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Architecture Firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple Seeking 2014 Fellows

Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (EDR) seeks to combine design excellence, performance and resiliency in a practice rooted in the community.  Situated in one of the most culturally rich cities in the United States, if not the world, New Orleans offers an urban environment with a vibrant music scene, world-class restaurants, a deep history of cultures and traditions, and the unique opportunity to make a difference in the largest urban renewal project ever undertaken in our country.

To that end, EDR is announcing its third annual Eskew+Dumez+Ripple Research Fellowship opportunity. The focus of this year's Fellowship is to conduct applied research in the field of community engagement. The Fellow will explore the breadth of tools and formats that are available to designers to conduct meaningful public outreach around architectural and urban placemaking projects.

Nearly every design project involves some form of community engagement. Typical public outreach strategies often rely on the public meeting as a forum for decision-making. Today, in an increasingly global and digital era, more opportunities for sustained dialogue and long-term buy-in for planning and design projects are emerging. For example, successful projects are increasingly leveraging digital technologies and novel storytelling methodologies to garner and maintain interest in project outcomes. Public process participants ideally become champions of the project through implementation and ongoing governance.

Research Fellows are paired with EDR staff to develop and refine research goals. Fellows are brought on to help with client projects and marketing endeavors in order to test and vet their research, generating feedback loops for continued learning and refinement.

The goal of the EDR Fellowship is to provide meaningful and unique professional experience within a studio-based research environment. Fellows work under the guidance of the studio’s leaders to produce work and to document and present the results at the end of the Fellowship tenure.

The 2014/2015 Fellowship will support two individuals, one for 12 months, and one for 3 months. The three month fellowship will focus on digital means and methods.  The twelve month fellowship will bring digital, storytelling and other formats into a broader framework of community engagement.  The Fellows will collaborate for the first 3 months, generating testable questions, benchmarks and tangible tools that the 12-month Fellow will develop for the remainder of the fellowship term.

Application Timeline:

  • March 16, 2014 Deadline to Receive Candidate Submissions
  • April 1, 2014 Selected Candidate Notification
  • June 1, 2014 Fellowship Begins

Application Guidelines

• Candidates are encouraged to come from a range of disciplinary fields, but will operate in a design studio. The capacity to visually represent and graphically refine research and results is preferred, but not required. We will consider applications from computer programmers, interaction designers, marketing and communications specialists, writers, and other non-traditional backgrounds.

• Fellowships are open to candidates currently pursuing professional degrees who have completed at least six semesters of academic coursework, through those who have graduated with a professional degree and are within 3 years of that graduation.

• Submittals must be transmitted the website form below.

• The position is paid; however, lodging and transport (to New Orleans) is the responsibility of the Fellow.

• No phone inquiries please. However, our studio is open to visitors in New Orleans wishing to stop by.

Application Items

Candidates are asked to submit the following, as one PDF, paginated in the following order. The submission upload may not be larger than 5 MB.

• Curriculum Vitae or Resume

• Design portfolio, 10 pages max, only if applicable to candidate’s background.

• One of the following:

- A memo relating the candidate’s applied experience with community engagement tools, formats, platforms, processes and approaches.

- A work product relating the candidate’s experience with community engagement tools, formats, platforms, processes and approaches.

- Well-captioned design portfolio excerpts relating the candidate’s experience with community engagement tools, formats, platforms, processes and approaches.

- An original research proposal, 500-1,000 words in length, identifying a specific question you wish to investigate as part of your residence in the EDR studio. The essay should also outline the candidate’s proposed methodology. Note: the actual plan of work for the selected candidate may be based on an adaptation of this proposal.

Critical Questions

Below is a list of questions that EDR has assembled over time, which are critical to how we engage communities in a robust design process and tell the story of a design project as it occupies a community. Candidates are welcome to use these as launching points for assembling their application items.

1. What are some examples of effective digital tools and platforms for community engagement?

• What types of design questions/projects are more suited to each tool/platform? E.g.:

• MindMixer and other public feedback aggregator websites

• Real-time public meeting polling devices

• Quick wins through prototyping

• Highly visual, highly accessible archival websites

• Geographic information systems and mapping user group demographics, actions and choices

2. Engagement strategies often need to be layered and sequenced in terms of how they are deployed. What are appropriate and inappropriate ways to do this?

Critical Resources

We have also included a short, curated list of sample references below. Guide to Localism - Part 2: Getting community engagement right Communication and Citizen Participation Techniques - Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), Seattle, Washington Digital Placemaking – Authentic Civic Engagement Urban Storytelling in New OrleansExploring Interactive Storytelling about Urban Redevelopment