AIGA GAIN Conference 2012

Clone Emily Pilloton! 
Or give her a Nobel. A Macarthur. And a living wage. 

If designers are serious about solving social problems worldwide they could do worse than forming a Kickstarter Project to clone Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H Design. Of course they would have to clone her architecture degree, her background in product design, her drive, and her willingness to work for free for two years in beat down Bertie County, North Carolina, a region that has plenty of hurricanes, floods, unemployment and a dysfunctional school system. And did I mention chiggers?
Presenting at AIGA’s GAIN Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 9, 2012, Pilloton walked the audience of several hundred though the process of working in a rural county, beginning with her invitation from the school superintendent to fix their broken high school. Starting in shop class, she led a series of student-designed projects that in short order created six wildly adventurous chicken coops, and a functioning farmers market, designed and built by these same students. The irony of building chicken coops and a farmers market in an agricultural county that was a food desert and typically raised 250,000 chickens at a time for Perdue wasn’t lost on Pilloton.
At the Q&A Moderator Morgan Clendaniel asked Pilloton how she responded to charges of Cultural Imperialism. Her response was direct: “The only people who make that argument are other designers. If you are doing something that helps people you should be congratulated. If you aren’t you should shut the fuck up.”
Now get back to work.

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