Design Education for International Engagement: Art Center College of Design

By Richard Koshalek, Erica Clark and Mariana Amatullo.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

For over 76 years, Art Center College of Design, located in Pasadena, California, has been one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. The college has garnered this position by continuing to examine and evolve its educational philosophy and creative practices in response to the swift technological and socioeconomic changes of the 21st century. Today, with collaboration becoming increasingly important across disparate fields of knowledge and between design disciplines, Art Center’s curricula functions within a highly dynamic framework defined by a multidisciplinary, rigorous, and experimental atmosphere, as well as by a fundamental orientation to reality. The institution is a laboratory for innovation, a locus for partnerships with both industry and public sector development agencies, and a center of international dialogue in design. Since the founding of the International Initiatives Department in 1999, global engagement and social relevance have become even further heightened concerns college-wide. The nature and role of academic institutions in a time of accelerated global transformation represents a provocative inquiry that is synergetic with Art Center’s own and ongoing institutional redefinition and educational agenda. This paper provides an overview of the core programmatic pillars that have enabled the college to best foster relevance beyond its walls, and generate a constant flow of research, cross-sectoral partnerships, and new ideas. The authors also offer a summary of the most significant strategies and alliances behind Art Center’s innovative approach to internationalism, along with a discussion of methodologies and exemplary projects that champion the contributions of the creative individual as a powerful change agent and a citizen of the larger world.

Keywords: Design Education, Relevance, Social and Humanitarian Applications, Internationalism, Cross-Sectoral Partnerships, Engagement, Innovation, Creativity, Business-Design Alliances

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.23-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.371MB).

Richard Koshalek

President, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, USA

Richard Koshalek began his tenure as President of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in September of 1999. Born in Wausau, Wisconsin, Koshalek attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where he received a B.A. in architecture (1965) and an M.A. in architecture and art history (1967). Koshalek was director of The Museum of Contemporary Art from 1982 to 1999, and joined MOCA in 1980 as deputy director and chief curator. He served as director of the Fort Worth Art Museum from 1974 to 1976 and worked at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis from 1967 to 1973 as curator, assistant curator and exhibitions coordinator. Koshalek is a former member of the International Board of the Wexner Center for the Arts, Board Member of the American Federation of Arts, was a speaker and moderator at the World Economic Forum in 2002 and 2003, and was named a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Government (1999). He was chairman of the Architectural Subcommittee for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In 2007, he served as a jury member on the Architectural Selection Committee for the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.

Erica Clark

Senior Vice President, International Initiatives, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, USA

As Senior Vice President of International Initiatives at Art Center College of Design, Erica Clark works closely with President Koshalek, trustees, department chairs, faculty, alumni, students and staff of the College to build relationships and content-based programs that position Art Center in the midst of international dialogue in many arenas. As founder of the department, Erica has developed a range of programs that engage the Art Center community with key issues relevant to the design professions and the larger world. Examples include: The biennial Art Center Design Conference series, the Designmatters initiative, the Art Center Global Dialogue series, and a variety of cross-institutional collaborations with educational partners such as INSEAD, the preeminent business school in Europe and Asia.

Mariana Amatullo

Director, International Initiatives, Designmatters, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, USA

Mariana Amatullo, co-founder and director of the College-wide initiative Designmatters, is the Director of the International Initiatives Department of Art Center College of Design. In this capacity, she works closely with Art Center President Richard Koshalek and the educational leadership of the College in developing strategic partnerships that enhance Art Center’s commitment to be at the forefront of international design education. Through her leadership, Art Center is the first design institution to be designated by the United Nations as a non-governmental organization (NGO). In her role, Mariana is responsible for overseeing an innovative portfolio of ongoing design projects and publications, and is also at the helm with Mr. Koshalek of a cross-institutional communication campaign under development on earthquake preparedness in Southern California. In 2006-07 Mariana served as an advisory board member to UNESCO”s Social Design Network and judged UNESCO and Felissimo’s Design 21 international competition “Heated Issue” focusing on new design proposals towards sustainability; she also contributed as an advisor to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum exhibition “Design for the Other 90%.” Mariana holds a Licence en Lettres Degree from the Sorbonne University, Paris, and a M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Southern California.

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