Pennsylvania State University: Sustainability

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Student Perspectives

“This exact collaboration is something that I will have to do in the real world as a practicing architect, so the experience I gained from the SLOPS studio was invaluable.”

“This was truly an experience unlike any other I’ve had in typical classes, and I would like to be a part of more programs like this in the future. I would like to create more new exciting designs and objects to inspire myself and others. This class was truly progressive as it widened the spectrum of collaboration, typical structured classes, along with encouraging new forms and depth of artistic explorations and exhibits by students and faculty.”

“The Secret Life of Public Spaces was a fun and educational experience. I have seen how collaboration can and cannot work with so many people with such a diverse background of disciplines.”

“The friends I have made and the things I have learned from Diavolo and working on the Glowing Cities project was a blast. I believe this grant and project was something I will never forget and would love to do again if a little more organized.”

“Ultimately, this project was supposed to be a students’ collaborative process with our teachers guiding us. If I could do it again, I would like for the students to make more decisions about the building and performing side of the project. I believe this project in the end was a huge success.”

“I think this project would have worked better if every single person involved was committed for the full year. Losing all the architects and engineers halfway through was a huge obstacle. Everyone should have stuck around and made their own products.“

“Throughout the entire process, there was countless doubt being thrown around by both us as well as numerous outsiders. However, after nearly 3 months of 7-day-a-week work on this machine, it all came together in one miraculous moment, with only minor problems that were easily sorted out. The whole experience was incredible, and, in hind sight, one of the most exhilarating and exciting feats I have ever witnessed, much less taken part in.”

“The most rewarding part of this project was the final show at the arboretum when our Dance Vehicle 02 finally worked. Although dancing on top of it was frightening, it was a huge breakthrough, and I look forward to working on it in the future.”

“We ended up having some great stuff to work with, but it could have been better if we had more time with the structures and equipment (with the exception of Veronica – she rocked!). All in all, it was a great experience and I’m glad I had this opportunity. However, I wish it had been more organized and like what was presented to us at the end of last year.”

“Over all, the creative campus project was a wonderful learning experience. I was able to meet many people with a variety of talents and creativity. It was so interesting to see all of the different disciplines’ takes on performances and design ideas. I learned from these viewpoints, which will allow me to expand my creativeness in future projects. By helping the engineers and architects complete their projects, I learned many skills that I never imagined myself doing, such as soldering and stripping wires.”

“As with any experience, you learn from your mistakes and accomplishments. There are always things that you would have done differently. But without experience, you never grow as a person. I think this project allowed all of us to grow in our individual disciplines as well as form a better appreciation for other areas.”

“It was very helpful to have someone who was almost a part of the project, and who also was a part of the bigger project and so knew what the true goal was. I think that coming into the class late, I was confused as to what the culmination of it all would really be like. I believe that the result of our efforts did turn out to achieve the goals of the project, and I am satisfied with them; I do wish we had had more time though.”

“Even though it was really frustrating sometimes, our shows turned out really well. Our arboretum show got some good reviews, and it was really nice to be dancing outside because it was such a different atmosphere from a formal theatre. Our HUB show attracted more people than I thought it would. Dance vehicle 1 ended up being a really exciting piece of equipment for our company members to work with. Throughout the day we even got some random people commenting on how cool the show was. While we’re all glad that this process is finally over, it was a really great learning experience for everyone involved.”

“Overall, the project taught us a lot about how to work with others to collaborate. Hopefully our HUB dance exposed the public to dance that they wouldn’t typically have been exposed to otherwise.”

“Individually I feel extremely ‘collabor-itized.’ I’ve learned way more about engineering and the actual fabrication of devices, been introduced to the professional world, and have started finding inspiration from incorporating movement into everything I design. The combination this project provided of design, engineering, and dance has greatly benefited me throughout the year, and I’m confident to say it will continue to influence my future projects and life.”

“I truly believe that if someone was dedicated enough to the essence of collaboration, to the project itself, and to working outside their comfort zone, they would find immeasurable value in this experience. In a sense, this project gave out what you gave in. If you worked hard, took every opportunity you could, and made your own opportunities when there didn’t seem to be any, it was the perfect environment to grow in and learn from.”

“I would never have predicted the direction my life now seems to be turning, one of artistic development, personal growth and satisfaction in helping others.”

“Something very powerful has come from this experience, something that I do not think I will fully appreciate for years to come.”

“I would really like to use dance in the future to explore ways in which people may begin to play in different ways, both as children and adults.”

Team Leadership Perspectives

“The College of Engineering’s Learning Factory will continue to reach out and engage students in arts and architecture on future capstone design projects that would benefit from their input.”

“Faculty in Arts & Architecture will continue to be encouraged to submit and participate in the College of Engineering’s senior capstone design program through the Learning Factory.”

“The project has also started to foster research-based collaborations among faculty that extend beyond the immediate team, e.g., meeting new faculty in other colleges through social and departmental events.”

“Several faculty have also been discussing ways to sustain the inter-college course activities beyond the life of the grant, e.g., co-taught courses, shared design studios, new interdisciplinary design programs.”

“There are also discussions about creating inter-departmental graduate programs based on these interdisciplinary design activities.”

“Proof of concept for the IdeaLab model: IdeaLab enabled collaboration, inter- and multi-disciplinarity, rigorous inquiry, and provided agency for faculty partners to attach studio efforts directly to their research, all in a hybrid studio/laboratory format that turned local knowledge/expertise into common knowledge/expertise and created a broad range of responses to social/environmental/technological issues related to public space. While conventional studio practices include paper-based proposal-making models and perhaps design/build projects, IdeaLab student teams began producing full-scale mock-ups and prototypes of design response within two weeks, using public input, interdisciplinary critique, faculty knowledge and experience, and hyper-responsive making to iteratively and rapidly evolve design.”

“An elaboration of a design-based model of action research: Action research was developed in the 1940s as a method to bridge the gap between research (creating relevant new knowledge in a field) and application (improving the situation of a partner). Action research bears many of the hallmarks of design practice, but design often lacks the generalizability and replicability of traditional research. The Secret Life of Public Spaces project developed a new model through implementation, which combines action research’s capacity for substantive research (on public space) and application (to the project’s performance events) with documented, generalizable outcomes (issues, strategies, interventions in the public realm). “

“I do not think there will be sustainability that comes out of this project overall. I imagine all departments will continue a relationship with the Learning Factory, especially ARCH and LARCH. This relationship between the LF and SALA was already in place and has been developed by faculty members not part of this project.”

“I am left with great disappointment over this project. I still greatly desire to work in collaboration with other faculty at Penn State, but I do not feel that is foundationally supported by the college’s administration. It has lip service paid to it, and everyone wants to flaunt it and feel good about themselves if something happens, but the structure does not support giving time for true collaboration to happen. You must figure it out for yourself.”

“Dance is already moving forward with a new project working with the school director of SALA.”

“Dance is also involved in a collaborative project with students from the visual art sculpture graduate program.”

“Dance is planning to co-create an East Coast intensive with Diavolo.”

“This project taught me several lessons on radical collaboration, specifically with arts and architecture, that I will integrate into various courses I teach in the future. One simple but significant set of lessons were about the approach to design and the use of metaphors to discuss ideas. The charettes and studio pedagogies are also very beneficial, and I have been trying to develop a version of a ‘studio’ that can fit better with my courses.”

“I was exposed to several unique and unusual career trajectories for engineers and entrepreneurs in the arts. These will help me advise students seeking alternate, exciting careers.”

“The Center for the Performing Arts, leveraging past relationships with faculty from across the university, established a Faculty Think Tank to generate interdisciplinary projects for the future.”

“The CPA was awarded a Mellon Foundation grant in support of classical music programming, positioning us to continue the work of the Creative Campus Innovations program through the creation of interdisciplinary opportunities for Penn State students and faculty, in this case around classical music.”

“The activities and buzz around the grant expanded awareness among faculty and others across the University about the potential of partnering with the Center. This has led to increased conversations, new partnerships, and potential for future projects.”

“Sustained relationships between Diavolo and the CPA/faculty/students is under active consideration.”

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