about Lisa M. Abendroth

Lisa M. AbendrothShort Bio: Lisa M. Abendroth is a tenured Professor and Coordinator of the Communication Design program at the Metropolitan State University of Denver where her research embodies community-centered, public interest design, focused on issues of social equity towards marginalized audiences. Working across diverse disciplines of design, her activities include critically assessing and writing about design that seeks to address under-served people, places and problems. Lisa believes design must be accountable—she demonstrated this in the critically acclaimed international exhibition, “Substance: Diverse Practices from the Periphery”, which she organized and curated. She is a founding member and regular contributor to the international design network, SEED®: Social Economic Environmental Design where she is a coauthor of the SEED Evaluator design assessment tool and a reviewer for project certification. In 2013 she was appointed to the SEED Advisory Board and presented the Award for Leadership in Public Interest Design. An expert in public interest design practices that use the SEED Evaluator tool, she lectures and presents its methodology and case studies in diverse educational contexts including the Public Interest Design Institute. With a passion for collaboration, Lisa promotes projects supporting culture, community, and collaboration through her firm culture/language/dialogue. She has lectured, presented, exhibited, and published nationally and internationally on research analyzing public interest design. Along with Bryan Bell, Abendroth is a co-editor of the book, Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook: SEED Methodology, Case Studies, and Critical Issues (Routledge 2015).

Long Bio: Lisa M. Abendroth is a Professor and Coordinator of the BFA Communication Design program at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She earned a BFA in Communication Design from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1991 and an MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995. She has taught design coursework at institutions across the country including the University of New Mexico and The Rhode Island School of Design. Lisa has been leading the Communication Design Program at MSU Denver since the year 2000.

Seeking a balance between design research and classroom pedagogy, Lisa works across disciplines in order to embrace a public interest design practice focused on issues of social equity towards marginalized audiences. This area of study manifested in a multi-year research endeavor culminating in the 2007 international design exhibition entitled, “Substance: Diverse Practices from the Periphery,” which Lisa curated, organized and designed. Extending the spirit of the “Substance” exhibition, Lisa’s research continues to focus on design that addresses underserved people, places, and problems. She is a primary collaborator and contributor to the interdisciplinary public interest design organization, SEED Network. The SEED Network proposes an evaluative tool for the diverse disciplines of design, promoting a transparent and productive dialogue between designers and communities that support goals of social justice, economic development, and environmental conservation. Her 2009 research sabbatical was devoted to developing various SEED Network tools including the co-authorship of the SEED Evaluator tool. In 2013 she was appointed to the SEED Advisory Board and presented the Award for Leadership in Public Interest Design at Public Interest Design Week, University of Minnesota.

In her professional practice, Lisa promotes projects for culture and collaboration through her firm culture/language/dialogue. A result of her public interest design research, Lisa has presented, exhibited, and published nationally and internationally. Lisa presents her SEED Network research at the Public Interest Design Institutes and at other educational venues. Her writings include “Seeking Significance: A Design Process Research Methodology”, “Distance Versus Locational Learning: Participatory Design Practices that Serve Underserved People, Places and Problems”, “Social Intercourse: A Community-Based Design Initiative.” Along with Bryan Bell, Abendroth is a co-editor of the book, Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook: SEED Methodology, Case Studies, and Critical Issues (Routledge 2015).

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