Tanner Woodford

Founder, Executive Director, and Bartender | Chicago Design Museum

Here’s to Adventure: Designing a New Museum

October 26 | 10:30 | Tower Theatre

Founded under the leadership of Tanner in 2012, the first pop-up Chicago Design Museum (ChiDM) exhibition was held in a 6,000 square-foot vacant office space in Humboldt Park. In 2013, the museum installed a second pop-up exhibition (Work at Play) in a 17,000 square-foot retail loft space downtown, and funded a capital campaign on Kickstarter. In its first five years, the organization has grown to 3 full-time staff, with dozens of interns, and hundreds of volunteers. It has organized 11 major design exhibitions that are free and open to the public, while planning over 100 events and collaborative workshops. Its mission of strengthening design culture and building community is fulfilled through a variety of programs for designers and the public.

In this talk, ChiDM’s founder and executive director posits that design is deeper than aesthetics, drawing from a broad survey of historical and contemporary case studies. He will also introduce Noteworthy Work, a weekly subscription for Chicago Design Museum members that openly wonders “What is worth preserving?”

Longhand: Writing Letters

October 27 | 8:30 & 1:30 | 90 Minutes | The Capitol

Writing has a long and storied history. Since the genesis of communication, it has served as both function and visual expression. It is still one of the most basic ways in which we brand and present ourselves to others. Though modern technology has dramatically changed our style of communication, the handwritten letter still serves as an honest, purposeful, and authentic way of connecting with other humans.

In this workshop, Tanner will read letters from people answering the question “What is worth preserving?” Then attendees will write a loved one, or a total stranger, inviting them to participate in the project. Letters written will be mailed for participants.

Where I'll Be

October 27 | 8:30 & 1:30 Longhand: Writing Letters

Tanner Woodford is founder, executive director, and bartender of the Chicago Design Museum, maker of Iterative Work and faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Throughout his career, Tanner has worked as a product designer, community organizer, interaction designer and developer. He has taught and lectured on design issues, history and rapid ideation in professional and academic settings. He is irrepressibly optimistic, and believes design has the capacity to fundamentally improve the human condition.