DEED: Development through Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, and Design is a research project started in 2007 and which includes fieldwork programs, on-campus courses, as well as the dissemination of our lessons learned via publications, conferences, and exhibitions. At the heart of DEED are our fieldwork programs. In these, multi-disciplinary teams of students and faculty work with groups of artisans and professional designers in emerging economies to build sustainable craft-based income-generating opportunities. Via small-scale collaborations with artisan groups, we seek to promote sustainable development through empowerment, entrepreneurship, and design. Furthermore, in our fieldwork we are committed to create diverse immersive hands-on ‘real world’ learning opportunities for students and faculty across The New School and focus on a shift towards students as teachers and agents of change.

We believe there are no “others” in communities. We commit to long-term, slow, sustained relationships. We believe in the power of collaboration, and the responsibility of universities to participate in this context.

We invite you to join our community.

In multidisciplinary collaborations, how can we develop strategies to balance the priorities, focus, and interests of all disciplines to work towards a common goal? Despite our commitment to a horizontal hierarchy, how can we develop strategies so that artisan communities do not see the university team who arrives (and leaves) as the “privileged other”? Is the traditional university curricular structure conducive to long-term partnerships with students at the center? How can a project committed to highly participatory, ground-up, processes achieve financial sustainability?