Our Work

At the Shapiro Design Lab, we encourage research, collaboration, and experimentation using a variety of tools — including 3D printing technology, audio and video production equipment, sewing, soldering, and letterpress equipment, and more — in an effort to create learning across disciplines. 

Our current initiatives

Disability culture and accessibility

Work in this area of the Design Lab focuses on improving accessibility through either:

  • a piece of technology
  • making a piece of technology more accessible

Or, more broadly, advancing the development of disability culture at the university’s three campuses or with the wider community of disability advocates and activists in the region.

Audio storytelling and podcasting

This work involves supporting the creation of either a single longform audio story or an ongoing, multi-episode podcast.

It includes all stages:

  • pre-production (idea development, storyboarding)
  • production (recording interviews, narration)
  • post-production (editing and sound design)
  • distribution on the web or various podcasting platforms

Community knowledge partnerships 

These projects involve sustained engagement or partnership with communities beyond the university, including local communities in Ann Arbor, communities in the wider region, or virtual communities online. 

Projects have included:

  • community and citizen science projects using the Zooniverse platform
  • partnership with the U-M Museum of Natural History to better understand how libraries and museums can support environmental justice advocates and activists
  • exploring the use and consequences of discriminatory racial covenants in Washtenaw County housing and property deeds.

Where to learn more

You can read more about our work with partners from across the university and beyond in our blog, Lab Notes.

If you have questions about our projects, or are looking to partner with us, please contact us at shapirodesignlab@umich.edu

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