Cultures of Creativity in Detroit


Time Frame:
Summer 2014


Detroit, Michigan United States


Residential College in the Arts and Humanities
College of Engineering

This freshman seminar away is part of a collaboration between the College of Engineering and RCAH, and explores cultures of creativity in Detroit through a multi-day, immersive residential experience in the city. Professor Dave Sheridan will guide your exploration of Detroit’s vibrant creative cultures by challenging you to discuss your learning as seminar participants. Readings and academic assignments are designed to enhance your understanding and awareness of aesthetic and economic contexts of art and creativity. Together we will....

  • Experience the special creative culture of Detroit
  • Meet working artists, engineers, musicians, and designers
  • Visit a secret museum for Detroit techno music
  • Visit design centers that combine art and engineering to produce next-generation products, from cars to electronics.
  • Explore Detroit’s unique restaurants and nightlife
  • Live with others who share your passion for learning

The city of Detroit has a rich tradition of creativity and innovation that continues to evolve in the present day. This tradition is strongly characterized by the melding of artistic and technical expertise, as can be seen in the stylings of industrial designer Harley Earl, the architecture of Albert Kahn, and the techno music of Juan Atkins. This mixture of technical and artistic ingredients is also visible in contemporary neighborhood projects like Talking Fence, which employs solar panels and LED displays to make visible the stories of residents in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood. Even Berry Gordy's Motown was enabled by a combination of artistic talents (singers, songwriters, and musicians) and technical resources (sound technicians and recording equipment). The Freshman Seminar Away in Detroit will explore real-world cultures of creativity found in product design studios, techno music studios, art studios, business incubators, and more. This "study away" seminar will bring arts and humanities students and engineering students together for a week of intensive learning in Detroit. We will meet working professionals from technical and artistic backgrounds who are solving problems in corporate and community settings.