FUSE 2019 Conference to partner with Vernon Lockhart, Project Osmosis and AIGA Chicago to boost design careers and resources for Public School Systems

FUSE-OSMOSIS-AIGA-SHARES Program Launching April 8, 2019: Bringing Diverse Career Paths, Mentoring, Role Models to High Schools

​Today KNect365, a division of Informa, along with FUSE Design, Project Osmosis and AIGA Chicago announced that they will collaborate on sharing live and virtual resources from the 2019 Fuse Design & Brand Strategy Conference with the Chicago Public School System in a pilot Conference-to-Public-School-System knowledge exchange.

The context for the project is the lack of diversity in industries where minorities are underrepresented has pushed companies like Uber, Google, Verizon and AirBNB to demonstrate stronger commitments to diversity and inclusion. Like the tech industry, the design industry has historically had low numbers of minority representation. A 2016 study by Google and AIGA—the professional association for design—found that only 9 percent of designers were Hispanic, 8 percent were Asian, and 3 percent were African American.

“We want to be able to say 10, 20, 50 years from now, that we were able to encourage thousands of youth to pursue careers in design they may never have otherwise considered. I believe every person has the human right to be creative, regardless of their economic background or race. This project with FUSE and AIGA can amplify our goal,” says Lockhart, who founded Project Osmosis in 1998.  Vernon is also principal of Art On The Loose, Inc., a multi-discipline design firm based in Chicago, and a professor of design inclusion at the School of Design University of Illinois at Chicago. For the past 21 years, Osmosis has engaged minority youth in activities that promote creativity and self-expression. The organization helps 700+ students each year to gain access and knowledge about career opportunities in design.

“We’re thrilled to work with Vernon Lockhart and Project Osmosis, truly leaders in this field who inspired so many others, and with the design leaders of Chicago AIGA, to ensure that we don’t ‘just hold a design conference,’ but instead leave something of real value behind that the Chicago Public School System can use to make design careers visible, and boost opportunities for teachers and students to connect with us and create the future. In the year of the 100th Anniversary of the Bauhaus, which migrated to Chicago and IIT, it seemed only fitting that we continue to make design a more public opportunity,” said Julie Anixter, FUSE Conference Curator and Chair, and a native Chicagoan.

Together, Project Osmosis and AIGA Chicago will identify high school teachers and students to participate in the conference in meaningful ways, including meeting and introducing speakers on stage, participating in special mentoring sessions with people like Audrey Arbeeny, CEO of Audio Brain and Ken Kocienda, former principal engineer of Apple’s iPhone, and author of Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs.

Project Osmosis will also help FUSE disseminate “outputs” from the conference, which will include interviews with the speakers, visualizations of diverse design career paths, resources for design scholarships, portfolio reviews and materials for hands-on explorations.

NOTE to media: Ken Kocienda will meet with students on Wednesday, April 10 at 10:15 a.m.

To arrange to join us please contact Emory Brown at Emoryb@projectosmosis.org.

Chicago AIGA co-president David Sieren said, “Our collective goal in this collaboration is to look beyond the conventional association conference model and embrace the next generation of design talent, providing professional exposure and access to knowledge related to major areas of change impacting of industry today:

                •               the potential of design to substantively impact the world around us

                •               expanding career path opportunities

                •               modern design methodologies

                •               the evolving relationships between designer and client

AIGA Chicago will also be leading a workshop during the conference entitled Intro to Envision - Step one of the Path to Impact, in partnership with Justin Ahrens and the AIGA Path to Impact Task Force members, Lennie Mowris and Laurel Webster.

Following a trend started by Mozilla, the project will be documented publicly over a 9-month period* and shared with the FUSE attendees and sponsors.

“We’ve been inspired to do more to support local communities where we hold our conference by Jamie Dimon recent remarks at the NY Economic Club, and Larry Fink’s call to corporate leaders to embody their purpose,” said Kelly Schram, head of product development KNect 365’s Insights, Marketing and Innovation division.  “Dimon says that if we don’t address high schools, we’re ensuring generations of poverty to come. Working with AIGA Chicago and Project Osmosis, who are doing amazing work a the high school level, is a great opportunity to learn how we can add the most value through our conferences.”

To learn more about the FUSE Conference, April 8-10, 2019 please visit FUSE 2019.

About Vernon Lockhart

Vernon Lockhart is an adjunct professor at the UIC’s School of Design. Lockhart is Executive Director of Project Osmosis, an education and mentoring initiative that emerged from the Chicago chapter of the Organization of Black Designers (OBD). Sharing a mission with OBD to increase dialogue and interaction projectosmosis.org between aspiring designers and the professional world, Lockhart has directed Osmosis toward mentoring young creative minds. Osmosis programs foster a generation of confident makers by engaging minority youth in activities that promote creativity and self-expression. The organization helps more than 700 students each year to gain access and knowledge about career opportunities in the design disciplines. For more information on Lockhart: https://design.uic.edu/people/vernon-lockhart

About Project Osmosis 

Project Osmosis, based in Chicago, has been serving design-oriented youth for 21 years. Its sole purpose is nurturing creative innovation and personal growth within tomorrow’s designers for generations to come. Osmosis programming creates custom and engaging design educational experiences that inspire kids to reach new heights. From year-round programs like “Design Explorers” to exciting collaborations with the Art Institute, and with renowned designers like architect David Adajaye (Obama Library), the team ensures our students stay on the pulse of design. Over two decades Project Osmosis students have gone on to become design leaders at some of the world’s top brands and companies like Modern Luxury, Walgreens and Blue Chip Marketing. For more information on Project Osmosis:

Many Project Osmosis students have gone on to become designers at some the world’s top brands and firms like Modern Luxury, Walgreens, and Blue Chip Marketing to name a few. For more information on Project Osmosis: projectosmosis.org

About AIGA Chicago

AIGA Chicago’s mission is to unite, educate and advance the Chicago design community. It is part of the national AIGA, the professional association of design. It has a long history of providing creative, strategic and professional guidance, fostering dialogue with cultivating relationships, and creating shared experiences and opportunities for collaborative engagement. It has a long history of working with and providing resources and mentoring to the Chicago public school system. For more information on AIGA Chicago: AIGA Chicago

About FUSE KNect365/Informa

The FUSE Brand and Design conference is produced by KNect365 a division of Informa. KNect365 specializes in conferences and expositions worldwide. Informa is a leading business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events group. We help customers in hundreds of professional, commercial and academic communities connect and learn, and create and provide access to content and intelligence so they can work smarter and make better decisions faster. For more information see www.KNECT365.com

Media Contacts:

Vernon Lockhart and Project Osmosis
Emory Brown

AIGA Chicago
Kelly Knaga

FUSE 2019
Julie Anixter

Source: KNect365