As a design researcher, practitioner and educator, I have a passion for design education, innovation, and social engagement. I have acted as jury in design competitions, spoken in various conferences and platforms, led student design teams in collaboration with organizations such as the WHO, Red Cross, Solar Decathlon, and have designed curriculums and run design programs at internationally acclaimed universities. Below are a few highlighted initiatives I have been heavily involved in within the area of design.
BEIJING DESIGN WEEK
Caochangdi District, BEIJING
In 2012, Benjamin Bacon along with industrial designer Li Naihan co-founded RAWR! Labs, a Beijing-based design incubator and laboratory that promotes cross-disciplinary design research and production. Within the same year, in collaboration with Beijing Design Week, RAWR! Labs inaugurated, curated and co-organized the first Beijing Design Week Caochangdi.
You can view the full BJDW CCD 2012 catalogue here.
Beijing Design Week, 2012 Catalogue.
Digital Graffiti Project, lead designer Benjamin Bacon, RAWR! Labs. (top)
Furniture design material that can expand upon heating. Showcased at RAWR! Labs. (bottom)
NOKIA RESEARCH CENTER ASIA, Beijing / Shenzhen
As visiting research, Benjamin Bacon worked with Nokia Research Center (NRC) Asia (Beijing, Shenzhen, Bangalore, Nairobi) to develop collaborative design research with Parsons through courses and project/product development. Prof. Bacon worked closely with the Long Tale Growth Lab group in developing new concepts for wearable technology. Due to the nature of the work, all research outcomes are under an NDA and confidential.
ACTIVATE! GAME DESIGN, CHINA
PARSONS PETLAB, AMD FOUNDATION, DANDELION SCHOOL
Activate! is a website, a curriculum, and a space for playing, designing and sharing games. Activate! uses the lens of game design and the related tools of iterative design and programming to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills and develop stronger issue literacy on environmental and energy-related topics. Activate! is targeted for youth between the ages of 13 and 18. The Activate! site enables youth to make games using the game development tool "Game Maker." While Activate! can be used online by youth individually, it can also form the core of classroom and/or after-school programs.
Benjamin Bacon implemented the Activate! program in Beijing, China. in 2010, with funded support from the AMD Foundation, he was able to build a computer lab for the Dandelion Middle School for migrant children, located in Daxing District, Beijing. With teams of Parsons graduate students, Prof. Bacon was able to initiate and run design education summer programs at Dandelion Middle School and Renmin University High School in Beijing between 2010-2013.
Activate! China was featured on Business Wire. This work was also presented at the Stanford Center at Peking University, Beijing. See a short documentary filmed by Matthew Neiderhauser below.
Find more info about PETLab here.
Images of Activate! at Dandelion Middle School, Daxing, Beijing.
Activate Game Design China documentary, filmed by Matthew Niederhauser.