SFI! summer update: grant, charrette, and new team members

This is an exciting summer for Spark-Fuel-Ignite! (SFI!). The project recently received grant funding from the Connelly Foundation and Ms. Eleanor Davis, UArts Board Member. With this grant, the SFI team plans to incorporate a third high school, potentially John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, and add a new library partner to the project. The SFI! team is excited to work with students from all three schools and facilitate the exploration of design thinking and community engagement that will continue in this next stage of the project. Assessing and learning from the first pilot year, how can this process further its impact?

With analyzation, every project adjusts and improves as it moves into its next iteration. A key aspect to successful growth is to allow a free-flow of conversation without limitations but with guiding principles framing the discussion. Adding external collaborators not intimately familiar with a project can result in fresh, exciting ideas that add new considerations and value.

Knowing this, the SFI! team will host a charrette workshop on July 30-31, 2015. The participants will examine how the project, as it grows, can become a more sustainable process that can become models and potentially implemented in other schools and communities.

Guiding this conversation and facilitating the charrette will be Whitney Owens, Museum Consultant. The workshop will be attended by Brad Larson, Brad Larson Media, Peggy Monahan, NYHS and Paul Oriselli, POW!, Erin Benard, Philadelphia History Truck, as well as representative from Science Leadership Academy@Beeber, String Theory High School, the Franklin Institute, the Free Library, the Corzo Center of Innovation, UArts Continuing Education and UArts MS graduate faculty and students.

Part of this next iteration is re-examining the physical structure that the HS students and graduates designed over the past year. UArts graduate student Brie Logsdon, MEP+D ’16 is spending her summer considering what material and structural changes can make the “pop-up” exhibit more visually and physically engaging for community participants when programming is not active.

Over the next year, SFI! will grow with the help of some new additions to the team.

Reyna Boyer, MEP+D ’11 has been hired part-time under the grant as the Project Manager/Design Facilitator to manage both the project and overall design needs over this next year-long process.

Erin Bernard, Founder, Philadelphia History Truck, will be the professor for the community engagement, oral history collection and pilot/prototype testing for the fall ’15 Prototyping Lab course. The core of this class will be moving from making community connections and gathering stories to developing and designing next generation “pop-up” exhibits that will be installed through out the city in library branches and galleries. This fall’s community is Chinatown and the theme is “home”, conversations about what that means to immigrant and third-culture groups.Graduate and high school students will be working directly with the community to turn stories into physical dynamic exhibitions.

Spark-Fuel-Ignite! is ramping up for another explosive year!


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