DAY 1 - Intro to Art & Design

Students will be given an overview of the course structure & content.

Students will pinpoint various issues affecting Boston communities and will be introduced to climate change in Boston as the principal problem guiding the rest of the Institute’s activities.


Obj 1: Develop an introductory understanding of design & co-design framework.

Obj 2: Explore how art plays a role in design/ how co-design tools are used in everyday scenarios

Opening Activity

Guiding Question: What is Design/Codesign?

Professor and Student Introduction: (15 MIN)

  1. Students will introduce themselves.
    • (Name, year, major, place they consider home.)
  2. Professor will provide a Course Overview:
    • Course Summary (Topics, Expectations/Cool Visuals)
    • Codesign Institute Presentation for Core Meeting that can be used as foundation for course overview slide show.
    • Institute’s use of Boston (geography and history) and climate change as a lens to introduce Design/CoDesign approaches.
    • What is a designer?
    • Community Norms: Professor will have preset guidelines (found here) which students can add to if they see fit

Introductory Activity: 1000 Uses (15 MIN)

  1. Students will be divided equally into groups (1-6). Note that students will be in the same working groups for the remainder of the Institute.
  2. Before sending them off to their respective breakout rooms, students will be shown an image (i.e. a paperclip or an art tool) and challenged to come up with as many uses for the object as they can in 1-2 minutes.
  3. Groups will document their ideas on the 1000 Uses Activity section of Institute’s Miro Board (found in Day 1 Frame).
  4. When time is up, groups will come together and share the ideas they generated.

Purpose: Students will get practice thinking outside the box, encouraging wild ideas, exploring how art and design intersect. Students will be introduced to MIRO website as a design tool used to document and visualize ideas.

Key Questions & Topics

What is Design/CoDesign?
How does this fit in with who an Emerson student is (an artist)?

How do we use both art and Boston as a lens to understand Co-design?

What are the Design Fundamentals?
Framing a Design Challenge, Steps in Design Methods

Design Scoping
What’s the challenge space? What experience are you trying to affect?

Core Activity

Guiding Question: What are the “Wicked Problems” affecting Boston?

“Boston’s Wicked Problems”: (25 MIN)

  1. In random groups of two, students will spend 5 minutes reflecting on/documenting the “Wicked Problems” affecting Boston and its residents. Note: Students can take note of the problems they come up with on their own paper/document and have them ready to share with the class once they leave breakout groups.
  2. Challenge students to think both broadly and specifically about challenges that extend beyond their own experiences or communities.
    • Broad: gentrification, race and socioeconomic inequality
    • Specific: development from Universities is displacing Boston communities via rising rent/demolition of homes
  3. As a class, students will take 15-20 minutes to take inventory of “Boston’s Wicked Problems.” Students will take turns sharing and the class’ cumulative problems will be added to the Institute's Miro Boston's Wicked Problems Board in Day 1 Frame.

Purpose: Students are introduced to Design Fundamentals (brainstorming) and begin familiarizing themselves with past and contemporary issues affecting the greater Boston community.

Closing Activity (Reflection & Evaluation)

Guiding Question: How do we use both climate change, art, and Boston as lenses to understand Co-design?

Introducing Institute’s Guiding Issue and “Framing a Design Challenge #1”: (45 MIN)
Acknowledging the variety of issues affecting Boston communities, the instructor will pivot conversation to 1 issue: climate change in Boston.

  1. Students will watch the Boston & Climate Change video together and share initial reactions to the video.
  2. After initial reactions, the instructor will present a fictional scenario to be considered along with the video.

Suppose the courses’ students have been hired by their academic institution to design a project that addresses how the institution and its many communities can work together to address/mitigate climate change effects in Boston and their institution.

  1. Following the scenario explanation, students will be sent to previous breakout groups and given 25 minutes to complete the “Frame the Design Challenge” for the video case study and this scenario.

  2. After 25 minutes, students will return from breakout groups and will spend the remainder of the allotted time sharing their journey to creating a problem statement and creating “How Might We Questions.”

    • After students share, Instructor will advise students to bracket their sensibilities. Unlike other codesign projects, in this scenario, students are working with communities they likely have encountered before.
    • Encourage students to think about the heterogeneous communities at their Institution.

Purpose: Students will be introduced to guiding case study and design methods that will be explored and expanded in following lessons. Students will begin delving deeper into a contemporary issue affecting the greater Boston community.

Post Session Work

  • Group Work: Students will complete the “Frame a Design Challenge” Group Activity asynchronously if they don't have enough time during class, including the “How Might We?” section.
  • Individual Work: Students will complete *Anonymous* Privilege/Asset Online Questionnaire. Students will complete a 200 word reflection that covers their reactions to their experience filling out the questionnaire and their corresponding scores.
  • Students will have the opportunity to share their reflections at the beginning of the following day’s class.