When John Syvertsen was a Loeb in 1986, he took a particularly memorable course by Robert Coles called the Literature of Social Reflection. The themes in the course resonated with Syvertsen’s interest in the role of design in the lives of disenfranchised people. This interest hasn’t faded, nor has his idea of a seminar modeled on the course, with design as the focus. The seminar will be held at Archeworks in Chicago in May.
Syvertsen’s commitment to public interest design runs deep and wide, both in his firm Cannon Design and in his role as board chair of Archeworks a multidisciplinary design school with a social agenda. There he has spearheaded New Practice and Civic Innovation, a series of seminars on developing a higher-level model of pro bono work.
Syvertsen thought the 20th anniversary of Archeworks would be a good time for some deeper reflection on the nature of public interest work and professional responsibility. The seminar Design, Literature, and Social Reflection: People, Place, Occasion is based on the earlier Coles seminar and will run weekly in May at Archeworks.