In recent years, there has been a powerful shift in the creative industry. Many design and architecture professionals have turned their efforts toward self-initiated work that has the potential for positive social impact. While the recent emergence of a flourishing social design field is a much-needed shift of consciousness for the creative professions, there is still a great deal for practitioners to learn about using their talents in a sustainable way.
"Too often, even the best and most creative social design concepts fall flat at the implementation stage. In many cases the imagined impact is far greater than the actual impact," commented Mark Randall, principal of Worldstudio and co-founder of Design Ignites Change.
"As creative professionals learn to transfer their skills from working in service of their clients to working as entrepreneurs or in direct partnership with non-profits and communities, we have found one of the greatest needs to be informed guidance from experienced advisers on how to make their concept a reality."
A new program developed by Design Ignites Change and AIGA aims to address this need.
Creative professionals with a concept that has the potential to ignite positive change are invited to apply for a Design Ignites Change | AIGA Fellowship by June 7, 2013. Award recipients will receive seed funding to get their projects started, but more importantly they will receive professional guidance and mentoring on how to turn concepts into reality, to support lasting change. The combined funding and mentoring for each recipient is valued at $10,000.
Design has traditionally been a service industry where a client drives the inception and development of a project; this fellowship will support individuals breaking from this mold with an entrepreneurial spirit to initiate their own concepts. This not only helps designers use their skills in new and exciting ways, but also allows an opportunity for fresh, creative passion to be injected into the social sector.
In addition to fostering powerful projects, the fellowship aims to expand the capacity of the design profession working in the field of social innovation. Educating the creative community on how to successfully implement socially-inspired work through case studies of fellowship projects is an important part of the program.