In March 2008, work from the Turkish American Projects by University of Minnesota Duluth students was exhibited at Baskent University in Ankara, Turkey. Congratulations to students whose work was included in this international exchange!
Tulip & Arabesque Online Exhibit
Over the past few years, I have integrated several large assignments into my teaching which address cultural complexity in design, specifically related to the Turkish American Exchange projects. My goal has been to introduce students to aspects of global culture, identifying traditional formal roots in contemporary design. I have created projects that are appropriate to our digital design curriculum and integrated Turkish design influences into foundations courses. More advanced students have been asked to delve a bit deeper into contemporary Turkish design and to draw off of traditional literature. In each case, students benefit by expanding their their awareness of how culture travels across borders. Students begin to make connections between the visual culture they live in and the traditions and cross-fertilizations that feed it. This global and historical sensitization is crucial for any artist or designer today. Design is a richly diverse activity that springs from all corners of culture and a vital tool for building bridges between diverse groups. One creative approach to teaching includes the evolution and re-integration of traditional culture, and influences from global culture, into art foundations curriculum, Ours has been a creative process… introducing students to cultural artifacts as a first step in stimulating curiosity and formal invention.