Center for Integrative Design’s new name reflects broadened activities

June 19, 2012 By Doris Green

The former Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection in the School of Human Ecology has been renamed the Center for Integrative Design in order to better reflect the activities it incorporates.

The renamed Center for Integrative Design incorporates the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, as well as the Design Gallery and Ruth Ketterer Harris Library.

Previously, the center and the collection shared the same name. The name change also ends the confusion of having both a center and one of its components bearing the same name.

“We are excited about the ways in which the Center for Integrative Design will support the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection and focus on design as both a practice and a discipline,” says Mark Nelson, center faculty director and associate professor of design studies. “The renamed center treats designed objects and environments as comprehensive solutions generated through engagement with a larger social, technological and historical context.”

Named the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection in 1968, the center honored the faculty member who bequeathed to the school the historic and ethnographic textiles she collected and used in her teaching and research.

The focus of the center broadened during the 1990s. The Design Gallery opened its doors in 1990 to showcase the work of faculty, student and other designers as well as items from the collection. Two years later, the Ruth Ketterer Harris Library, named for the textile collection’s first curator, began operations. While originally closely integrated with the collection itself, the gallery and library have grown increasingly autonomous, broadening their emphasis to include all aspects of design.

“The Center for Integrative Design welcomes a broad constituency,” Nelson says. “We will forge relationships with designers and scholars across Wisconsin and beyond.”

To learn more, send an email to center4design@mail.sohe.wisc.edu