Three years ago Michelle Carpenter set out with her colleagues at University of Colorado at Denver to create a socially-conscious design course that integrated real world experience into the classroom around the idea of “learning to be good (designers) while doing good.”
The course that was formed, Design Studio 3, now involves two large group projects. The first half of the semester is centered around conceptualizing and creating an entire design identity for eight non-profit groups. This includes everything for the non-profit’s design aesthetic; a comprehensive website, a logotype, and a promotional video.
Taking that spirit into the second half of the semester, Carpenter met with Storm Gloor, an assistant professor in Music, Entertainment, and Industry Studies to partner with CAM Records for the latter portion of the course.
CAM Records, both a student-run record label and a course that Gloor heads, helps promotes local artists in Denver and offers students the opportunity to pursue creative avenues in that promotion. In the fall of 2009, Carpenter’s class created a video for Glass Delirium (below) which was featured on Fuse TV, sparking the interest to take the collaboration further with this year’s class.
This fall Gloor and Carpenter have expanded the course’s reach to create videos with eight local artists; the Hollyfelds, MTHDS, John Common, the Heyday, Leslie Brown, My Body Sings Electric, Glowing House and Regret Night. Carpenter aims to have her students fully immersed in every stage of music production.
“The music video project is based on the traditional stages of video production that include pre-production (planning), production (filming) and post-production (editing). At the start of the project each group creates elaborate storyboards that include how the scenes will be framed, camera movement, a detailed description of the visual style and the narrative content of the music video. After finishing the planning stages each of the digital design groups present their initial music video concepts to their bands.”
Gloor feels this course is impacting the community outside of its immediate participants.
“Projects like this provide the opportunity for the College of Arts and Media to not only provide to our students an engaging learning experience, but it also allows us to contribute to the growth of the Denver arts community.”
The groups are currently wrapping up shooting on the music videos and will begin the editing process. The group behind MTHDS’ music video, students Tyler Kellogg, Laura Hemler and Ryan Gaddis, have created a zombie-based theme for the video. According to Carpenter, “They are using zombies as a metaphor and the zombies do good deeds. It is quite spectacular to watch.”
Kathleen Tarrant is a Boulder writer whose other work can be found on her blog, My Best Friend’s Arm.