Research: Using parameters established by MM/CaLL and collaborators, students undertake research on specific sites. This research addresses a flexible set of themes and directives, as well as the particular cultural and spatial conditions of each community. The research includes pertinent environmental data, mapping, collecting photos and relevant images, as well as interviews key stake holders and people on the streets. The goal of the research is to amass a clear and consistent knowledge base of each site’s natural and artificial conditions, historic transformations, and current conditions, to serve as a basis for action and participation in creative and design processes. The student research informs project content, as well as the students' proposed solutions to address CALL's challenge to 'make sustainability tangible through the arts.'
Art and Design: Students propose ideas, designs, installations, media and/or time-based experiences to explicitly reveal and interact with the environmental themes related to the particular sites. As a pedagogical initiative this program supports the expanded role of art, architectural, and design (including digital media) practice that includes art and the design of information, the design of community engagement, the design of action and interaction, and the design of more traditional space making programs.
In a report on Pennsylvania State University MM/CaLL Partnership student work, Visiting Professor and Chair in Design Innovation, Ray Gastil writes:
The studio is also a response to the critical national challenge of finding ways to empower communities by increasing their understanding of their urban environment. For the students it was a question of both education and action – while many created “educational environments,” they were determined to design places for the long term that would both make sustainability visible and tangible and do the work – grow food, clean water, build culture.