The Scout team waves goodbye after a successful conference. Photo by Joe Thomas
If you had walked into Northeastern’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Center (ISEC) last spring on Saturday, April 7, you would have been greeted by a lively community of designers and creatives all gathered for Interventions, a student-led design conference presented by Scout, Northeastern’s student-run design studio.
Students from Northeastern and other Boston-based universities converged in ISEC alongside Northeastern professors and design professionals from across the country for Scout’s inaugural conference: Interventions. After months of hard work, the enormity of the conference’s success finally sank in for Scout’s former Executive Director, Molly O’Neil, AMD ’18, and former Operations Director, Brennan Caruthers, DMSB ’18. We caught up with Brennan after the conference and he told us that the impact of Interventions was overwhelmingly positive. Held during Boston Design Week, the conference brought in an attendance of over 200 and hosted speakers from Airbnb, Adobe, Lyft, Twitter, GitHub, and Monotype. Through Interventions, Scout sought to provide a space for creatives to consider the consequences of design interventions and examine the intentions of their work – but they achieved so much more.
For Scout, Interventions was the culmination of five years of success and cemented the organization as a hub for Northeastern’s vibrant design community. Furthermore, the conference established Northeastern and the College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) as an important and legitimate design center for the Greater Boston community.
CAMD Associate Teaching Professor of Art + Design and Scout’s faculty advisor, Margarita Barrios-Ponce, highlighted this in an interview with News@Northeastern, describing how Interventions “puts Northeastern on the map in terms of being a design thinking hub.” She went on to express her appreciation for Scout, and all that they have accomplished over the past five years.
“It’s mind-blowing that a group of students can accomplish so much while capturing what needs to be transferred from year to year so that the organization can continue to develop ideas that emerge organically,” she said.
Brennan, who was named to this year’s Huntington 100 right before graduating, echoed similar sentiments.
“What’s really exciting is how big a splash we made in the design community with our first conference. In particular, our speakers were stunned by the professionalism with which the Scout team hosted, and many of them have committed to helping Scout secure speakers and advertise the conference for next year,” he explained.
Brennan went on to tell us that the 2018-2019 Scout team has already begun working to make sure that the next conference surpasses the success of this year’s, with particular focus on enhancing the quality of the attendee experience.
“While I can’t be certain what they’re up to, this might take the form of more targeted [session] tracks for certain audience segments and higher profile speakers,” he said.
As the group looks ahead to another productive year, a significant goal of future conferences will be financial accessibility. Scout is striving to ensure that no one misses out on the event because of a financial burden. They believe that every designer deserves access to a unique and positive learning space, such as Interventions, and hopes to be able to offer scholarships to students and lower ticket prices across the board at some point.
Above all, the hope is that Scout will continue to focus on quality over quantity in all that they do.
“In the immediate future, Scout is planning to work on processes a bit more to make sure that we’re doing our work effectively and intelligently,” he said. “Scout is looking to get more involved in the design community at-large.”
To do so, the group aims to post more of their work on the Scout Dribbble account and publish more best practice and opinion articles on their Medium account. Keep your eyes on these outlets, and more, as Scout continues to grow and thrive as an integral part of CAMD and Northeastern; we can’t wait to see what they do next!
Interested in working with Scout? Team applications are now open! Apply here.
Alums Molly and Brennan have now moved on from Scout to start their own design studio in Boston, Juno Design! We wish them luck on their journey and are excited to see what they do after Northeastern.