The ACD Intensive Fellowship

The Fellowship is designed for architects, designers, planners, civic leaders, policy makers and anyone currently employed in the community design field looking to launch their own projects, build a practice, or expand their practice to be more socially engaged. This 2-week intensive field based fellowship is a short and deep dive focusing on the business of social design by exploring critical topics with community partners. Once again, Latent Design in Chicago will be the host. The 2017 fellow will have the opportunity to explore using public space as a catalyst for community connectivity or examine issues and engage with communities at a neighborhood wide scale.

The Fellow will be embedded with Latent Design, who will also operate as a mentor, advocate and guide through their entire process. This is an opportunity to investigate how Latent Design executes contracts, sources projects, analysis, marketing, management and operations to funding models through the actualization of a project. The focus of the Fellowship is building deep understanding of the various steps in a community design process. Latent Design  will be tasked with working collaboratively with the Fellow to help develop their individual or firm strategy for building a social impact practice focused on community based design.


According to 2012 AIA Firm Survey, 9% of firms surveyed are 20 employees or more, with the majority of firms at 37% are between 2-4 employees. Emphasis on professional social impact programs skew toward large firm CSR/CSV initiatives, which do not adequately address the same critical issues of project structure and firm risk that are present in small firms.


While the Fellowship starts in architecture, it is not exclusive to that field. As ACD is a broad based community design nonprofit, we see the fellowship being extended to new hosts in new industries; planners, housing developers, finance, and even other community design organizations. This is a way to engage the organization’s members, offer a prototype of peer based professional development model that can be replicated across ACD member locations and in other firm practices.


SUPERVISOR: Katherine Darnstadt, Principal and Founder, Latent Design


Activate! Chicago Placemaking with Chicago Department of Transportation

Activate! is an initiative to transform underutilized public plazas into cultural, community, and economic catalysts. This is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces through place based activation.

Perry Market Community Development Plan with Sweetwater Foundation

Perry Market District is a new community led initiative that takes a first step to advance ethical redevelopment on Chicago's South Side as part of a prototype for a new Neighborhood Innovation District.

FELLOWSHIP: (2) Full-time; 2-week grant-funded position in Chicago during Fall  2017. Final dates TBD with selected applicant.

STIPEND: $2,500 covers labor, accommodations, travel and other expenses during the 2 week fellowship duration.

YOU: An inquisitive, proactive person seeking a working orientation focused on community based design with an opportunity to apply expertise and skills towards an active project.


Fellows should have strong interpersonal capabilities and be able to interact with broad, diverse populations as part of this project. An undergraduate degree and 3 or more years of related experience and/or training is required.


Please complete the application at the below link, including contact information for two professional references. Links to work samples and portfolio are preferred; however submissions can be sent to the email below.



Application opens - 04.03.2017

Fellowship Google Hangout Q+A - TBD

Application closes - 05.15.16 Extended to Monday, 5.22.2017, 11:59 PM'

Semi Finalist Selection - 6.5.2017

Semi Finalist Google Hangout Interview - Week of 6.5.2017

Fellow officially announced - 06.01.17 6.12.2017

ACD annual conference - 6.23.17 to 6.25.17

Fellowship commences - Fall  2017 - dates to be coordinated with selected fellow

Applications for the 2017 ACD Fellowship have closed.

For more insight, you can read about Allentza Michel, our 2015 Fellow, and her experiences

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