CHANGING PERCEPTIONS - UNIVERSITY OF OREGON AND PRISON BLUES JOINT VENTURE

Students from the U of O School of Design tour the garment factory at EOCI

DESIGN INFLUENCES THE FUTURE...MEET THE FUTURE:

This collaborative effort between the U of O and Prison Blues brought design students together with adults in custody (AICs) in Oregon prisons. Students were able to see the working conditions within the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI) and speak directly with AICs about their tasks, the machines they use, and how coveted the garment factory work assignments are within the institution. The social awareness and meaningful discussions that resulted were every bit as valuable as the process of learning to innovate, design, and manufacture in the garment industry.

The experience they gained through their participation will go a long way in focusing their careers and opening up their minds to the possibilities, constraints, and variations that exist in the garment design field. For the AICs and OCE staff involved, these students and their designs will leave a lasting impact. From the expansion of product offerings to a fresh and modern look at a long-standing stalwart industry, the perspective of the students inspired growth and new ideas. The potential for the garments that resulted from this joint venture is endless. By featuring the project and designs at their university events and international design fairs, the sky is the limit. The only question still remaining is, what will next year’s joint venture be?

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