Jefferson Architecture and Industrial Design Students Help Israel Medical Center Look Toward Its Future

In a unique effort that bolstered the University’s footprint in Israel, a team of architecture and industrial design students and faculty spent the spring semester working in an international design studio to envision concepts for Sheba Medical Center’s “City of Health” initiative. Under the leadership of the Jefferson Institute for Smart and Healthy Cities, the project was launched at the start of the spring semester and was supposed to culminate with Jefferson students traveling to Israel and then a final design presentation with Israeli students and faculty at Jefferson in May. The COVID-19 pandemic nixed those latter plans, due to safety concerns. However, the work proceeded apace, and ideas were presented virtually. They received rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. “The results were amazing,” says Tal Einhorn, Sheba’s head architect, who led a studio class to address real-life challenges faced at the esteemed Israeli institute. “We’re really grateful. It went beyond our expectations and we see it as quite an achievement. “It was a thrilling experience and collaboration,” Einhorn continues. “Despite the challenges, we worked as a team, and the Jefferson students really grabbed the essence of what Sheba is all about.” The effort—which also involved Bezalel Academy of... Read more »

Art in Times of Crisis

Hands, dipping into a deep bin filled with multi-colored beads. The smooth and shiny colors, the gentle clinking sound, and pliable wire, all available for threading, gluing, bending. All providing a pleasant problem to resolve: which colors to choose, what to form? Rachel Brandoff, PhD, who practices and teaches art therapy at Jefferson, uses art materials like beads and wire to entice clients to work through manageable problems, like deciding which beads to choose, as a bridge to more difficult problems. “Art therapy is a space for problem-solving which is a skill that takes practice,” says Dr. Brandoff, “and that can be generalized to other parts of life.” During these times of near-constant stress, art can be a salve and an outlet. “Art is a practice of inward reflection–an exploration of thoughts and emotions–followed by bursts of outward expression,” says Dr. Brandoff. “Art therapy gives emotions a place to land that isn’t verbal, and that can be very helpful.” Dr. Brandoff talks about what art therapy is and isn’t and discusses how she uses art to help people create room for processing emotions. Her recent book for art therapists, “Quick and Creative Art Projects for Creative Therapists with (Very) Limited Budgets,” was published just... Read more »

Farai Simoyi Named the New Fashion Design Program Director at Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University’s award-winning fashion design program has a new director: Farai Simoyi.Simoyi, a Zimbabwean designer turned fashion exec, is well known in fashion circles and hopes to bring what she’s learned in 14 years of experience designing and consulting to help guide students with her unique perspective into fashion and globalization.Simoyi is the founder of The Narativ, an innovative retail-concept store in Brooklyn; appeared on Netflix’s “Next in Fashion;” and has designed for some of the most globally recognized celebrities with fashion brands and industry staples, such as Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Rachel Roy, Anne Klein and Robert Rodriguez.Michael Leonard—academic dean of the School of Design and Engineering—says that Simoyi represents “the new spirit of the fashion design program in many ways.”“She’s an entrepreneur who understands the relationship between fashion and modern culture, and like our exceptional fashion design faculty, is dedicated to uplifting a new generation of fashion designers,” Leonard says.Simoyi reflected on the path that brought her here, and how that will manifest itself in her new role.Born in Zimbabwe, her family moved to Boston and then to West Virginia by the time Simoyi was in elementary school. The family’s home was a traditional African household, but she had to adapt to often... Read more »

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