Design conference promotes civic engagement
Published: Friday, March 23, 2012
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012 09:03
The West Virginia University School of Art and Design is hosting its first Designing for the Divide conference Friday and Saturday to promote community and civic action.
The event will bring students and the community together with graphic, product and social designers in an attempt to address economic, environmental and social issues and to discuss possible solutions.
The conference will host four keynote speakers, including Yossi Lemel, an Israeli poster artist whose poster designs reflect his deep commitment to humanitarian issues, particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His work has won many awards and is featured in permanent collections in museums in the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Workshops will allow students and community members to learn from and communicate with professionals in the design field about how community divisions on important issues can be overcome to solve problems, said Eve Faulkes, a conference chair and professor in the School of Art and Design.
"I don’t think we will reconcile our differences, but we can start to come together," Faulkes said. "There are those attributes that make a community work, and we need to look at them and learn from them."
Divisive issues in a community can create problems, Faulkes said, and finding solutions to those concerns allow for a more collaborative atmosphere.
"In our own community, we’ve had a fracking ban that divided us. Even the smoking ban has divided us. If we think of the community first and start to question where we are getting our information, it will allow us to be more collaborative and considerate," she said.
A series of 18 conference presenters from WVU and across the United States will cover a wide array of topics, from building great-looking housing with high energy efficiency at low costs, to changing the perception of the blind and visually-impaired to qualified job candidates.
Workshop registration is currently full, but students and the community are invited to attend Lemel’s keynote address Friday at 5 p.m.
The event will feature a poster show at Arts Monongahela, an art gallery on High Street dedicated to showcasing local artisans.
A full schedule of conference events is available at www.designingforthedivide.org.