RDA Part 3 Design Activism

Coya Cambell & Dirm Luawo

For this part 3 of our Research Design Activism, we plan on going back to our high school, the High School of Art and Design, to educate the students about current issues regarding climate change, how it can relate to institutions like the school, and what they could do to address the issue. We were grateful for our time at Art & Design because of its diverse range of majors, students, and abilities. Once we graduated, we were able to see where the school could have more sustainability efforts that could benefit the school, its students as well as the issue of climate change. One of the major issues we want to address in our school was the lack of thought when disposing of garbage and food waste. There is marked signage on or near the containers but it seems like no one pays attention to them.


One of the reasons we wanted to go back to our high school was its sphere of influence. As undergraduate, first year, students at Parsons, we realize that the sustainability efforts at The New School should be brought to institutions that lack it, such as our high school. The students, who range from ages 13-18 could greatly benefit from a small change in their daily lives,  like replacing plastic water bottles with their own stainless steel bottle and sorting out their trash prior to dumping out their food. We believe that the youth would be the best group that could lead the future of sustainability efforts to combat climate change and reduce their carbon footprint. Besides those elements, they could potentially learn how to be sustainable in their own art. While at Art & Design, we had different majors, Coya was in Fashion and Dirm was in Graphic Design. We saw potential in the majors we were in where we could share our learnings from The New School efforts and this class to teach students how they could integrate sustainability into their lifestyle and art. Since our sphere of influence is students of the ages 13-18, we plan to incorporate an interactive, hands-on approach to this activism. Our plan is to present our learnings in sustainability in the Juniors and Senior art classes when the students have double period art so that our presentation wouldn’t interfere with their projects or classwork, but they will learn something new. With each class we present to, which would be a total of 4, we would distribute individual pieces of paper to each student and have them draw where in their life or art could they potentially integrate sustainability or where they are already doing it.

After collecting them, we will scan, combine and design the layout of all the drawings we receive a booklet, which would house a collection of the best students work. We intend to print multiple copies to distribute within Art & Design to students and faculty and in or around Union Square Park and The New School campus to random strangers or students. By conducting our project in a place close to our hearts the goal of our assignment has automatically become more important to us. By working to help improve the place that we spent four of the best years of our lives, we feel as though we are repaying the school for all the great years and opportunities. Being that our high school is a commercial art high school drawing and creating is embedded in the culture, however, from our experiences as artists, there is nothing we disliked more than being expected to draw at any given moment and well for that matter. Because we both know how annoying our gifts can be we are going back

Documentation of Activism Preformed in Public

After the booklet was completed we they were distributted to the Art and Design community of students and faculty.

Booklet PDF

High School of Art and Design Sustainablity-128qbpt

Classroom Exhibition


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