Visual & Performing Arts

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Merrimack Represented at Design Thinkers in Toronto 2019

Associate Professor and Visual and Performing Arts Chair, Nancy Wynn will be speaking on Design Education at the Design Thinkers Conference in Toronto, Canada.

  • Nancy Wynn
    Nancy Wynn
  • Group of Students who participated in the Toy Project
    Group of Students who participated in the Toy Project
  • Image of the Toy Project
    Image of the Toy Project

Associate Professor and Visual and Performing Arts Chair, Nancy Wynn will be speaking on Design Education at the Design Thinkers Conference in Toronto, Canada. The conference serves as a way to bring together industry leaders from across the world to explore the ideas, trends, strategies, and processes that are driving current design communications. Titled, “Breaking Down Biases with Toys: An Interdisciplinary Design Project that Engaged Students Across Disciplines,” her topic will highlight the interdisciplinary work she completed with Assistant Professors Kate Kurkul and Roselita Fragoudakis on their toy project from spring of 2019. 

The three professors, Wynn from Graphic Design, Kurkul from Education, and Fragoudakis from Mechanical Engineering, came together to propose a collaborative project to Merrimack College’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Study. The project was to design, produce, and market a toy for children between birth and three years old. This semester, 67 students participated in the Toy Project. The students formed into eight groups of about eight to ten students each. They met outside of class in their smaller teams and additionally meet once a month in a large group to discuss their work. Throughout the process, outside consultants including a former Hasbro toy consultant, and the Dean of the School of Education, met with the groups to critique and assess the students’ work. Students worked through many challenges, collaborating and blending their different learning styles to create a cohesive team. The students learned not only the importance of teamwork but also saw first hand the importance of leadership and management techniques while learning the interconnectedness of their different disciplines. 

The Design Thinkers conference will take place on October 24-25th 2019. It is Canada’s largest annual design conference and is hosted by RGD: The Association of Registered Designers, Toronto, Canada. 

By Department of Visual and Performing Arts
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