Sketch Model: Summer Workshop

***2019 info coming soon***



Interdisciplinarity is called for everywhere in higher education, and nowhere more so than in linking the arts and STEM fields. Under the moniker of STEAM, or maker education, or design thinking, or any other related term, there’s enormous energy behind the notion that connecting the expressive languages of the arts and humanities with contemporary innovation culture is inherently a pedagogical good. But what is all this energy really about? Playful artifacts and accessible design? Novel technologies made friendlier or more beautiful?

Sketch Model at Olin College is an effort to invigorate a much sharper and more critical linkage between the arts, the humanities, and STEM fields. We’re seeking better questions about the politics, ethical quandaries, and symbolic work of technologies in culture, and we’re building our summer workshop to find like-minded faculty counterparts who seek the same. Perhaps, if your domain is in STEM, you share our dissatisfaction with the current scope of technical education: too timid in its ethical stance, too focused on processes and techniques, frequently devoid of context. Or, if your domain is in the humanities, perhaps you’re struggling to combine a socio-political approach to technology with some guidance for students that extends beyond critique alone—guidance for designing a repaired or better world. If so, come join us in our efforts to generously imagine alternatives. We think the arts and humanities are crucial modes of companion-inquiry for any technical matter, and we want to see education structures that bind up these disciplines in much more powerful ways.

The Sketch Model summer course provides a three-day immersive experience in integrated course design, program design, or other curricular structures for college faculty who wish to creatively explore the interplay of arts, humanities, and technology for transdisciplinary learning. Through a series of hands-on workshops and studio sessions, we will envision and prototype new experiences that promote college students’ critical, curious, and joyful exploration of arts, humanities, and STEM domains. There are lots of possibilities: new courses to workshop, yes, but also larger institutional structures that you might spend time dreaming about in the presence of others. Are you working on a new minor program? Or a summer intensive? Or a module to train other faculty? Bring your most challenging and creative ideas!

Together with faculty from other institutions, you will gain new insights into student-centered pedagogies, develop skills with new design tools, explore different models for arts-humanities-technology integration, and examine case studies with experts in integrated course design. Workshop sessions will be highly participatory. You’ll spend time imagining and sketching integrated course concepts for your students, and you will develop these into concrete learning experiences that you may implement at your home institution.


We welcome applications from early- to mid-career faculty who are interested in creatively designing integrated arts-humanities-technology learning experiences at the college level. Faculty from any home discipline(s) are encouraged to apply! We’re most interested in a shared disposition among attendees: faculty who are restless, open, curious, and imaginative in pursuing the hardest questions facing the future for a technologically mediated world.


All sessions will take place during the week of June 18-20, 2018, on the campus of Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA. Olin College is in the Boston area, which is lovely in June (unless it’s rainy and 45°… but that’s also kind of charming, in a New England sort of way). We might be a little biased, but we think the Olin environment provides a fantastic place to think creatively about innovative curriculum  design.


As part of the Sketch Model initiative, the Mellon Foundation has provided support to cover the workshop attendance costs of 10-12 faculty. There is no cost for the workshop itself; participants are responsible for travel and accommodations. A small number of partial travel scholarships are available. Please get in touch with us for more information.


If you are interested, please complete the application, which asks about you, your ideas, your thoughts on learning, and your institutional context.  The deadline for applications is March 19, 2018.


As part of the Sketch Model project, we ask that you share insights/outcomes/findings about your course design and implementation, once the workshop is over and you are back at your home institution. We would love to stay in touch, to provide support for your new ideas, learn from your experiences, and build a stronger community of educators who aspire to bring together people and ideas from arts, humanities, and technology.

Ready to apply?  Click here!