U-Arts & Spark-Fuel-Ignite! Highlight 2 DesignPhiladelphia Events

September 20, 2016 | DesignPhiladelphia, 2016 Festival

Five Senses of Home
October 6-16 | 9:00AM - 5:00PM
UArts & String Theory High School           
333 S Broad St. (Gallery 224) & 1600 Vine St.
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Defining “Home”: Building Community and the City through Design
Thursday 10/13/16 | 6:30PM - 8:30PM
University of the Arts, 320 South Broad Street
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For the 2016 DesignPhiladelphia Festival, University of the Arts and Spark-Fuel Ignite have paired up to present “Five Senses of Home”, an interactive exhibition where students tell personal stories through terrariums of home. We asked the exhibition organizers “What does HOME mean to you?” and here’s what they had to say…

What does HOME mean to you?

Each person has a different answer for this seemingly simple question. We all have unique memories and definitions of home: the sight of loved ones, the smell of mom’s cookies, or the sounds of a city. Though often used to describe a location, the way we describe home reveals that home is more than a place. It’s a collection of memories we describe typically using our five senses: the sights, the sounds, the touch, and of course the tastes and smells of home.

Over the course of a year, Spark-Fuel-Ignite! built prototypes and collected stories in order to explore the senses of “home.” Spark-Fuel-Ignite! is a collaboration between John W. Hallahan Catholic Girl’s High School, Science Leadership [email protected] and String Theory high schools, the Philadelphia Public History Truck, and The University of the Arts’ Museum Studies Graduate Department that aims to further build Philadelphia’s creative economy and support the diversification of its design community. 

Partnership between high school and graduate students brings a mix of experiences and ideas that drove the investigation of what “home” means. The final product, a community installed mobile pop-up exhibit, provides a platform for discussion, story collecting and sharing our own understandings of, and needs for, home.

The students spent the fall pilot testing and prototyping in the Chinatown North neighborhood. This gave them a much better understanding of how different people thought about home, both when they had a home and when they did not. Based on their new understanding of the significance of home and the social and civic implications of being part of a community and neighborhood, the high school students worked through the spring to further develop, design, test and build the co-created pop-up exhibit. Their solution was a multisensory, participatory experience that both shared and collected diverse ideas of home.  Made up of contributed personal stories through “terrariums of home,” they also share family recipe cards to express their unique tastes of home. An iPad app investigates sounds of home and inviting visitors to create their own “homescapes”. The exhibition also asks visitors to contribute their own senses of home. As visitors add their perspectives, the exhibition continues to evolve as it "pops up" around Philadelphia: at The Franklin Institute's Science Carnival, String Theory High School, Public Library branches and the Asian Arts Initiative. Each installation brings richness to the discussion of home as people add their unique perception to the collective story.

The high school students keenly understand that exhibits are not just about a topic but about creating a shared experience and building community. Though there was a vast variety of cultures and points of view represented by participants there were many shared powerful expressions of home. We may all be in Philadelphia, and belong to one neighborhood or another, but we all care deeply about home.


Come share your own senses and stories of home during DesignPhilly. 

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