Announcing the Shapiro Design Lab Residency

Photo of Post-It notes covering a wall in the Shapiro Design Lab by Bethany Hayden

Photo by Bethany Hayden

The Shapiro Design Lab is a hands-on collaborative learning environment located on the First Floor of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library. The Lab focuses on creative learning opportunities and experiences across research, artistic, and teaching projects, accomplishing this through a network of learning spaces in Shapiro and in collaboration with the Duderstadt Center Design Labs on North Campus. The spaces house a gallery, prototyping supplies, and specialized equipment including media production stations, 3D printers, letterpress, and a sewing machine. We also have expert staff to help users get started. Finally, we prioritize diversity, inclusiveness, and accessibility in our spaces, tools, the communities who use the Lab, and the people who work in the Lab. 

The Design Lab Residency is a new peer-learning community that focuses on fostering interdisciplinary and collaborative projects from all parts of the University, building practical skills for students for life after graduation, and helping to grow the Shapiro Design Lab’s learning communities.

This one-year Residency is open to both graduate students and undergraduate students. It is a hybrid position, requiring an even distribution of time toward an extracurricular project and the development of the Design Lab learning communities. Your project will be sponsored by the Shapiro Design Lab, and you will also have the opportunity to develop and steward elements and projects within the Lab. Residents will be expected to a work a minimum of 8 hours per week, up to a maximum of 12 hours per week at $15-17/hour. 

Design Lab Residents should value and demonstrate the following characteristics and how they have embodied these within their research, artistic, and/or teaching practice(s):

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration and peer learning
  • Sharing work with others in formal and informal ways (blogs, Github, public scholarship, social media, etc)
  • Desire for developing skills and learning beyond what they learn in the classroom, both technical and interpersonal. 
  • Ability to respond to changing needs within the Lab, given its exploratory and experimental character
  • Responsibility and reliability in accomplishing job tasks
  • Effective and prompt communication across multiple media
  • Interest in collaborating with individuals from a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and viewpoints

Responsibilities for Design Lab Residents

  • Develop or refine your project in the Lab spaces
  • Share your work process with fellow Residents, online at the Design Lab blog (through text, audio, video, and photos), and in the Process Gallery
  • Participate in weekly meetings that will consist of training and workshops for a variety of skills
  • Contribute to a collaborative publication at the end of the year
  • Staff Open Lab shifts and other Design Lab events, which will include assistance and peer consultation with projects and tools in the Lab, checking equipment, basic troubleshooting, and being available for other types of assistance during events
  • Provide peer consultation and mentorship for users of the Design Lab

The Residency is fundamentally exploratory. As such, we encourage applications from a wide range of creative, interdisciplinary projects that open up unique directions in hands-on, collaborative, and engaged learning. A Design Lab Residency project should engage with multiple audiences, develop new perspectives, and build on knowledge gained in the classroom.  It should fit within the engaged learning goals outlined by the University of Michigan, highlighting creativity; intercultural engagement; social/civic responsibility and ethical reasoning; communication, collaboration and teamwork; and self-agency and the ability to take risks.

Work currently underway in the Design Lab includes projects within the following areas, and projects that are connected to these topics will fit uniquely well into the Design Lab’s vision.

  • Citizen science, including crowdsourced classification with the Zooniverse platform and sensor-based measurements
  • Critical study and development of video games
  • Creating, editing, and analyzing content in Wikipedia in a variety of classes
  • Accessibility projects, such as tactile maps
  • “Prototyping the Past,” using contemporary technologies to explore historical objects and ways of making
  • Gallery curation with various media, in both online and physical spaces
  • The “Campus of the Future” initiative, a Bicentennial project that aims to re-envision learning in a residential research university.

Projects developed by members of the Shapiro Design Lab community over the past year focused on areas such as:

  • Physical computing (3D printing, Arduino, Raspberry Pi)
  • Social media (interesting ways of collecting/analyzing while respecting users’ privacy, but also creative uses such as Twitter bots)
  • Letterpress (in a partnership with Wolverine Press)
  • Library Lab (experimenting with new ideas and tools in the Library)
  • Data visualization and sonification
  • Oral history and community archiving

If you have a project that doesn’t fall under any of these categories, please still pitch it to us! What’s more important is how you and how your project will be helped by the experience as a Design Lab Resident and how your work can contribute to the Lab’s development as an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and engaged learning community.

If you are interested in becoming a Design Lab Resident, please fill out this application and submit it by September 20.  If you have any questions about the or the application process, please send us an email.

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