SAIC alum Emily Pilloton (MFA 2005) is on a mission to create an educational environment where creativity can thrive. As a graduate of the Designed Objects program, Pilloton credits her time at SAIC as the motivation for her current practices in socially engaged design.
Pilloton is the founder and director of Project H Design, a nonprofit based on the idea that design has the potential to transform communities. The organization was awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts for its creativity and positive impact on communities.
Project H Design’s ongoing project in rural Bertie County, North Carolina, addresses the area’s lack of resources by implementing a design-build program for the local high school. Students in Pilloton’s Studio H program have the opportunity to earn college credit for a yearlong course focused on advancing creativity and community engagement through a full-scale architecture project.
The pride and passion that the students have fortheir work in Studio H motivates Pilloton to continue. “My role as a designer is less about creating so much as facilitating these processes within a community for them to build things themselves,” she says. “It’s not about our vision, but putting things in place so that our students can create their vision and then pull it o at full-scale.” That’s empowerment by design, and that’s Beautiful/Work.