åMarch 2013


  • the people who do this the best are professional artists who make a life out of applying for grants and residencies
  • a couple smaller projects, includingblank books that were made, paid for, and sold by them
  • center for abandoned letterhead (secured through microgrant funding)

Mies Book

  • went through many stages
  • initially came out of a desire to work collaboratively with Lana Cavar and Natasha Chandani
  • natasha had seen first hand, working with architects, how they pull things together last minute and her role was to make it look good
  • then realized she could make content herself
  • so they wanted to take control of the process
  • thought at first to make a simple 6-month magazine, something fast and fun
  • she works in Lafayette Park in Detroit
  • the magazine grew into a bigger project
  • trying to publish a magazine is really hard whereas a book is a little more concrete
  • during the process of applying for grants they switched to book mode
  • hardly got any outside funding to do it
  • spent a year-and-a-half applying for grants
  • felt like they wasted their time and felt naive about it
  • for example, they applied for grants that required that they already have a publisher which they didn’t have at the time
  • their publisher paid for the printing costs
  • got some money from the university where she teached
  • their publisher wanted to print in China but they wanted to print at a place in Croatia and the Wayne State money helped cover that
  • met in 2009 with a publisher called Revolver Press but they required them to pay for the printing
  • they were able to get them to write a letter for a grant they applied for
  • wrote to Princeton Architectural Press and they said they were interested
  • but the more they heard about Princeton, they realized they often say their interested but don’t go forward
  • they would have to pay for printing, there were serious limits to format, etc.
  • agreed to write them a letter for grants but would officially sign on as the publisher
  • they had also asked for money from the owners of the towers as a corporate sponsorship, but that didn’t work
  • decided to stop applying for grants and to just go ahead and make the book
  • fall 2011, they had a preview done; printed a copy in croatia
  • contacted a friend at Metropolis Books if she knew other publishers, but it turned out that Metropolis Books was actually interested
  • when they looked at the people who were getting the sorts of grants they applied for, they found it was serious Mies scholars and architects
  • realized that they were out of their expertise
  • bulk of their expenses was in flights for Lana to come from Croatia
  • never made a magazine version of it, but they had the proposal they were circulating
  • the thing that’s ultimately useful is producing narrative about your project
  • shaping that initial text you repeat is useful and very important
  • helps you to organize your thinking

Is there something about Detroit that bring this work out in you?

  • before she moved to Detroit she didn’t do projects about place really
  • but when she got there she felt callous about doing formal projects like her Excel book
  • a city that you have to confront in a way; forces to confront the effects of late capitalism

Is the Van de Rohe book a comment on that?

  • felt sheepish about living in Lafayette Park, since as an artist in Detroit you can have a huge property, whereas she’s living in a really manicured controlled place
  • while she was there she started to hear that Lafayette Park wasn’t really Detroit
  • but she began to take issue with that, because the neighborhood is one of the most racially integrated neighborhoods in the city
  • felt like it was important to show that there’s actually people living in Detroit, countering the “ruin porn” images that were bandied about
  • also it was unusual to see this German architect’s work existing in this majority-black city

Is it a model for what could be or could have been? Would the Corbu vision have been good for Detroit?

  • the planner was a communist who was actually blacklisted
  • the place demands a kind of political agency
  • the people who lived there tend to get very involved in the neighborhood and city politics
  • because it’s Detroit and values are so low, the modernist vision isn’t quite as out of reach, though the property is still somewhat expensive to build

Could you speak to your relationship with architects?

  • one of our strengths as graphic designers is to take content and put it in a form tht everyone can access
  • they were contacted by architects and gave talks at architecture place, yet they felt out of place in those venues
  • but the architects told them that architects can’t really make a book like that and appreciated how it humanized the subject-matter

It seems like you made the book speak specifically to the people who live in Lafayette Park. There’s a real beauty in speaking from the vantage point of a non-specialist. It says in form what you want to say in content.

  • wanted to involve all kinds of people
  • as graphic designers you can figure out ways to involve them
  • they had a neighbor who archived a lot of things and they brought that into the project
  • designers can make things seem “official” or “polished” or “accessible”
  • but what happens when you’re coming to a place from the outside?

Do you feel like there’s a finite number of designer-friendly grants or did you have to look to places that usually wouldn’t give grants to designers?

  • applied for an artist fellowship recently in Detroit where two years ago she wouldn’t have felt comfortable
  • these things tend to be open-ended so there’s oppotunities there for designers
  • internal grants at Wayne State, IREX travel grants, residencies (you go and work on your project intensively somehwere)


4 Lunchtime Conversations          


It appears as thought the Providence chapter is currently on hiatus, but they have a Boston one as well that looks pretty active:

With the exception of July and December, we deliberate at the end of each month to award two $1,000 grants. Fellowship recipients are posted to the gallery at the top of the page so check back to see who is getting the ca$h.

Apply for a grant.

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Y Tuesday’s class

Greetings all,

Tuesday we have our lunchtime conversation at 10am. Danielle will talk about the book she had published by Metropolis along with a slew of in-progress projects, for which she is seeking grant funding. It should be practical and inspiring. Look up her work at danielleaubert.com … I’ll bring the two books I have of hers. At the bottom of this email is her response to my email asking for her proposal for Metropolis.

Given the 10am start, and the fact that I have to leave at 12pm to be part of a search interview for furniture, I am going to arrive at 8am on Tuesday and meet with folks individually for the first two hours. I posted a sign-up sheet on the website so you can add your name as an individual or as a group (take up more than one slot as a group). I want to make sure everyone is truly in a project or a proposal at this point. It felt rushed last week, as it may a bit this week. I am also available on Monday mornings from 10-12:30p at 204 Westminster, 3rd Floor.

The hour after Danielle’s talk we can recap her talk as well as discuss book proposals. Michael Carabetta will be with us the following week to review proposals.

I have posted my Hobo proposal, a grant proposal for a type specimen project and an emailable deck for venture capitalists in a post on the website. It is a private post, so you’ll need to log in to see them.

I have also added a new “call” at the Granoff Center. There is a proposal in the email done by a former RISD March student.

Hope you have a good weekend.



Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 6.24.46 PM
RISD MArch 2012 Greg Nemes shared a proposal he put together to use the projectors at the Granoff Center at Brown. He said they are open to projects that use the seating areas in the stairwell as well as the projectors overhead.

His proposal is here

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Y Signup Sheet for Tuesday

Edit this post and add your name:

8:30am Anne and Jennifer
9:00am Carly
9:15am Anther and Ali (and Justin?)
9:30am Jay. Carlos. Daniel.
9:45am Jay. Carlos. Daniel.
10-11am Danielle Conversation
11-12pm Group recap of Danielle and book proposal discussion
12:15(?) Kaveh


Each year, GdNyc offers a fellowship to graphic design students, which supports the research, design, and publication of a collaborative design research project. The fellowship provides a modest stipend, advisory support, and a production budget to publish research findings. Upon completion of the project, students will have an opportunity to lead distribution and publicity of the project in consultation with GdNyc.

More information at http://gdnyc.org/

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Safar 7 Urban Landscape Lab

  • Central Park as “Disneyfied urban natural condition”
  • began work  on a proposal for a signage system for national parks but got distracted
  • opted for audio signage system instead, treating the 7 line as an urban park
  • interested in the weird animal conditions along the seven line (snakehead fish–invasive fish that can walk) and weeds and trees growing out of the sidewalks
  • people wanted to get involved so they made up projects for them to do


Ceation of a scaled model at studio x

  • making it global and doing a megaexhibiton of urban nature in several cities across the world (jeanette spent a year try to get grants to do it)
  • managed to get three grants to do it and they all ended up falling through
  • Beijing grant was only $10,000


Were you able to distinguish your own identity as a form or as an aesthetic from the project?

  • realized that if they were going to work with people they wouldn’t be able to do everything in their own way and make things look super great
  • they pushed against their definition of what they do
  • there was a fight against themselves to have aesthetic control
  • no one else in the process thought there were problems with it visually, since they talked more about what the work was supposed to do than what it was supposed to look like
  • found that inviting people to participate requires a more casual graphic language
  • much more possible if it seems accessible rather than if it’s super-branded
  • when they started the studio they didn’t think that all of their projects necessarily had to have clients, as “projects without clients will eventually find clients”
  • working with other people is still an important part of the culture
  • they try to make it about what other people want to do in the studio framework
4 Lunchtime Conversations          

w NYC Big Apps
Tue, Mar 5

The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition (RTFC) seeks entries for a two-stage international design competition to honor the victims of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and its legacy. The memorial will be located in New York City on the exterior of the building, where this historic fire occurred. In telling the story of the Triangle Fire and offering tribute to the victims, immigrant workers, women activists and social reformers, the memorial should both educate and inspire. This memorial should recall not just the tragedy and every worker who perished, but also reflect the unique importance of the many workers’ rights movements, safety laws, and social welfare policies that resulted from this fire.

The mission of The Coalition is to raise public awareness of the Triangle Fire and its legacy. Each year we remember the victims, mostly immigrant, mostly young, and mostly women, who died in the tragic fire. The Coalition also celebrates activism and the continued fight for workers’ rights. In partnership with family members, friends, and members of the community committed to honoring those who died needlessly, we will create a vertical urban memorial.


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The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) invites submissions of abstracts for its annual conference, on any aspect of the digital humanities. This includes but is not limited to:

  • humanities research enabled through digital media, data mining, software studies, or information design and modeling;
  • computer applications in literary, linguistic, cultural, and historical studies, including electronic literature, public humanities, and interdisciplinary aspects of modern scholarship;
  • the digital arts, architecture, music, film, theatre, new media, digital games, and related areas;
  • the creation and curation of humanities digital resources;
  • social, institutional, global, multilingual, and multicultural aspects of digital humanities
  • and the role of digital humanities in pedagogy and academic curricula.


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