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Design and Arts Corps

Working together to make the world a better place

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

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.

Our work

Design and Arts Corps projects are initiated and sustained by students, faculty, staff and community partners internal and external to the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. In the 2021-2022 academic year, Design and Arts Corps collaborations engaged more than 750 people across multiple projects, and there have been more than 20 projects and partnerships since the initiative began in 2017.

Design and Arts Corps work includes the following: 

  • Studio Residencies, where graduate and undergraduate students lead multi-year projects alongside longterm community partners. 
  • Collaborative Course Engagements, where faculty are supported with project funds and mutual mentorship to advance community collaborations in Herberger Institute classes.
  • Student Initiated Collaborative Projects, where Herberger Institute students receive project funds and mentorship to support established community-engaged projects. 
  • Herberger Institute Undergraduate Student Fellows Program, where students design engagements within the Herberger Institute community that support the wellbeing of their peers.
  • Design and Arts Corps Curriculum and Community-Engaged Practices Certificate, consisting of online and hybrid self-paced learning modules. 

The Design and Arts Corps Curriculum in Community Engaged Practices

DAC is 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. View the full curriculum map.

The Foundation Modules are currently available for internal and external use.


In the coming months, The fully scaled curriculum of over 50 modules will become available for use. 

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.

Theory of Change

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

process, product, arrows

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.

design process

This 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:

Beauty Pleasurable environments and experiences.
Creative capacities Building skills in collective imagination.
Joy Experiences of happiness and delight.
Targeted capabilities Project/partnership specific growth and goals.
Cultural vitality

Diverse arts and cultural experiences are deep parts of everyday life.

Diverse and inclusive community leadership

Honoring and supporting skills in community leadership particularly for historically marginalized peoples.

Full spectrum participation

All people are able to have enjoyable and relevant cultural experiences.

Reflective and relevant institutions

Investing and supporting organizations that represent their diverse communities.

Social cohesion

A community that works towards the wellbeing of all of its members, reflecting shared responsibility and promoting trust and belonging.

Collective efficiency

The ability to work together to get things done.


Fair distribution of power and resources.


Fair and equitable society, laws and policies.

Participatory democracy

Deep, engaged and sustained participation in the democratic process well beyond voting.


Dreams for the present and future.


Approach or outlook.





Feelings of belonging

Emotional connections to people and places.


The ability to adapt.


Optimism for the future.



Problem solving

Identifying solutions for desired outcomes.



Deep collaboration

Respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships that expand possibilities.

Equitable communication

Every voice is heard and valued.


Mutually beneficial relationships.

Strong formal and informal networks

Building both interpersonal and organizational connections.

design and art corps graphic

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