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Design Beyond the Classroom

Submitted on November 3, 2015 - 1:41pm
Kristine Matthews and Karen Cheng
Kristine Matthews and Karen Cheng. Photo by James Andrew Davidson.

UPDATE: The Royalty Research Fund project led by Professors Karen Cheng and Kristine Matthews has progressed well. UW News published an article about the project, with links to video and an image gallery, on April 20, 2016


 Aside from teaching, faculty at the UW and in the School of Art + Art History + Design engage with their own practice through research and other activities beyond the classroom. Division of Design Professors Karen Cheng and Kristine Matthews are often active with such projects. Early in 2015, they applied for a UW Royalty Research Fund Grant. They learned in June that they received full funding ($39,412) for their project titled “Interaction Design for Waste Minimization.” This collaborative project also involves UW faculty, staff, and students from the Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design Program, the Department of Anthropology, the Garbology Project, Recycling and Solid Waste, as well as our Division of Design students.  The team will design, fabricate, and test a prototype of an interactive waste system that encourages individuals to compost and recycle their trash. The system will be installed in PACCAR Hall at the end of this year. Testing will take place during winter quarter 2016.

Cheng and Matthews have each had additional projects and recognition so far this year:

  • The Spring 2015 issue of ARCADE included two student-created infographics as part of an essay by Cheng titled “Where Does the Money Go? Two Visualizations of City of Seattle Data.” The article was brought to the attention of Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, who invited Cheng and the students to a meeting on July 17. The meeting is described in an update at the bottom of the article.
  • In June 2015, Matthews and her team at Studio Matthews received notice from the Core77 Design Awards for the signage and wayfinding they created for the Tacoma Art Museum. Two months later, the work Studio Matthews did for Mad Campus was featured on the SEGD website.
  • Cheng’s views on design education were highlighted in the first episode of the second year for the This is Design School podcast, which is produced partly by current Master of Design student Chad Hall.
  • An infographic created by Kaito Gengo (BDes 2015) was published in ARCADE 33.2 with an essay titled “Food Waste in America – Visualizing the Numbers” co-written by Cheng and a professor from the Center for Public Health Nutrition. A related article co-authored by Cheng and with additional infographics by Design students is published in the November 2015 issue of Health Affairs. It is titled “Infographics and Public Policy: Using Data Visualization to Convey Complex Information.”
  • Cheng was featured in a Faculty Friday article on the The Whole U website in early October.
  • Also in October, Matthews and her team completed the design for a newly created visitor center at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. More images of the center may be seen on the Studio Matthews website.
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