Project H Design: Emily Pilloton brings hands-on work to under-served community

February 8, 2010
Jessica DuLong profile photo
Jessica DuLong


I just discovered Project H Design, a nonprofit team of designers and builders “engaging locally to improve the quality of life for the socially overlooked,” whose “long-term initiatives focus on using design to improve public education experiences, spaces, and curricula in the US.”


I’m fascinated by Emily Pilloton’s innovative approach to providing under-served communities with opportunities for learning new skills in hands-on work.


In August 2010, Pilloton, founder and executive director of Project H Design, is launching Studio H, which she says is the country’s first design, vocation, and community service program in a public high school. Studio H will take place in Bertie County, the poorest county in North Carolina, where 80% of school district families live in poverty, and few skilled job opportunities exist.


According to this VIDEO, Studio H will offer a new hands-on approach to high school education that teaches trade skills, design-based problem-solving, citizenship, and leadership by collectively building one big community project per year. As Pilloton explains, “It’s shop class and design studio as community catalyst.” So cool!


Here’s a VIDEO of Pilloton speaking at CEDIM, which offers some insight into her philosophy and approach.


Here’s a mention in the New York Times’ “Nifty 50: America‚Äôs up-and-coming talent.”


What an impressive organization.