By Allison Campbell-Jensen

Art by Rachel Breen
Art by Rachel Breen

“Nothing New: A Meditation on Sustainability and Abundance,” an exhibit organized by Arts & Design Librarian Deborah Ultan and on display in the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library in Rapson Hall, provides a focus for a conversation in the College of Design starting at 11 a.m., on Nov. 19.

The conversation is part of the KDI Exchange, an invitation to the College’s faculty, staff, and students — and others in the University community — to consider intersections among design motivations, disciplines, and methods.

“’Nothing New,’ has so many relevant themes for what we work on in KDI, which is structured around interdisciplinary dialogue, design with an eye toward social and environmental justice and environmental stewardship,” says Alanna Nissen, Kusske Design Initiative Coordinator for the College of Design. Artists Rachel Breen and Tracy Krumm, she says, “created all this work with no new materials: Everything was gifted or salvaged or grown.”

Breen is an artist whose work has examined the labor rights of garment workers as a catalyst for social change.

Krumm’s work comments on labor, identity, human connectivity, and cultural production.

Nissen is excited that the artists will be joined by two faculty members whose work also focuses on sustainability. One is Lindsay Strange from the apparel design department, whose work focuses on reuse, the circular economy, reduction of waste, and repair. She is passionate about keeping designed objects in use and is co-teaching a Dare to Repair freshman seminar.

The second faculty member is from Architecture, Jacob Mans. His research and practice focus on developing high performing socio-technical partnerships that can create more resilient architectures. He is currently conducting design-research projects on affordable housing and economic development with the Opaskwayak Cree Nation; on the development of valued-added manufacturing processes to better utilize low-quality Minnesota wood resources; and more.

Nissen is grateful to Ultan for being a great partner. “This is a great opportunity to look outside the box and learn about people who might be great connections to work with in the future,” she says.

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