Design Incubation Announces First Excursion to the Midwest

Design Incubation's first excursion to the midwest

Colloquium 3.3: Kent State University

Register for this event 

In previous years, Design Incubation has always been held on the east coast, so the School of Visual Communication Design (VCD) at Kent State University is the first Midwest locale to host this esteemed event aimed at creating a community in which designers can assess creative work through a lens of scholarly activity and academic review.

This event is directly aligned with the VCD mission to explore new voices in design and promote the visibility of the school. VCD, in conjunction with the nationally sponsored organization Design Incubation, will be hosting the one-day event designed to draw faculty and students from design and related fields to Kent State University.

“Colloquiums often speak only to the academic communities, VCD Associate Professor Sanda Katila, whose networking landed Kent State a spot on the location list, said. “This was our chance to bring the practitioners and educators to one event, exchange ideas, learn from one another and provide an opportunity for VCD graduate students to show their work and hear about design research endeavors elsewhere.”

Katila, whose networking scored Kent State a spot on the Design Incubation location list, worked with VCD Assistant Professor Jessica Barness to assist Aaris Sharin, associate professor of graphic design at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, and Dan Wong, Professor of Web Design in the Communication Design Department at New York City College of Technology, CUNY, with scheduling, planning and promoting the event, reaching out to design faculty across the country to participate or attend.

“We don’t often see our colleagues within the region, and we initially saw this as a way to start conversations about our work," Barness said. “We also saw opportunity to bring more visibility to the School of Visual Communication Design as a hub for design discourse at a national level. Collaborating with Design Incubation has been a way for us to further this initiative.”

Both Katila and Barness are presenters at the colloquium along with Jason Murdock, undergraduate instructor, and VCD graduate students Alan Walker, Alex Catanese, Jordan Kauffman and Leigh Hughes.

“People are presenting work that is really cutting edge. So, not only am I’m excited to present my work, I’m excited to hear what other people are doing,” MFA candidate Walker said. “This is a great opportunity for us to contribute to the conversation more widely about what is going on in design and to receive feedback from a broader audience. “

Kauffman, who desires to remain in academia as a professor, recognizes that presenting at conferences is something that will significantly affect his career.

"This is my first time presenting at anything like this. I feel honored to participate in a conference as well-respected as Design Incubation, which has never been this far west before, while I’m still in school,” Kauffman said. “To have professors from all over the country there to see the presentation and provide feedback so I can know how to do better in the future is something I’m extremely excited about.”

Walker, Catenese and Kauffman will present research on their project with NASA’s Orion Communication team, which looks at how NASA could engage specifically with millennials surrounding the Orion spacecraft’s journey to Mars.

“You’re never going to keep going further unless you put yourself out there," Walker said. "You have to keep challenging yourself and take advantage of the opportunities presented to us right here on our campus.” 


Saturday, March 11, 2017
School of Visual Communication Design
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242

Visit the Design Incubation website to register for this event and for more information.

Hosted by School of Visual Communication Design, Jessica Barness ( and Sanda Katila (


Cene Lecture Hall, Center for Architectural and Environmental Design, Kent State University.

This venue is across the street from the Kent State Hotel in downtown Kent, where there are also many restaurants, shops, bars, etc. Parking is available (campus lot, street, and downtown parking ramp).


POSTED: Monday, February 13, 2017 - 11:40am
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 8:17pm