Designing a Fellowship Experience

How might we enable a museum to build their capacity by using the community’s power to design for social change? 

AGENCY

Team of 6 collaborators

ROLE

Design Lead

LOCATION

New York

The Problem.

The Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) is a non-traditional museum that defines design as a creative process that inspires change, transforms lives and makes the world a better place. Their mission is to advance the understanding and appreciation of design as the convergence of creativity and functionality through exhibitions, education, and programming for visitors of all ages. While traditional Museums ask visitors to accept authoritative institutional interpretations of objects through exhibiting the outcomes, MODA creates space for change to happen. Being a forward-thinking design museum that is developing its identity as a center for social change, MODA needed to reposition the focus of their programs. 

Design an experience that inspires visitors to envision a better future and then to advocate for (or demand) the design that can bring change.

The Research.

Mapping Current Assets

Through our research we found that MODA relied heavily on their volunteer network - community members from different age groups and backgrounds - to help manage their program events. MODA wants to further its mission by empowering the Atlanta community to create change, but their existing programming was already exhausting their full-time staff.

Defining the Design Challenge

How might we create a program that allows MODA, with their existing resources, to build their capacity by using the power of the community to design for social change?

Getting to Know the Target Audience

We tapped into the network of young creatives and university students in Atlanta who expressed interest in MODA, most of whom have already served as volunteers. Even with the knowledge and high interest, they didn’t know of the programs that were going on within the museum.

Identifying a New Audience

How might MODA gain recurring fellows that have deeper, stronger relationships with MODA and define incentives for giving their time? With their creative experience, how can MODA gain new perspectives on how to design better experiences for their existing and future programs?

Design Response

We designed a new fellowship experience for MODA. The program's goal was to expand MODA’s audience to a younger generation of individuals who are passionate about social issues and create a community of advocates that embody MODA’s culture and values.

MODA’s Fellowship program is aimed at demystifying design as an everyday practice that paves the way for change. In order to better link what happens inside their walls (exhibitions and programs) with that’s happening outside, the fellowship program was designed to change the structure of the museum by inviting unexpected experts and cultivating young leaders in, who seek ways to organize and implement community-driven design projects that have real-world impact.