University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Redesigning the Kitchen: A Mobile Hearth for Collectivist Action (The Kitchen Lab), Summer 2012

A collaboration between the Walker Art Center and the University of Minnesota.

Course meets at the Walker Art Center
June 18-29, M-F, 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
LA 5405, section 2, 2 credits
For: Graduate students and upper level undergraduates from any major, with permission of instructors. Maximum16 students
Instructors: Carl DiSalvo, Betsy DiSalvo, and Rebecca Krinke

Questions?: Contact Rebecca Krinke at

Course Description:

The Kitchen Lab is an art-design studio course concerned with re-conceiving the kitchen: its ingredients, structure, and functions. Students will consider the design and use of kitchens from an array of vantage points: studio art, social practice, landscape architecture, food systems, urban planning, interaction design, ceramics, public health, cultural studies, theater, engineering, and more. Participants will design and build a new kind of kitchen—a modular, multifaceted public “lab” with tools for use on the Walker’s Open Field and in the city, where people congregate for experiences with food and in the process spark new kinds of social interaction and civic engagement.

As part of the class, students will be exposed to theories and practices of community engagement, experience design, socially engaged art and design, informal leaning, qualitative and design research methods for socially engaged art and design. The course will feature guest speakers and invited reviewers. The outcomes of the course will include a collaborative produced portfolio piece, documentation of the process, and presentation to Walker Art Center staff and local professionals.

Instructor Bios

Carl and Betsy DiSalvo are an Atlanta-based duo—designers and researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology—that are expanding, in part, on their “urban foraging” workshop held last summer at the Walker Art Center’s Open Field. In unpacking a constellation of kitchen issues, from organic farming to urban food deserts, that daylong project included forays into downtown Minneapolis’ skyways, farmer’s markets, and storefronts to source materials for a shared meal. As a researcher, Betsy DiSalvo explores the role of culture in informal learning, technology use, and design. She’s also been known to make art with food. Carl DiSalvo investigates the political qualities and potentials of design. Recently, he made a set of icons for cheese. Working together, they develop public programs for museums and communities to foster collective action.

Rebecca Krinke is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer working in sculpture, installations, and site art. She disseminates her work through gallery shows and permanent and temporary public works, including her recent participatory, traveling, outdoor public artwork, Unseen/Seen: The Mapping of Joy and Pain, which created a temporary shared social space for emotional engagement and catharsis. She is currently developing Flood Stories, a public sharing of memories of last year’s floods in Fargo, ND. In broad terms, her work deals with relationships of body and space / trauma and recovery. She is Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

CORE TEAM: The Kitchen Lab course will feature U of M graduate students Anna Bierbrauer, Erin Garnaas-Holmes, Derek Schilling, and Emily Stover as members of the teaching and production team.

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