'NannyVan' is latest artist-in-residence at ASU Art Museum

February 10, 2014

The ASU Art Museum presents artist Marisa Jahn and the NannyVan as the next artist-in-residence at the museum’s International Artist Residency Program. NannyVan, which will be with the museum through Feb. 22, is a bright orange, mobile design studio and sound lab that accelerates the movement for domestic worker rights.

With its pull-out seats, colorful design and acoustic recording booth, the NannyVan convenes domestic workers and employers alike to produce and provide new fair care tools. The project began in 2012, when Jahn created a “public art nanny hotline” to inform the more than 200,000 domestic workers in the State of New York of their rights. Then in 2013, after the birth of her son, Jahn recognized the need for new ways to talk to her mom friends – domestic employers – about fair labor practices, and the NannyVan was born. NannyVan Download Full Image

“Project NannyVan is informed by groups like The National Domestic Worker Alliance, the Massachusetts Domestic Worker Coalition and Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employer Association,” explains Jahn. “While advocates have a certain way to discuss the issue with workers, I have found that oftentimes the public needs a different way in to the issue. My goal as an artist is to use craft, humor and playfulness to dismantle apprehensions about a difficult topic.”

During her residency, Jahn will partner with students and faculty from across the university, including the ASU School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the School of Transborder Studies, the School of Social Transformation and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

About the artists

Jahn is the lead artist and co-founder of REV-, a nonprofit studio created in 2009 whose public art projects combine creativity, bold ideas and sound research to address critical issues. They are a self-defined “women and minority-led team of artists, techies, media-makers, low-wage workers, immigrants and teens producing work to impact the issues we face.”

In 2012, REV- created New Day New Standard, a “public art nanny hotline” produced with MIT’s Center for Civic Media that informs the 200,000 domestic workers in New York State about their newfound rights. Users can call using any kind of phone and hear humorous episodes about topics like paying your taxes, overtime wage, trafficking and more. To date, the hotline has received 400 to 1,200 calls a month, media attention from BBC, GOOD magazine and parent blogs, and has been presented at Tribeca Film Institute, The White House and more. Through this, REV- saw how an otherwise sensitive topic was made appealing via the project’s cultural hook.

For more information on REV- and the NannyVan, visit http://www.nannyvan.org/.

Related events

All events are free and open to the public.

Artist's Talk with Marisa Jahn
6:30-7:30 p.m., Feb. 11, ASU Art Museum, 10th Street and Mill Avenue, Tempe
RSVP: nannyvanasu.eventbrite.com

ASU Art Museum Season Opening Reception
6:30-7:30 p.m., Feb. 14, ASU Art Museum, Tempe campus 
The NannyVan will be parked outside the museum and open for visitors.

Third Friday Gallery Reception
6-9 p.m., Feb. 20, Combine Studios, 821 North 3rd Street, Phoenix
Presentation of new collaborative work developed with community organizations and ASU students.

About the International Artist Residency Program

Established Feb. 14, 2011, the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program brings accomplished professional artists from around the world to develop new work in partnership with the intellectual resources of Arizona State University and the diverse communities within Arizona. Through the program, artists develop work in collaboration with scientists, technologists, social agencies and community organizations that investigate the pressing issues of our time.

The residency program is housed at Combine Studios in downtown Phoenix, located at 821 N. 3rd Street. Gallery hours are from 6 to 9 p.m. on the first and third Fridays of every month; additional hours are available by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment, call 480.965.2787. 

Juno Schaser

Event coordinator, Biodesign Institute


Universities need redesign to foster major changes

February 10, 2014

President Crow addresses World Bank leaders

While universities are excellent at solving narrow problems, new models are needed to accomplish broad social change, Arizona State University President Michael Crow told a World Bank audience, Feb. 10. Download Full Image

Crow said ASU was evolving a university redesign based on four key characteristics:

• centering the university around students and the community, rather than the faculty

• changing “clock speed” to make ASU agile and able to respond quickly to change

• avoiding replication of other models

• partnering with a wide range of institutions and corporations, rather than going it alone

Crow’s recommendations were detailed during “Universities as Partners in Global Development: Opportunities and Challenges: A Conversation with Arizona State University President Michael Crow,” held Feb. 10 at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim introduced Crow’s talk while Elizabeth King, World Bank director of education, moderated a question and answer session. The event was broadcast via “World Bank Live.”

“We’re focused on a complete reconceptualization of what the design of a public university needs to be. The reason that we’re involved in this complete reconceptualization is that the historic designs … are inadequate to the task. They’re unable to find ways to match accessibility and excellence in the same institution,” Crow said. “Access without quality is insufficient, and quality without access doesn’t provide enough of a societal return.

“If you want systemic change, if you want to transform societies on a really large scale, then it’s not so easy to think about universities in their present structure or present design,” Crow said. “At ASU, we’re working both nationally and internationally, and also rethinking what a university can do from a systemic design change perspective. … What we’re trying to do is to find ways that we can be unbelievably innovative in the development of an agile university, a real-time adaptive institution on multiple levels, and in multiple ways.”

Central to the concept of innovation and rethinking of current models is measuring success through inclusion of students, rather than by exclusion.

“The most important thing that we want to do is to establish a university wherein the status of the university is determined not by who we exclude, but by who we include, and what students do to ultimately succeed,” he said.

ASU now largely reflects the social and economic diversity of Arizona’s population. Research has increased by a factor of four while the university’s faculty culture has been built around students. The transformation requires building an institution that rejects the desire to replicate other institutions and establishes partnerships that benefit the university and enhance learning, said Crow.

In addition, measures of success cannot be built on a set of metrics that are built to judge institutions. This can be counterproductive to the agility that is needed at a higher educational institution, he added.

“What it’s really about is tracking graduates and having a feedback loop back into the university. That means building an institution that understands its entire pipeline,” Crow said. “The quality of the school must be a measure of what happened to the people who went there.”

The New American University model is also measured through research that benefits the public good, and for the economic, social and cultural vitality, and health and well-being of the community, Crow said.

He addressed steps for tertiary education that the World Bank is advancing, such as assuring quality institutions, and advised measuring student outcomes through what is learned in areas such as critical and analytical thinking, as well as job success.

Demand for education can’t be something that only one privileged group of people have access to, and institutions of higher education need to innovate to move forward, he added. However, resistance to changing the higher education model is a pervasive global issue.

“Around the world, I’ll talk to people and they’ll say, ‘We’re nothing until we can build our MIT,” he said. Instead of reinventing other institutions, he suggests possible partnerships with existing organizations while building something new and transformative.

Evolving ASU into the New American University is a continuing process, with one extremely difficult change that has not yet been accomplished – having each student come into the university with an equal chance of success, he said.