Weitzman News

Posted August 21, 2018
  • Sharon Hayes, ‘In the Near Future,’ 2009, 35mm multiple-slide projection

    Professor of Fine Arts Sharon Hayes, seen here in a work from 2009, is teaching a new course that will “explore the wide and expansive territories of art making that exist between live performance and mediated image.”

New Courses Focus on Social Impact, Design Thinking, and Image Making

PennDesign is expanding its course offerings for Fall 2018 with several new courses—including seminars, studios, and workshops—that reflect the School’s interdisciplinary approach to the built environment and visual culture. The courses offer students opportunities to explore the architecture of the hospital amid evolving notions of how the built environment impacts public health, work with local communities on projects that could improve the civic sphere, and examine works of art that challenge traditional ways of perceiving reality. With these additions in the departments of architecture, city and regional planning, and fine arts, PennDesign brings its total offering of electives for the semester to more than 75. 

Department of Architecture

Visual Literacy (Instructor: Kutan Ayata)

This course, focused on visual culture, involves weekly lectures on a range of topics and weekly student pinups. From the description: “The reality of our discipline is that we work through collective mediums and conventions of drawings, models, images, simulations, texts, prototypes and buildings to visualize architectural concepts. These mediums all require degrees of expertise in techniques that are necessary for their execution …”

Design Thinking (Instructor: Sarah Rottenberg)

From the course description: “Design thinking—incorporating processes, approaches, and working methods from traditional designers' toolkits—has become a way of generating innovative ideas to challenging problems and refining those ideas. Rapid prototyping techniques, affordable and accessible prototyping platforms, and an iterative mindset have enabled people to more reliably translate those ideas into implementable solutions. In this course, students will be exposed to these techniques and learn how to engage in a human-centered design process.”

New Approaches to an Architecture of Health (Instructor: Mikael Avery)

This course is concerned with the role of architecture in public health, with particular focus on the evolving form and function of the hospital. From the course description: “This seminar will begin with an exploration of the historical and contemporary perspectives on the role of the architect and built environment on health … During this conversation, students will read articles and study recently constructed projects in order to examine the ways in which the architects approached these topics through built form.”

Designing for Equity (Instructor: Aaron Levy)

How has architecture changed in the fifty years since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.? This seminar will survey key debates about social equity in architectural theory from 1968 to the present. From the course description: “We will discuss histories of architectural complicity and entanglement and study how design often exacerbates racial and socio-economic injustice. We will also engage current design practices for social intervention, and debate our responsibility to design for equity. Finally, the seminar will address challenges facing the next generation of designers and educators, including socio-economic inequality, labor rights, urbanization, migration, and climate change.” The reading list includes architecture critics Mike Davis, Fredric Jameson, Andrew Ross, Eyal Weizman, Peggy Deamer, Keller Easterling, and David Harvey, as well as theorists Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, and Giorgio Agamben. 

To inquire about these courses, students should contact arch@design.upenn.edu.

Department of City and Regional Planning

Urban Research Methods (Instructor: Akira Rodriguez)

From the description: “This new course will introduce students to the practice of conducting original social, policy, and planning research in an urban context, and through a series of applied exercises, cover the following topics: research conceptualization and design, logic models, survey and ethnographic research, urban policy analysis and evaluation.”

Social Impact in Practice (Instructors: Julie Donofrio and David Gould)

This course is co-taught by Julie Donofrio, managing director of PennPraxis, and David Gould, of the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild project. From the description: “The course intends to reverse common perceptions and practices of community engagement … and discuss how to productively and sensitively work with communities of all types, on projects of all scales, to work towards common goals and high aspirations.”

To inquire about these courses, students should contact roslynne@design.upenn.edu.

Department of Fine Arts

Performance/Camera: Performance And-With-Through-For Cameras (Instructor: Sharon Hayes)

From the description: “This intermediate course will explore the wide and expansive territories of art making that exist between live performance and mediated image making ... Using photography, video and performance in equal parts, the course is a hands-on exploration of this capacious terrain. The course will be structured by a series of bi-weekly assignments that allow for individual and collective production.”

Converging Landscapes: Art, Ecology, and History (Instructor: Paul Farber)

Taught by the artistic director of the public-art program Monument Lab, this course is “a civic studio and structured as a socially-engaged art praxis experience” focused on questions of civic belonging and shifting demographics in Philadelphia. “Students in the course will participate as members of specialized research teams, working a set number of hours per week, write reflection papers, and produce a final site-specific research portfolio.”

Digital Photography II (Instructor: Jamie Diamond)

From the description: “In this course students will continue to develop conceptual, technical, aesthetic and formal strategies in digital photography, expanding their artistic process while refining their critical approach to researched subject matter. The class will be driven initially by a series of assignments formulated to further expose students to broad possibilities related to the medium and then they will be guided towards the evolution of a personalized body of work that is culturally, theoretically and historically informed.”

To inquire about these courses, students should contact fnarug@design.upenn.edu or mfa@design.upenn.edu.