• Design and Arts Corps

    Design and Arts Corps

  • Design and Arts Corps

    Design and Arts Corps

  • Design and Arts Corps

    Design and Arts Corps

Design and Arts Corps is an integrated community-engaged design and arts program serving all Herberger Institute students, faculty and staff. Through this program, participants engage in direct and ethical partnership and collaboration with communities to learn and practice design-and-arts-based programming and actions that activate community goals and facilitate experiential learning and purpose-driven research.


The Design and Arts Corps partners with communities to place designers, artists, scholars and educators in public life and prepares students to use their creative capacities to advance culture, strengthen democracy and imaginatively address today’s most pressing challenges.


Communities, designers and artists working together to make the world a better place


  • Leverage the creative and scholarly resources of the university to build assets in, with and for communities of location, spirit, experience or tradition.
  • Prepare students to engage ethically and thoughtfully in our multiple communities.
  • Honor diversity and pluralistic ways of knowing and engaging in the world.
  • Practice honesty, transparency and reciprocity in our community partnerships and arts/design actions.
  • Use participatory democratic processes to build and participate in public spaces of community and collaboration.
  • Support risk-taking, experimentation and the possibility of failure to inspire innovation and engaged learning.
  • Evaluate and assess in order to grow stronger.

View the Principles of Design and Arts Corps Projects

View Design and Arts Corps Strategic Plan

Design and Arts Corps Change Model

Our work

Design and Arts Corps is currently focused on curriculum-building. We are building a competency-based curriculum that uses micro-credentialing. This means that Design and Arts Corps learning is scaffolded into multiple modules offered in hybrid online/in-person learning experiences. The intended audience is Herberger Institute students, but we are welcoming partners outside of ASU to use the modules to support community-engaged learning. Each module is self-contained, and also scaffolds with other modules. The modules are currently hosted on Canvas, which is Arizona State University’s online learning platform.

All students who participate in Design and Arts Corps first begin with the Foundation Modules, which were piloted with students, staff, faculty and community partners.

View the full curriculum map

Project spotlight

Goodmans Interior Structures, Spring 2019: Building community service

Two student resident dance artists—Maggie Waller and Justin Villalobos—focus on small weekly activities (delivered asynchronously and uploaded to a shared space and/or a physical space for the warehouse team), plus a workshop per team which builds to a cumulative performance experience centered around Goodmans’ community-service mission, people’s roles as community-engaged volunteers within (and across) the organization, and the importance and value of each and every employee.

Explore the foundation modules

Each module is about 90 minutes long and introduces content through a collaging of storytelling, reflective practice, skill-building exercises and mini-lectures that offer context, examples and connections to the real practices of people. There is a multiplicity of voices and experiences in each of the modules, and many community partners, students, artists, designers, staff, faculty and guests have been a part of contributing to and sharing expertise in the curriculum. By August of 2020, there will be 32 Design and Arts Corps modules online.


ASU affiliated students, staff, and faculty

Public access as a non-ASU affiliate

Who's involved



Inaugural Design and Arts Corps fellows

Theory of Change

Most design and arts move from process to product in a linear way.

Process -> Product ->

The Design and Arts Corps wraps process and product into a continuous cycle while adding participatory publics. Community engages in each part of the creative cycle and together we collectively leverage design and/or the arts to build value in specific ways.

Cycle of process to product to participatory publics
Below is a model for how the Design and Arts Corps as a whole invests in building a better world from the individual to the policy levels.
Through public participation, Design and Arts Corps facilitates results at 5 levels: Organizational, Community, Policy/Macro, Individual and Interpersonal.

Partners and projects

Apache Junction, Spring 2018: Positively Ghostly

Apache Junction, Spring 2018: Positively Ghostly

As a part of the “Positively Apache Junction” partnership, Project Cities (a university-community partnership program housed in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability) connected with our Design and Arts Corps graduate-level course in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre. The theatre artists and scholars drew on their abilities as storytellers, researchers and artists to highlight Apache Junction’s cultural vitality and to strengthen social cohesion. Inspired by the idea of “lost treasure,” the artists (including youth participants from the City’s Youth Advisory Council) built performance pieces highlighting Apache Junction’s historical context, unique legacies and the deep relationship residents have to the Superstition Mountains. They built a site-specific public performance piece held at Flatiron Park in the heart of downtown.

City of Tempe, Fall 2017, Spring 2018: Programming for city parks

City of Tempe, Fall 2017, Spring 2018: Programming for city parks

Part one: Teams of graduate students studying visual design communication in The Design School work with city of Tempe staff and local residents to imagine programming for city parks.

Biodesign Institute at ASU, Spring 2017: Science Exposed

Biodesign Institute at ASU, Spring 2017: Science Exposed

Pilot project where two music composition graduate students worked alongside two Alzheimer's researchers to compose music about the research.

Science Exposed Program

Listen to the music that was composed: "Cycles" and "Stages"

Interested in partnering with us? Propose a partnership



It's not often children ages 2–6 get the opportunity to become creative partners for aspiring theater professionals. But this spring, that's exactly what happened at the Child Development...
Working for the benefit of our community is central to the mission of Arizona State University, but it’s actually a pretty radical idea, according to a professor who teaches students how to do it....
Schools. Hospitals. Laboratories. Designers and artists do as much work outside their practice rooms and studios as they do inside those traditional spaces. Courtney Davis, an interior architecture...

From our blog

Buzz about Design and Arts Corps