October 28, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on teens worldwide. According to the CDC, 86% of teens experienced social isolation, 89% of teens lack an interactive environment and 81% of teens lack accountability and motivation. To tackle this issue, ArtCenter College of Design's social innovation program, Designmatters, partnered with The Dibble Institute, a nonprofit publisher of curriculum that helps young people build healthy emotional connections. A Spring 2021 Designmatters studio challenged ArtCenter students to take the Institute’s new in-person curriculum, Mind Matters: Overcoming Adversity and Building Resilience and adapt it to become more accessible to teens and meet them where they are in the digital landscape. The results of this partnership, Me & My Emotions, debuted this month (October 2021) and serve as an example of art and design's ability to act as a positive force in society.
“Working with ArtCenter’s talented students has been an incredible experience,” said Kay Reed, executive director, The Dibble Institute. “The students dove into the research on trauma as well as social media trends then designed a new free mobile friendly website that provides a critical pathway for young people, aged 13 and up, to learn and practice skills to build resilience on their own. The work by these ArtCenter students is very professional and will live on to make a difference in the lives of many teenagers.”
After the initial class, ArtCenter students Audrey Murty, Amelia Yessayantz and Evan Stalker were awarded Designmatters Fellowships with The Dibble Institute. The team worked during the summer to bring the studio concepts to reality. They produced more than 20 animated videos and the new Me & My Emotions website was launched on October 15, 2021.
Dibble’s Mind Matters curriculum invites participants–many who might be facing challenges in school, life and relationships–to learn skills and strategies to take charge of their emotions and improve their states of mind. The Mind Matters curriculum includes teaching teens techniques for mental wellbeing including: self-soothing, observing self, developing supportive relationships, self-care, intentionality and having compassion for the “hijacked” brain. The expected design deliverables for the class included: a new website, video lessons, digital ads, social media, merchandise, physical ads, and physical activation.
“The pandemic really pushed forward the importance of mental wellbeing and how it cannot be swept under the rug to be dealt with later,” said Judy Toretti, ArtCenter assistant professor, who taught the Designmatters class. “It became essential to be resilient. MindMatters provides science-backed skills for teens to become more resilient, which is important in both normal and in times of adversity, like what we are facing now. I really appreciate this approach to mental wellbeing as a skill that anyone is capable of learning.”
The class focused on bringing new life into four different elements of the designs: branding, website, social media and marketing. To learn more about the class curriculum and to see the final designs, check out this story on the Designmatters’ website.
About Designmatters: Founded in 2001, Designmatters is a groundbreaking, college-wide program that serves all academic disciplines at ArtCenter College of Design. The department sets a global standard for art and design education in social innovation. Designmatters advances art and design as a force for innovation and social change through research, advocacy and action. Designmatters collaborates with nonprofit organizations, industry, and national and international development agencies on immersive, outcome-oriented research and projects. ArtCenter students, alumni and faculty participate in cross-disciplinary design studios, workshops, independent studies, fellowships and internships that yield high impact results which are widely disseminated. In recognition of Designmatters’ leadership, Art Center was the first design school to receive Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status at the United Nations.
About ArtCenter: Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and 10 graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines as well as visual and applied arts. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a highly regarded series of year-round extension programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and its social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.
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Director, Media Relations