CHAPTER SPOTLIGHT: IDSA Chicago

 

Following Atlanta, Ohio-Central and New York City in our series on outstanding professional chapters of 2019 is the one, the only IDSA Chicago. This chapter's success is due in significant part to its robust leadership team, which includes Advanced Design founder Hector Silva, IDSA as Chair and Kat Reiser, IDSA as Vice Chair. Women in Industrial Design Chicago co-founders McKayla Barber, IDSA and Mallory Evans, IDSA also help to guide the chapter as Communications Chair and Outreach Chair, respectively.

First, the chapter's support of the International Design Conference 2019 in Chicago this August cannot be overstated. Besides organizing a multi-design studio tour for IDC attendees and co-hosting an afterparty at TEAMS Design, the chapter held an IDC preview event at TEAMS with conference speakers and reached out to many local designers to get involved. Additionally, Reiser, Barber and Evans gave memorable presentations  regarding inclusivity in design on the IDC mainstage. 

On top of that, IDSA Chicago helmed or played a large part in a variety of other events throughout the year. In April, IDSA Chicago and Advanced Design put on Revision (RVSN), a student conference at IIT's Institute of Design that drew more than 100 attendees from universities across the Midwest. In June, the chapter partnered with Chicago-based design group Object Society for a 10th Anniversary Exhibition. And in October, members of IDSA Chicago and IDSA San Francisco, among others, attended Advanced Design's SQ1 Con 2019 in San Francisco, CA.

Below, the IDSA Chicago leaders reflect on what they achieved in 2019 and what they'd like to see in the years to come. 

What did your chapter accomplish this year, and how did you do it?

Our chapter took on a more supportive role this year. We held quite a few collaborate events, including, of course, the International Design Conference. IDC completely took over our summer, but we've had reasons to gather all year, including NeoCon events, or supporting Advanced Design's Revision conference. 

With all these big serious design events, we've also looked to balance our member's calenders with a bit levity. We hosted our first design trivia night, and are hoping to keep everyone's design history aptitude sharp!

Why do you think you succeeded? Did you do anything different?

Collaborating with outside organizations really helps us bring new designers into the fold. We work really hard to push beyond what we normally do, and try to bring in new ways of gathering our community. That way there is something for everyone, whether you're a student, a freelancer, a hardcore networker or all of the above! 

Tell us about your chapter. What makes it special?

Chicago has, low-key, the richest design scene in the country. From the release of the New Bauhaus documentary to the expert panels held by local firms, our chapter's members are plugged into a diverse community with a seemingly endless array of creative outlets and events. When we bring people together, our members benefit from the divergent interests that flourish in our city.

What are your short-term and long-term chapter goals?

We hope we can continue to bring in new faces, or designers who have been disconnected in the past few years. Chicagoland is pretty expansive, so we are looking to bring more of our events out of the city center and outward into more manufacturing-focused areas. We want to help push IDSA into a hub for support for our members so that they can continue to grow and create at any point in their careers.

What are you looking forward to?

We are wrapping this year with a big cross-organization holiday party. We are hosting alongside Advanced Design and Women in Industrial Design Chicago and are excited to get all our different industrial design communities under one roof!