Michigan State University

What People Are Saying

"This course focused on the process and politics of making manifest the stories of others. Such a task is not easily accounted for in numbers but, rather, in the quality of the products and in the relationships such an undertaking both created and strengthened. The new relationship between RCAH and the College of Engineering and the strengthened relationship between MSU and Peckham Industries underscore the value of these efforts."

Ford Community Corps Faculty Member, Michigan State University

"As a result of the project, the MSU and Peckham Industries, with support from the Peckham Foundation, have agreed to a long term working relationship that involves the study of engaged and socially responsible business practices that support the development of ethical and engaged work communities."

Ford Community Corps Faculty Member, Michigan State University

Innovation and Interdisciplinary Design

The Program

Students in the Michigan State University Residential College in Arts and Humanities and the College of Engineering partnered with Peckham Industries, a non-profit vocational rehabilitation organization that provides job training opportunities to those with significant disabilities or other barriers to employment. The goal was to create a large-scale art installation in Lansing, MI.

This project was completed by a group of 13 freshmen as part of a course focused on interdisciplinary design and innovation. The overarching goal was for students to learn to use design and innovation strategies to develop artwork incorporating oral and visual histories, as well as visual art of Peckham clients, and employees.

Program Scope

  • 13 Students
  • 1,560 Volunteer Hours
  • 2,000 People Served

Michigan State University’s Ford Community Corps program identified two interdisciplinary creative teams of students to work with Peckham, a local vocational rehabilitation community, to develop technologies that improve on the $150,000 Art@Work Project. It is a 40 X 200-foot art installation in the company’s main plant that tells the stories of Peckham's employees.

Because of its large scale, the Art@Work is difficult to interpret. MSU’s Community Corps teams worked with local technology specialists, technical software and content creators, drawing from the creative process and technology to address problems. The result was a web-based application that allows the audience to interact with the artists' work. The final project was unveiled to the public in February 2013.