Faculty from Winston-Salem State University and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts are partnering to create four interdisciplinary design studios that will tackle some of the biggest problems facing the region, including equity, mobility, scientific literacy, education and environmental resilience.
The studios will be based at the Center for Design Innovation (CDI), a multi-campus research center for the University of North Carolina System located in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.
The faculty-led studios represent a new approach for CDI, said Jim DeCristo, vice chancellor for economic development and chief of staff for UNCSA and interim director for CDI.
“Each studio will bring together students, faculty, and community leaders across disciplines to develop meaningful solutions to contemporary challenges,” DeCristo said. “The studios will help UNCSA and WSSU reimagine education and research with design as the central tool.”
The studios will allow the two Winston-Salem-based UNC institutions to pull from each other’s strengths, he said. WSSU brings its strong reputation in areas of health sciences, STEM, and social justice, and UNCSA, in art and design.
Each studio has its own area of activity and approach, and is focused on disciplines crucial to Winston-Salem’s economy: health, art, design, medicine, and education.
These four studios have been created:
Each studio has received $30,000 in start-up funding from CDI. The goal is for each studio to grow through grant and foundation funding, developing immersive, interdisciplinary research projects, DeCristo said. The studios will be supported by the UNCSA School of Filmmaking’s Media and Emerging Technology Lab (METL), and CDI-based Flywheel Coworking.
Elements of the concept were tested earlier this year, with leadership from CDI facilitating projects that brought together students, faculty and staff from WSSU and UNCSA.
The new studios are already having an impact.
HeART Studio received an additional $24,500 Inter-Institutional Planning Grant from the University of North Carolina System for programming in September. In November, HeART Studio co-hosted the play “Daddy’s Boys,” which combines health and the arts to educate about prostate cancer in African American communities. About 900 people attended the free performance.
The Spatial Justice Studio established a fellows program for faculty and community members to support spatial justice community-based projects. In November, the HeART and Spatial Justice studios co-hosted an environmental justice seminar at WSSU featuring the Rev. William Kearney, a pastor in Warren County and community outreach manager for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
CDI was established in 2005 through a partnership between WSSU, UNCSA, and Forsyth Technical Community College.
December 19, 2018