2015 Summer Design Residency CFP and Jury Announcement

December 18, 2014

2015 Jury: Marko Tandefelt, Mimi Zeiger, Sean Donahue, Cher Potter

Clockwise from left: Andrew Friend and Sitraka Rakotoniaina, Detail from The Prophecy Program created during the 2013 MDP Summer Research Residency; 2015 Jury: Marko Tandefelt, Mimi Zeiger, Sean Donahue, Cher Potter

The MDP Summer Design Residency is granted to a creative practitioner or team whose experimental design work engages emerging issues in science, technology, culture, and society. The winning proposal—to be selected by a jury that includes Marko Tandefelt, Mimi ZeigerCher Potter, and Sean Donahue—should demonstrate how design/making can be used as a mode of inquiry and critical engagement.

Gallery view of The Prophecy Program, 2013.

Gallery view of The Prophecy Program, 2013.

Call for Proposals

This call for proposals welcomes designers, filmmakers, architects, artists, hardware sketchers and software developers to submit proposals for design-driven research projects to be conducted in Summer 2015 in residence in the MDP studio. 

In the MDP, we define “media” broadly (see Tim Durfee’s blog post on this subject). Therefore, the residency is open to a range of disciplinary perspectives and practices. Projects that are the best fit will address the technosocial aspects of network or digital culture; pervasive computing; information and communication technology; screen culture; or social media – as part of the subject or process of the work. 

Given the modest budget and time frame, we consider this an opportunity to explore a discrete question as part of a larger investigation and/or an opportunity to test a new idea. Applicants should demonstrate an ability to successfully document and disseminate experimental design and research projects, and to manage a team.

We cannot fund commercial projects – projects for which the researcher is being paid by a client – however we are not averse to projects that have potential commercial applications. The residency is not suitable for the latter stages of a project’s “finish.” To be considered, projects must allow for discovery-through-making during the residency period. The research page of this site shows past residents and faculty research projects that we have supported. 

Art Center's south campus, a Daly-Genik renovation of a former supersonic jet testing facility.

Art Center’s south campus, a Daly-Genik renovation of a former supersonic jet testing facility.

The Jury

Our jury’s eclecticism reflects the MDP approach and interests. Based on the merits and fit of each proposal, ten finalists are selected, which are then blind reviewed by the jury.

Sean Donahue is principal of ResearchCenteredDesign, core faculty of Media Design Practices/Field, and Visiting Scholar at the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art. Sean combines professional commissions, self-initiated research, design advocacy, design pedagogy, and publishing, in projects ranging from media impact studies for city development to hybrid languages for low and no-vision communities. His recent work includes a chapter in Design as Future-Making (Bloomsbury press: forthcoming), inclusion in the exhibition “All Possible Futures,” and ongoing design research with migrant workers in Doha, Qatar and families dealing with long-term crisis response in Fukishima, Japan. His work has appeared in the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial Why Design Now? and the 2011 California Design Biennial Action/Reaction; he has been published in Metropolis Books, Idea, and Volume. He was guest editor of a special issue of Design Philosophy Papers called “Beyond Progressive Design” which called for new design languages to support Design and Systemic change.

Cher Potter is Senior Research Fellow in ‘design futures’ at the Victoria & Albert Museum and University of the Arts London. She consults for design firms and lecturers at University of the Arts and the Architectural Association as well as organising the London-based arts salon Alterfutures – a group of invited artists, designers, film-makers and scientists interested in crafting visions of the future. Having studied and worked in the UK, Europe, Southern Africa, China and Japan, Cher’s experience of global design cultures led to her appointment as curator of the 23rd edition of the Impakt Media Arts Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands which examined the concept of ‘postwestern’ arts and design. Her writing has appeared in the Financial Times, Barbican’s Future Beauty hardcover and Tank Magazine, and she is a contributing editor of 032C Magazine. She is currently compiling a special edition journal on Design Futuring; and developing a pan-African network investigating post-industrial design trends.

Marko Tandefelt is a New York-based instructor, concept designer and musician and Director of Technology & Research at Eyebeam Art+Technology Center in Industry City, Brooklyn, New York. Born in Helsinki, Finland, his background and interests include immersive interactive multisensory cinema, computer visualization systems, electronic music, physical computing, crowdsourcing and sustainable electric transportation systems. Among his recent R&D projects is forming a research unit concentrating on New Cinematic storytelling tools and workflows for immersive interactive multisensory cinema. Prior to Eyebeam, Marko has worked at the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York as an AV & Media Producer in a large scale touring international exhibition Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future, as a Project Director and Curator of SAUMA: Design as Cultural Interface and F2F: New Media Art from Finland exhibitions. Since 2001, he has taught Masters level Physical Computing and Thesis Studio courses at Parsons The New School for Design MFA Design Technology program.

Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and critic. She covers art, architecture, urbanism and design. Zeiger is author of New Museums, Tiny Houses and Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature. She’s lectured internationally on “The Interventionist Toolkit”, a series of articles on alternative urbanist practice she wrote for Places Journal. Zeiger is editor and publisher of loud paper, a zine and blog dedicated to increasing the volume of architectural discourse. She is a founding member of #lgnlgn, a think tank on architecture and publishing. The group’s work has been shown at Urban Design Week, the New Museum, Storefront for Art and Architecture, pinkcomma gallery, and the AA School. She is currently adjunct faculty in the Media Design Practices MFA program at Art Center and co-president of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.


Interior of the Wind Tunnel studio.

Interior of the Wind Tunnel studio.

The Residency

Residents are given project space within the MDP studio. Housed in a former supersonic jet testing facility, the MDP studio is part of a complex called the Wind Tunnel Graduate Center for Critical Practice, which includes the Wind Tunnel Gallery, the Graduate Art MFA studios and galleries, and the Hixon Courtyard, in the heart of Art Center’s south campus in Pasadena, California.

The award includes project space in the MDP studio for up to 14 weeks together with access to the College’s renowned shops and production facilities from letterpress to video editing to large-scale rapid prototyping. The resident will also receive a $5,000 stipend and can submit a project budget for up to $5,000. The resident will also get to work with a project team of 2–5 graduate student research assistants (media designers/design researchers) for 7 weeks.

Residents can have access to the studio and facilities from May 13 – September 20, 2015, during which time they are required to be in residence for a minimum of 7 weeks, from June 29 to August 13. The residency culminates in a small show installed in the Wind Tunnel Gallery from August 13–September 17.

The Wind Tunnel Gallery space, part of the Media Design Practices studio.

The Wind Tunnel Gallery space, part of the Media Design Practices studio.

The Facilities

The MDP will provide dedicated project space. The MDP studio is adjacent to the Graduate Art studios and galleries and will be home to at least one other research team, post-graduate research fellows, and MDP research faculty.

Researchers will have access within the studio to a digital shop, desktop and laptop computers, a digital video editing bay, recording equipment, color printers and plotters, projectors and miscellaneous digital devices. Researchers will also have access to the the College Library, the Color, Materials, and Trends Laboratory, and campus workshops for wood, metal, rapid prototyping, letterpress printing, screenprinting, and more.

The South Campus is walking distance to good housing options and shopping. It is adjacent to the MTA Gold Line which provides easy access to Chinatown, Koreatown, and downtown L.A. There is bus service between the South Campus and the main Hillside Campus.

The Made Up exhibition in the Wind Tunnel Gallery.

The Made Up exhibition in the Wind Tunnel Gallery.

The Research Interns

MDP summer residencies offer our students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience doing research in design. Project Proposals should include plans to engage between 2–5 students as research interns and should include a job description and required skills for each position. The students will receive course credit and are available for 4 days per week for a period of 7 weeks (June 29 – August 13).

Students who are eligible to apply for a research internship will have completed at least one year of graduate school. Our students are media designers from varied backgrounds. Skills/experience may include: communication design, video, motion graphics, environmental media, physical computing prototyping, rapid prototyping, programming, and research and writing. Researchers will have the opportunity to review intern applications and may request interviews before selecting interns.

Deliverables and Calendar

Facilities available: May 11 – September 20, 2015
Student Project team available: June 29–August 13 (7 weeks)
Project installation: August 13
Project work open to public: August 13–Sept. 20
Public Research event: Sept. 17
De-install deadline: Sept. 20
Full documentation due: Oct. 1, 2015

To Apply

Download this pdf for full directions.

Applications are due electronically by midnight, PST, February 1, 2015

Applicants must submit the entire application as a pdf or link by e-mail by midnight, PST, February 1, 2015. The application should include a cv, project form, and 2-page project proposal.


Individuals who will be students at the time of the residency are not eligible, except for doctoral candidates who are ABD. We encourage recent graduates from Masters Programs to apply. Faculty from Art Center College of Design as well as other colleges and universities are encouraged to apply, as are practitioners. Full-time MDP faculty are not eligible, however part-time faculty are.

Applicants from outside the U.S. are responsible for paying for and procuring the necessary visas. Art Center may be able to assist but any additional legal costs would be deducted from the project budget.

Art Center will not pay for housing, shipping, or travel to/from Art Center. However we can recommend resources to locate short-term housing and transportation. We recommend that researchers traveling from other cities, and particularly from other countries, plan to arrive 1-2 weeks prior to the start of the residency in order to allow enough time to get situated.

For more information:

Kevin Wingate: kevin.wingate (at) artcenter.edu
Graduate Media Design: www.artcenter.edu/mdp/

Art Center College of Design: www.artcenter.edu