2010 Teachers Seminar

June 3-6, 2010 | Detroit, MI 
Co-chairs: John Cary, Editor, The Power of Pro Bono, Susan Szenasy, Editor-in-Chief, Metropolis, Marvin Malecha, Dean, North Carolina State University; AIA President, Sean Vance, North Carolina State University


May 7, 2010
This week ACSA made the decision to cancel the 2010 Teachers Seminar in Detroit. With budget cuts affecting universities nationwide, we did not have sufficient participation at the conference to have an impact on the visibility of public-interest design on the architecture profession. Despite extra efforts to contact schools and invite participants publishing work on the topic, we heard positive response on the topic, but found that little to no discretionary travel funds are available at schools because of budget cuts. In its place we plan to hold one or more sessions during the 2010 ACSA Administrators Conference in Washington, DC, November 10-13. Please contact Jonathan Halpin at ACSA with any questions. ACSA would like to thank the co-chairs for all their hard work on the conference.


Public-Interest Design is centered on the conviction that design can impact social change, evidenced by contributions from the growing fields of humanitarian, community, pro bono, and universal design. As these fields continue to gain relevance as legitimate and sought-after forms of practice, they cast new light on the role of designers in the world.

The 2010 ACSA Teachers Seminar will attract and unite educators, practitioners, foundation and nonprofit leaders, as well as clients and people served by public-interest design. Together, conference participants will reveal, test, and inspire new possibilities for the practice of public-interest design. Participants will address public-interest design as a field of practice, but also as a discipline and a potential profession modeled after the professions of public defense, public health, and public policy.

The conference will seek to establish a baseline understanding of past, current, and future models in the practice of public-interest design. What roles do schools, design centers, and mainstream firms have to play? What are the opportunities for collaboration between these stakeholders and others? What, if anything, should our professional codes of ethics say about designing in the public interest? What will it take and mean for our current (or totally new) education and licensure systems to truly support public-interest design?

The key themes around which Public-Interest Design will be organized are as follows:
1. Shared Values: What are the core values of public-interest design?
2. Emerging Models: Where is the field moving? What are the opportunities and challenges?
3. Practice & Project Case Studies: What lessons can be gleaned from current and evolving practices and projects?
4. Detroit as a Case Study: How is and might a city like Detroit benefit from public-interest design?
5. Open Submissions. What areas outside of the architecture and design fields might inform the way forward?