The Winterhouse Symposium on Design Education for Social Impact was launched by the Winterhouse Institute in 2010 to gather leading educators working at the intersection of design and social impact.
Since 2010, educators from over 25 private and public institutions from across the United States and around the world have participated in the Symposium to explore the teaching and practice of design for social impact in undergraduate and graduate design education.
The goal of the annual Symposium is to share and develop methods and tools for teaching and practicing social impact design. The Symposium also aims to deepen relationships and foster collaborations among the participants and to build partnerships with the wider design and social impact community. Participants share updates and learnings from their specific programs and institutions and collaborate on projects of shared interest.
Topics that have been explored in previous Symposia include:
defining social impact design;
charting new social impact design academic programs;
case studies of effective projects for social impact design based in educational institutions;
forming partnerships between educational institutions and outside partners and communities;
establishing metrics for social impact design programs;
balancing educational/curricular goals with social impact goals;
publishing and disseminating information about social impact design;
creating career pathways and opportunities with the field for students and educators;
developing more infrastructure for social impact design;
business models and financial sustainability of social impact design education and practice;
new ideas and proposals for collective action and for advancing the field.
The Symposium is a truly collective effort – the agenda and content is co-created by the participants, and the event is hosted and organized by a different institution each year to encourage shared ownership and group learning. Symposium participants are also invited to serve for the year on the Winterhouse Institute Advisory Council to contribute to the broader vision, strategy and programming of the Institute.
Symposium Participating Institutions (2010-2019)
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
(New york, NY)
In August 2019, we were excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our annual Winterhouse Symposium on Design Education for Social Impact at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.
We gathered a diverse group of 50+ national and international social design educators, practitioners, and partners, to connect and grow the community. The collective group worked together alongside the Cooper Hewitt education team to explore how the museum might further enhance the public’s understanding of social design methods and processes through a future installation in its Process Lab.
(san francisco, ca)
In August 2018, the annual Winterhouse Symposium on Design Education for Social Impact was hosted by our friends at Adobe’s Global Education Programs.
We also gathered a diverse group of 50+ national social design educators, practitioners, and partners at the Autodesk Gallery for a social gathering to connect and grow the community, thanks to the support of the Autodesk Foundation and Sappi Ideas that Matter.
University of Illinois at chicago (UIC) School of Design
MARYLAND INSTITUTE COLLEGE OF ART (MICA)
CENTER FOR SOCIAL DESIGN
(falls village, CT)
final report on design observer
bellagio design symposium
bellagio center, The rockefeller Foundation
In April 2010, the Winterhouse Institute hosted the Bellagio Design Symposium – Reasons Not to Be Pretty: Symposium on Design, Social Change and the Museum – at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy. The Symposium gathered 22 designers, historians, curators, educators and journalists to discuss the museum's role in the 21st century in relation to design for social change, asking how museums should collect, archive and exhibit objects of social innovation.
aspen design summit
(aspen meadows, co)
In November 2009, the Winterhouse Institute, in collaboration with AIGA and the International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA), hosted the Aspen Design Summit at the Aspen Institute in Colorado. The Summit drew a diverse group of over 70 designers, educators, researchers and representatives of NGOs, foundations and businesses to explore the evolving role of design and designers in addressing large social problems.