Santa Fe 2018: xdMFA Destination Weekend

November 1, 2018
santa fe adobe architecture

Each semester, xdMFA explores an experience design theme coupled with a human experience concept. November 1-4, 2018 we will experience moments and places where interaction and culture intersect in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

On Friday, November 2, 2018, the xdMFA cohort will experience Santa Fe’s dedication to Pueblo Revival style architecture that reinforces its claimed identity as “The City Different.” We will explore Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites at Bandelier National Monument to better understand the region’s Native American history. That same day we will visit Canyon Road to experience a concentration of Santa Fe’s art galleries, representing its unique visual and creative culture.

Each student has selected a Santa Fe-area location to study and on Saturday, November 3, xd’ers will fan out across the region to visit places like the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, The Loretto Chapel, SITE Santa Fe, Meow Wolf, The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, and Plaza Blanca in Abiquiú. xdMFA students will conduct field research to document the products, services, and systems that shape the ways people interact with culture in each location. At each location, students in xdMFA will pay careful attention to aspects of experience design specific to design objects seeking answers to questions like:

  • Characteristics: What specific character qualities comprise this object/service/system?
  • Behavior: In what ways does this object/service/system behave?
  • Affordances: What activities does the object/service/system make possible?
  • Function: What is the object/service/system intended to facilitate?
  • State: What is the condition of this object/service/system?
  • Meaning: What do people say is valuable about this object/service/system?
  • Useful: How relevant is the object/service/system and its features?
  • Usable: How intuitive is the object/service/system and its features?
  • Accessible: What ability levels are required to interact with the object/service/system?  

This work will be the springboard for a project called Culture and Use, where students will design services, smartphone apps, and other experience design outcomes intended to enhance the cultural impact of their selected location place for future visitors.

At every turn, we will observe, inspect, and document ways Santa Fe shapes people’s experiences. The lessons we learn in The City Different will inform ways experience design can innovate outcomes that enable people to interact with vibrant cultural identities.

Follow @xdmiamioh on Instagram and track #xdmfa to join us!

Learn more about xdMFA at

Dennis Cheatham

Associate Professor of Communication Design

xdMFA Graduate Director, Lead Faculty

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