The inaugural 38°84 Summer Camp in the College of Design, which was to be a residential camp for high school students on UK’s campus, instead shifted to an online experience. This shift may very well be the catalyst for a new way to introduce the concept of design to a new cohort of students.
Hannah Dewhirst and Ingrid Schmidt, professors who teach in both the School of Interiors and School of Architecture, led the first session of 38°84 Summer Camp June 14-23 with great success (the final session will run July 14-21). Accepting the challenge of teaching a hands-on practice remotely, Dewhirst and Schmidt developed a kit that was mailed to each student before camp, including all of the materials they would need to produce the design models.
“It evolved into a very accessible program,” said Dewhirst. “For a course fee of $200, students from all over the country received a pre-fabricated set of materials, and we provided live, hands-on demonstrations, and 10 days of instruction, discussion, guest lectures and critique.”
Though the intention was for students to have access to the College’s fabrication lab, Paul Masterson and Pooya Mohaghegh – staff in the shop – developed videos to show students how each piece of equipment was used to develop the materials they received in their boxes. This allowed students to get a sense of how fabrication tools help them translate their ideas into physical form. “My whole view of the design world was widened in an amazing way,” said Kerry Brown, a rising high school senior who attended the first week of 38°84. “This camp showed me that the most essential component of design is communication, communicating a concept to the viewer, user, or occupant, and thereby facilitating an emotional connection on a deeper level.”
Dean Mitzi Vernon plans to utilize aspects of the camp’s online instruction for fall classes. “The experimental nature of the camp has allowed us to rethink how we can teach our Design 100 class in the fall as well as new ways to offer tactile courses online to continue our path toward equitable instruction,” she said. “Hannah and Ingrid just leapt with optimism to the experiment, which we all must do now: experiment…find joy.”
To learn more about the camp, visit https://design.uky.edu/summer-camp.