Dominican designer Gigi Polo is a Parsons graduate from the Communication Design Department. She launched her studio—Myellow Boots—in 2005, offering services to small and starting businesses both in the non-profit industry and publications like Domino Magazine, The New Yorker and Redbook Magazine, among others. As a design instructor, Gigi has taught abroad at Altos de Chavón, the School of Design and the Museum of Modern Art, both in the Dominican Republic. She is an adjunct professor at Parsons The New School for Design, for onsite and online classes, teaches Time Embodied for Parsons First Year, Branding online for Continuing Education, and Designers Toolkit for SPACE. Her passion for teaching lies in the intersection between student-centered teaching and brain-based learning. She is currently working in creating tools that help design students develop cognitive flexibility—the ability to organize knowledge in many different ways—as a way to enhance creative insight. Gigi is currently enrolled in the Parsons’ MA in Design Studies program, where she is creating an educational model that helps design students—and eventually preschoolers—develop cognitive flexibility. The aim is to enhance creative insight in everyday life in order to propel innovative thinkers. Also a filmmaker, Gigi produced, and edited a documentary about bipolar disorder and the artistic temperament called Madly Gifted, which has been screened in several international venues, in Hawaii, New York City and Dominican Republic. To see some of her work, please visit www.myellowboots.com and www.madlygifted.com.
What current projects are you at work on or have you just completed?
I am currently working on several projects simultaneously.
One is my thesis project for the MA in Design Studies, called: Osmotic Bubble: Creative Insight by Dint of Synchronized Atmospheres. I’m researching various educational models—from early-childhood education in general, and design education in particular—in relation to neuroscientific theories of teaching and learning, in order to re-think education based on brain science. My main purpose is to develop new, open-ended, creative processes that nurture children’s creative insight while they produce and assimilate tacit knowledge through a process of implicit, experiential learning. I’m looking at the learning space—the classroom setting—as an “atmosphere” that could potentially stimulate the minds of children in becoming creators, pioneers, and innovators—the new designers of possible futures. This project involves the design of new curricula for instruction, and of the physical space as a multisensory, shared, incubator where the learning experience occurs.
Osmotic Bubble, preliminary sketches.
The second project I’m working on is the distribution of a documentary that I directed, produced, and edited, about Bipolar Disorder and the artistic temperament, called Madly Gifted (www.madlygifted.com). This is a four-year project that started as my thesis for the MA in Media Studies in 2009-2011, and extended one more year afterwards, in post-production. I created this piece as a tool to bridge gaps of communication between health professionals, people suffering from bipolar disorder—especially artists—and their families.
I also designed a class workshop geared towards first year design students, in which students work collaboratively while being instructed in a multisensory space of visuals projections, oral narratives, and sounds. For this workshop, called Design Synchronicity: De-constructing the Creative Process, I used Script Analysis Theory and Theory of Practice to analyze space dynamics, and deconstruct the design process into sets of individual and collaborative exercises based on Jungian Psychoanalytical Theory of Archetypes and Exquisite Corpse Pedagogy; inception, conception, and emergence become paramount to enabling creative insight. The exercise is featured on 72 Assignments: The Foundation Course in Art and Design Today, from the Paris College of Art.