The dictionary definition of “community” includes meanings that range from local to global
levels, and this is also the range of my approach to community in teaching. On a local level, in 2009 I established an ongoing external partnership in which students design a kitchen utensil for the annual fund-raising event of Toronto’s The Stop Community Food Centre. The proceeds go to The Stop’s innovative anti-hunger programs. In pedagogical terms, this studio works under the umbrella of the model of “service learning.”
I am particularly proud of the scope of this studio’s learning experience as it serves the entire first-year interior design population, which means that from the ”get go” students learn that design can be both aesthetically driven and serve a diverse social-economic community.
The ways in which my definition of community extends beyond the classroom to reach the general public include, for example, exhibits of my students’ work at the Church Street Galleries, SID Professional Gallery and Ryerson Library and participation conferences and fund raising events.
In 2012, our collaboration expanded to include the design and fabrication of food and items carts At The Stop Night Market.