SEED Lab (Solutions for Energy and Equity through Design) embeds equity in community development and solutions through art and design.
Northern issues with global scope
Alaska is experiencing some of the key issues facing the globe, including climate change – more rapid than anywhere else in the world; rising coastlines, changing energy economies, immigration and migration, Indigenous rights and decolonization, and rural and urban divide.
Anchorage is a Northern community transforming environmental, social and economic challenges into opportunities, creating solutions potentially explorable to communities around the globe.
A collective vision of the future
SEED Lab looks at climate, food, transportation, housing, migration and other key issues facing Northern and global communities.
SEED Lab partners the Municipality of Anchorage with the Anchorage Museum and brings together the creative sector, pairing them with community change agents and cross-sector teams to create aspirational, tangible and empowering prototypes and visions for the future.
Collaboration + Community / Identity+ Inclusivity / Economy + Environment
SEED Lab builds collaborations between artists and community members to enhance identity and inclusivity and to generate public-private, community-based solutions to economic and environmental challenges.
Equity through multiple perspectives
SEED Lab reaches into the corners of the community to address persistent challenges stemming from a transforming economy and environment. The foundation of equity lies in engagement that integrates the values and world-views of the Indigenous peoples who have occupied this region for thousands of years. Culture bearers are vital project participants.
Involvement from newcomers to established leaders
Reaching out to newcomers to the city with a community-wide visioning process, the project invites participation by teachers and university professors, leaders of cultural organizations, grassroots leaders, entrepreneurs, developers, neighborhoods and philanthropists.
A space for ideas and connection
Taking form as an innovation space that uses design thinking to see and seed opportunities, SEED Lab primary activities will take place in a building in the downtown Design District, across from the Anchorage Museum. Public programs occurring within the SEED Lab will be free to access. Similarly, outdoor artworks installed outside the SEED Lab in the downtown Design District, on the Museum lawn and in neighborhoods across Anchorage will have public access.
An initial, select group of artists, designers and cross-sector creative thinkers from Alaska and around the world will launch the project. Community change agents from many neighborhoods, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences will be key partners in understanding the needs of communities. For the next two years, cohorts will embed SEED concepts using art and design. Artworks installed throughout the community during this time will change and iterate with each cohort and with each community consultation.
Prototyping through art
The artworks will be prototypes—large-scale outdoor installations, performances, multi-media presentations, actions, public gatherings and pop-up experimental exhibitions—that reflect listening and demonstrate ideas for future solutions. Artworks become vehicles for further community consultation, with public events and discussions organized each “reveal” and installation—prompting meaningful dialogue around tangible, aspirational and empowered solutions for communities.
Cross-sector, co-creation through learning and listening
The forms the artwork will take are not pre-determined or prescribed, as the goal is co-creation with cross-sector professionals and community members. Artists and designers will be leaders and members of cohorts, organized by the Anchorage Museum in partnership with the Municipality, that will engage with neighborhoods, hear from experts, experience the community conditions and learn about the issues.
Gather, launch, learn through public programming
Each time a temporary artwork or art action is introduced, public programming will be developed around that introduction. This includes gatherings and events, community consultation forums, creative methods for public response and input, and cross-sector discussions or “curated conversations.”
An iterative process driven by design thinking
SEED Lab acknowledges challenges, and, over time, it will affect changes in strongly-held attitudes and the way communities and community members work together. SEED Lab is an experiment—it, too, is a prototype. The resulting artworks are not pre-determined, but emerge from a process enabled by collaboration, listening, learning, cross-cultural understanding and sharing. The design-thinking process is key, as it allows for forward-thinking, optimistic, problem-solving-oriented, iterative projects that adapt and respond.