Institutions & Impact: Mental Health – Could Hybrid Institutions have more impact?

The world is rapidly changing around us, and to many, conventional institutions – from libraries to museums and from healthcare to schools – are failing. What are the impacts we want institutions to have moving forward?

Now is the time for institutions to look ahead long-term and rethink their roles in society, rather than simply being reactive to the current moment. How can they ensure stronger ties with communities and neighborhoods and a focus on people over collections? Can they become the service providers of the future and help us focus on topics that matter today and tomorrow?

This interdisciplinary course will examine what institutions for the 21st century become when we explore updated missions, visions, and programs. During the semester, we will explore the value of hybrid institutions and the change in institutional directions of the last 150 years through lectures and reading materials. Together we will analyze programs and space programs for existing institutions and develop concepts for new institutions.

This year, we will focus on the potential impact institutions could have on mental health. We investigate reasons that mental health is often underemphasized and suggest ideas for institutions to stimulate better mental health in various ways. For instance, institutions could provide platforms for communities to improve mental health and social bonds–a much-needed effort in today's complex psychological climate.

In groups of two to four students, you will be developing concepts (not designs!) for a new institution (including Vision & Program, Forecast & Analysis, and a Space Program) or find programmatic and spatial solutions for existing institutions to have a more positive impact on mental health.


Up to five seats will be held for MDes students.

This course will be taught online through Friday, February 4th.