Design Collaboration as a Tool for Developing Diversity in the Work Place

By Rees Shad.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

(From the Introduction)
Without a doubt the modern design shop is one made up of numerous working professionals graced with an array of varied abilities who work in tandem to meet a common goal. The vast majority of designs succeeding in today’s market trace their origins to a wide and diverse group of collaborators. The modern animation, for example, not only requires story editors, traditional animators, and sound designers, but also specialists in character design, lighting, and even “skinners,” those animators who specialize in textural elements for the animation’s various characters and surfaces. While animations are certainly conceived of and produced by single individuals, the process is far too involved for a single individual to create a series of animations with the timeliness and consistency demanded by the marketplace. Collaboration is the market paradigm.

The education of designers, however, is often focused on individual production: The undergraduate student creating a product design for presentation and critique; the graduate student investing a year of his/her life to the research, development, and presentation of a single piece of media. While this pedagogy is very effective in helping develop design skills in the student, it does not prepare the average student for the market’s paradigm of collaboration. I have devoted the past several years to considering this issue and developing a means to introduce a stronger system for developing collaborative skills in my students.

I often say that no matter what discipline a student studies in the traditional college curriculum, the primary skills they learn will be time management and communication. These are unbelievably important to whatever profession the student chooses to pursue. But more and more often it is equally important that a basic skill in the work place is the ability to work with a diverse team of individuals toward a common goal, and so I now consider collaboration the third most important skill that a college student can take away from their education. It is a matter of great importance that we begin to modify our pedagogy to reflect this. This paper is an outline of my thinking and of my approach.

Keywords: Collaborative Design Process, Golas, Roals, and Accountability, Professional Design Practice

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp.247-256. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 643.090KB).

Prof. Rees Shad

Assistant Professor & Coordinator of Digital Programs, Digital Programs, Visual & Performing Arts, Humanities, Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, Bronx, New York, USA

Born and raised in New York City, Rees attended college in northern New York State at Skidmore College where he received his BA in English Literature and English History. While in college, he began Sweetfish Recording, which over the next 15 years expanded into a record company with several successful international releases including the Grammy nominated ‘All the King’s Men.’ Sweetfish expanded to include an interactive software division where Rees was involved in developing interactive design for early Internet and CD-Rom media, as well as a music publishing company with offices in upstate New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. In 1999, Rees left the music business to go to graduate school in order to pursue an academic career. He gained his MS in technical communication with a focus in usability and human computer interaction from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and then continued on to Parsons School of Design for an MFA in Design and Technology where he focused on physical computing, interface design and non-linear narrative. Shad is currently an assistant professor teaching digital design at CUNY’s Hostos Community College in the Bronx where he has developed programs in the recording arts, game design, digital design, and animation. He is a filmmaker, and composer recording music which he combines with his films in installation work that explores non-linear storytelling in physical space. At his core Shad is a storyteller, his work exists at a unique intersection of narrative with film and video, music composition, physical interaction, construction, and interior design. In this artist’s studio, antique jewelry chests become miniature electronic theaters, boxes of vintage slides turn into stained glass assemblages, old fishing tackle boxes start telling tales, and vintage tube radios are inhabited by the ghosts of cold war America. His work has been shown in various art galleries in Chelsea as well as around the rest of New York State.


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