knight foundation

12 hours of Design

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On 2/24/19 at 2:15pm, I attended the North Carolina Community College Fine Arts Conference Session Bridging the gap between graphic design educatino and professional practice at the Meroney Theater in Salisbury, NC presented by Brittany Holleran of Central Piedmont Community College

An Event at CPCC is “12 Hours of Design”. So,we ask ourselves: What it is and why they do it? 12HD is a design challenge to solve wicked problems! Originally created by Ken Holland. All students would be placed in a design space and asked to create a working solution in 12 hours. The problems must be big enough that it could not be solved during any one person.

Friday, March 31, noon to midnight. Its campus-wide, and while its open to graphic design, its also opened to other programs like interior design, welding, engineering, etc. have been involved and worked together to solve these problems.

The first was 8a to 8p. It was taxing because being creative for all that time. For some its tough to be awake during all this time.

Why do this?

We want to challenge the students with projects and problems which might not be found in the classroom. We want to foster collaboration between students in and out of the program. Most students only stay with their cohort and working together with people at different skill levels didn’t often happen. This fosters community and make friends outside of the classroom environment. Also, this encourages creativity. The client comes in. presents the work, and then leaves. There is no “NO” in this process. One of the greatest thing to come out of the project was having a professional tell them that its so fantastic to take part and not hear “NO”

Students sign a contract to appear. They cannot leave in the middle of the event, unless its an emergency. There will be 7-10 teams working at once.

Support and location is provided: administration, student life, program faculty, alumni, advisory board, theCurious (student club) and industry partners. A non-school place is provided. Faculty cannot assist, but part-time faculty do come in and advise and feed into the item from time to time to avoid students getting stuck on a problem. Social media is also used to record the event.

Industry partners provide offsite locations, some of these larger problems, and their expertise.


How do we do this? Tools.

Because we’re working offsite, we have to provide snacks and coffee. Students bring their own items- pens, pencils, cutting mattes, etc. We provide wifi, printer access. We provide prizes. What’s the benefit other than working on a team? Year-long student AIGA membership ($50 per), prismacolor markers, personal gifts. There needs to be a detailed organizational event schedule. Meals, and breaks scheduled, team building exercises, and as challenging a detail as possible. There will also be curveballs which redirect the project.


What are the outcomes?

Presentation skills, real world experience, prizes & Recognition, opportunities to continue working on the project.


Who are we working for?

Our own campus: Designing a student-focused space such as interactive features, and learning environment using donated materials. This is because we’re building a new building and we can have a piece of that courtyard.

Knight Foundation: Products to make a city better for upward mobility. Charlotte was 50/50 for upward mobility

City of Charlotte: designing a stretch of highway

We want to continue to work with non-profits, problems brought to us from our advisory boards, social issues and community challenges.


Q&A Session

How is this presented to students?

Originally, it was only for fun. Sometimes extra credit is offered In some classes, but it is not required. It cannot be just work and no fun. Otherwise, people won’t take part in the next year


Could you partner this with Hackathon?

We would be open to that, but you’d need to find a project that would really be right for that. There’s always an opportunity to work with other groups if there’s a way to fit this in.


Is there a place on the resume for this?

We have suggested cover letter or the conversation. Typically we suggest that you put in that you worked with the Knight Foundation or are actively working with the City of Charlotte.


How do you get resources?

We bring in a speaker who’s available for the first few hours to explain the situation and be a resource. The goal is to begin thinking critically. What does “solve upward mobility” mean? Once you find what it can mean, then you can really begin working on deliverables.


How are students kept on track?

We move through from time to time telling them how much time is left and asking if they need assistance… without offering advice


How big are the teams?

3-4 people per team, and no real set amount of teams. We set highly skilled teams with low-level designers to keep everyone on a nice playing field


How can you even the teams?

We ask this as part of the process, and we know their personalities. We have rules too, you cannot switch or combine teams. You cannot leave your team and you cannot leave the event. That is their challenge