Upon entering the University Center lobby, visitors’ attention is immediately drawn to the showcase of different projects related to the new multidisciplinary Social Practice minor available to undergraduate students. DEED is honored to participate in this launch exhibition, having made available for display scarves from our partner artisans in Guatemala.
As Lydia Matthews, curator of the exhibition and instructor of the minor’s introductory course “Social Practice Concepts and Contexts,” points out:
“Currently there is a great need and demand for creative people who understand how to work effectively within a range of local and global contexts. The minor will help them better understand how to bring their skills and ideas to the table, but also wisely co-design projects that generate out of those mutual exchanges with individuals and groups they are interested in engaging.”
This focus on collaboration and cultural exchange is an integral component of DEED Lab’s work. By bringing together both the classroom knowledge of students at The New School and the traditional knowledge of artisans in emerging economies, we ensure that the individuals in each group acquire new skills and a new approach toward future projects. Moreover, backed by the resources of The New School, the students are poised to become agents of change, given the opportunity to work directly with their artisan counterparts, engaging in a mutual and cross-cultural exchange..
The Social Practice minor draws upon the strength of The New School’s history of social justice, a theme that is featured prominently in the DEED mission. We aim to support the artisan sector by providing more sustainable ways to advance it – with a commitment to equity and fair wages. We also take the relationship to the next step by exploring provocative projects such as the artisans themselves assuming the role of faculty for our summer courses (to launch in the near future). In this way and others, we work to exemplify the mutual exchanges extolled above by Professor Matthews.