Design in the Field

Curatorial Project
Annual Design Institute
Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Design in the Field was a collaborative, hands-on burst of design activity for emerging and practicing designers; an opportunity to bust out of the office in the summer and experiment with materials, access wood shops, laser-cutters and letterpress equipment, participate in short design/builds and collaborate with the design community.


221A Artist Run Centre
Working Format
Oliver Kelhammer
Marianne Amodio Architecture Studio
Christy Nyiri Design Etc.
Emily Carr Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media
Myles Thorogood
Morgan Rauscher
Lukas Armstrong
Breavo Design Studio.

Studios, field studies, design-builds and short workshops brought together architects, typographers, urbanists, programmers and artists. Talks and exhibitions focussed on processes of production, materiality, collaboration and interdisciplinary design. All workshops and events took place at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, on Granville Island in Vancouver BC.

Events, Workshops and Courses

Ten for Ten | A fast-paced, one night event in which ten practicing designers shared what they have been up to for exactly the last ten years, each for ten minutes. Speakers included Marianne Amodio (Principle, Marianne Amodio Architecture), Brian McBay (Executive Director, 221A Artist Run Centre), and Caroline Boquist and Daniel Kozlowski (Walrus). Free and open to the public. [Download presentations]

TWIGS PAPER FOAM (Pact No. 21) | A one-night non-juried exhibition of work by artists and designers. The Pact aims to support the production and exhibition of collaborative and transient practices, nurturing a participatory learning environment for artists, designers, curators, critics, volunteers, and the public. Facilitated by 221A Artist Run Centre.

Letterpress I  | Explore the expressive art of letterpress printing in this hands-on workshop. This intro- ductory workshop will suit both those who are new to letterpress and those who wish to try it for the very first time. You will explore typog- raphy, metal and wood type, hand typesetting for letterpress printing, embossing, and applications for your own books and broadsides. We will discuss typefaces, paper, colour, and using illustrations in your design. You’ll go all the way from start to finish by designing and setting your own text, printing, sorting, and distributing type. Bring words and ideas to class. Instruction will be in the Letterpress Room at Emily Carr.

Urban Cartography | Learn to critically read and record the under- lying geometry, overlapping histories and multiple agendas of the city through practices of mapping, measuring and sketching. Using architectural and cartographic tools and tech- niques, students in this course will work at multiple and nested scales to understand the metrics behind what makes neighbourhoods different, how we move through the city, and how the built environment has taken shape. This is an introductory-level course intended to introduce urban inhabitants to ways of reading the city and understanding it through processes of measuring and mapping. Students may include those with an interest in Vancouver history or urban change, or students looking to build an architecture or design portfolio.

Spatial Typography | Experiment with letterforms in this collaborative, hands-on day of dimensional typography. Using an unconventional palette of modular materials, create imaginative letterforms and typographic installations to be mounted in Emily Carr’s Concourse Gallery. This workshop will suit those brand new to typography as well as seasoned type-nerds. Led by Vancouver design studio Working Format.

Open Source City: Field Studies | Site visits and urban walks will form the bulk of this week-long investigation into Vancouver’s built and living environment. Students will tour a number of urban sites where natural systems are beginning to reas- sert themselves either on their own or with the help of interventionist artists and community activists. We’ll compare and critique different approaches to designing the urban landscape and look at emerging notions of ‘open-source’ landscape and ‘un-planning,’ as well as social sculpture and relational aesthetic. Led by artist Oliver Kellhammer, the course will address the shifting relationships between the built and un-built environments and the surprising processes of regeneration that can bring highly disturbed places back to environmental and social functionality.

Hack Your Bike | Cyclists of the city unite! What if you could network your bike with your friends and families bikes and your bikes would glow red when you got close to one another? What about if your bike changed colour when you went faster? How about you make your tires a moving LED sign or heat up your seat? The possibilities are endless. Bring in your bike and we will hack it together adding creative electronics to make advancements to the cycling experience. Learn about mobile cre- ative electronics and how they can be a part of your cycling life.

iPhone App Creation | This course will show you how to make your own app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Using a simple set of tools, you will learn how to design and build an app with an interactive graphical interface and sound components. Issues regarding user interaction and current design methodologies are introduced for mobiles devices. At the end of the course, you will be able to put the app on an iPhone and iPod Touch device and will be shown how to upload it to the online App Store. Students are encouraged to investigate the conceptual and aesthetic potential of mobile technologies and demonstrate design strategies for an interactive work. There is no prior programming experience necessary to take this course.

Laser Cutter Workshop | Access the precision and speed of Emily Carr’s laser cutting equipment in this weekend long open studio. Cutting technician Phillip Robbins will assist you in correctly setting up files and selecting materials, but the type of project you choose to do is completely up to you. This course is for practicing designers or those with experience creating vector drawings. All students will get equal minutes of individual technician-assisted cutting time.

Electronic Kits | An introduction to creative applications for electronics using a selection of fun and exciting pre-assembled electronics kits. Students will have an opportunity to work with sound, lights, instruments, badges and more. With the guidance of instructors, students will learn about circuits, wiring, soldering, and other fun and useful information about electronics. This is a beginner level course that’s great for anyone looking to experiment with circuitry or those moving on to courses in the Hack Series.