to do “Teach for America” next year so I can build on the experience I had in this class.”
Bart Eddy, one of the founders of Detroit Community Schools, attended the final presentations of the Detroit Connections class and came away excited and impressed by all of the projects, which included: a pedicab prototype to be manufactured and used by students in a school transportation business, a prototype for a solar powered light that would address the lack of street lighting in the Brightmoor neighborhood and more.
“This is the school of the future, it’s just that everybody hasn’t caught on yet,” says Eddy. “College students are yearning to make a difference and our (Detroit Community High School) kids thrive with this experiential, mentor-based, community-focused learning,”
Change by Design is a project-based class in the Detroit Connections program, in which students respond to pressing social needs through design thinking — including visioning, concept generation, sketching ideas, everyday ethnography, creative experimentation, and extensive prototyping. Students form interdisciplinary teams to work on entrepreneurial design projects focused on various issues that face the 9th grade partners at Detroit Community High School. As part of the course, students acquire the theoretical frameworks and skills necessary for undertaking a social enterprise. They then use those tools to design and develop their own ideas for a social venture that creates possibilities, products, and systems in response to real world problems.
Detroit SOUP is a micro loan project/event founded in the Mexicantown neighborhood of Detroit in February 2010 by Kate Daughdrill and Jessica Hernandez. The idea was taken from InCUBATE (“a research group dedicated to exploring new approaches to arts administration and arts funding”) who started the idea in their Chicago neighborhood. Participants pay $5 for dinner, listen to presentations about creative projects happening in Detroit, and vote on which project to fund with the money raised from the meal that night.
Update: The story on Detroit SOUP, featuring interviews with Stamps and DCH students, aired on NBC Nightly News January 2. Check out NBC’s clips below.
Soup dinners fund micro-grants in Michigan
“Their designs, their products, their profits”