FUSE 2019 × AIGA Chicago

Photographed: Henock Beyen of One Design speaks to Chicago Public School students during an AIGA Chicago-sponsored event. Photo courtesy of One Design.

FUSE 2019 partners with Vernon Lockhart, Project Osmosis, and AIGA Chicago to bring design education to inner cities. The program will empower the creative future and boost design careers and resources for public school systems.

FUSE-OSMOSIS-AIGA-SHARES Program Launching April 8, 2019: Bringing Diverse Career Paths, Mentoring, Role Models to High Schools.

Chicago, March 27, 2019 – FUSE Design, Project Osmosis, and AIGA Chicago have announced that they will collaborate on sharing live and virtual resources from the FUSE 2019 Design & Brand Strategy Conference with Chicago Public Schools in a pilot Conference-to-Public-School-System knowledge exchange.

The program aims to tackle the lack of diversity in industries where minorities are underrepresented, which has also compelled companies like Uber, Google, Verizon, and Airbnb to demonstrate stronger commitments to diversity and inclusion. Like the tech industry, the design industry has historically had low numbers of minority representation. A 2016 study by Google and AIGA found that only 9% of designers were Hispanic, 8% Asian, and 3% African-American.

“We want to be able to say 10, 20, 50 years from now that we were able to encourage thousands of youth to pursue design careers they may never have considered otherwise. I believe every person has the human right to be creative, regardless of their economic background or race. This project with FUSE and AIGA Chicago can amplify our goal,” said Lockhart, who founded Project Osmosis in 1998, and who is a principal of Art On The Loose, Inc., a multidisciplinary design firm based in Chicago, and a professor of design inclusion at the School of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. For the past 21 years, Project Osmosis has engaged minority youth in activities that promote creativity and self-expression. The organization helps 700+ students each year to gain access to and knowledge about career opportunities in design.

“We’re thrilled to work with Vernon Lockhart and Project Osmosis, who are truly leaders in this field and inspire so many others, and with AIGA Chicago, to ensure that we don’t ‘just hold a design conference,’ but instead leave something of real value behind that Chicago Public Schools can use to make design careers visible, and boost opportunities for teachers and students to connect with us and create the future. In the year of the 100th Anniversary of the Bauhaus, which migrated to Chicago and IIT, it seemed only fitting that we continue to make design a more public opportunity,” said Julie Anixter, FUSE Conference Curator and Chair and native Chicagoan.

Together, Project Osmosis and AIGA Chicago will identify high school teachers and students to participate in the conference in meaningful ways, including meeting and introducing speakers on stage, contributing to special mentoring sessions with people like Audrey Arbeeny, CEO of Audio Brain, and Ken Kocienda, former principal engineer of Apple’s iPhone and author of Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs.

AIGA Chicago co-president David Sieren noted: “Our collective goal in this collaboration is to look beyond the conventional association conference model and embrace the next generation of design talent, providing professional exposure and access to knowledge related to major areas of change impacting our industry today. The goals of the partnership perfectly align with the mission of AIGA Chicago. We look forward to being able to share our passion for:

  • The potential of design to substantively impact the world around us
  • Expanding career path opportunities
  • Modern design methodologies
  • And the evolving relationships between designer and client.”

AIGA Chicago will also be leading an interactive workshop during the conference entitled Impact Lab – First Envision Your Project’s Outcomes, in partnership with Justin Ahrens and AIGA Path to Impact Task Force members Lennie Mowris and Laurel Webster.  

“We were inspired by Jamie Dimons recent remarks at the NY Economic Club to do more to support local communities…as well as Larry Fink’s call to corporate leaders to embody their purpose,” said Kelly Schram, head of product development at KNect 365’s Insights, Marketing and Innovation division. “Dimon says that if we don’t address high schools we’re ensuring generations of poverty to come. Working with AIGA Chicago and Project Osmosis, who are doing amazing work at the high school level, is a great opportunity to learn how we can add the most value through our conferences.”

To learn more about the FUSE Conference, April 8–10, 2019, please visit FUSE 2019.

Header photo courtesy of One Design. Henock Beyen of One Design speaks to Chicago Public School students during an AIGA Chicago-sponsored event.

By AIGA Chicago
Published April 5, 2019
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