Fellowship Program




The Designmatters Fellowship Program embeds top ArtCenter students in host organizations for one full 14-week academic term to work on high-level projects and explore the mission, model and meaning of the host organization’s work.

In recognition of the diverse and growing field of socially conscious organizations advancing positive change, the Designmatters Fellowship Program offers two types* of Fellowships:


1 Business for Social Innovation Fellowships

Launched in 2012, the Designmatters Business for Social Innovation Fellowships place Fellows in social enterprises and companies working to address critical social issues through strategic partnerships, sustainability, market-based approaches and new business models. These Fellows combine the powers of human centered design and business to bring innovative solutions and foresight to complex, evolving consumer and economic trends.

Past Business for Social Innovation Fellowship hosts include Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Proximity Designs, the City of Long Beach and Dalberg Global Development Advisors.


2 International Development Fellowships

Since 2006, Designmatters International Development Fellows have served government, nonprofit and multilateral organizations that perform humanitarian work on a global scale. These Fellows use design to address global issues such as hunger, poverty, healthcare and education in dynamic, complex, mission-driven organizations.

Past International Development Fellow hosts include UNICEF’s Innovation Unit, UNFPA, Doctors Without Borders, Ashoka Changemakers, Acacia Foundation, OAS, PAHO, International Rescue Committee, UNDP, AED, UNESCO and the United Nations DPI.


*Occasionally Designmatters will facilitate a custom Fellowship opportunity between a Designmatters Minor student and a select host organization for a special project, including concepts first developed in Designmatters Partner Studios.  For more information, please contact us.

How to Apply



Designmatters Fellowships are open only to currently enrolled students at ArtCenter College of Design. Fellows must be 6th term or above (graduate and graduating students are eligible) and in good academic standing. Fellows are selected based on a combination of exceptional design skills, professionalism and highly developed interpersonal skills.

The competitive and rigorous application process includes:

  • Preliminary review of a written application
  • Semifinalist presentations and interviews with a multi-department selection committee
  • Finalist interview with the host organization

Current Designmatters Fellowships Open for Application:

Mayor Garcetti’s Innovation Team- City Hall, Los Angeles / January 14 to April 19 2019

About the City of Los Angeles Innovation Team:

The City of Los Angeles was one of 14 cities selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams program in December 2014. Now, there are nearly 30 Innovation Teams (i-teams) worldwide as part of a growing movement for innovation in government. I-teams function as in-house innovation consultants, moving from one mayoral priority to the next, working in the Mayor’s Office.

i-teams leverage data-driven research and work closely with internal and external City partners to tackle cities’ biggest, most pressing challenges. The Los Angeles i-team has worked on initiatives like improving access to affordable housing to reduce homelessness, creating inclusive neighborhood revitalization to address the negative impacts of gentrification, increasing diversity in police hiring, and increasing the number of accessory dwelling units to increase housing options. The team is now working to define the future of work and the ways in which the City of Los Angeles support Angelenos in preparing for the jobs and opportunities of the future knowing that technology, expectations and demographics are rapidly changing.

It is suggested that interested candidates review the Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Team Playbook for additional context and background on the i-team mission and methodology. i-team fellows are expected to be able to be flexible and quickly navigate the learning curve on a wide variety of topics as needed.

About the Fellowship

The City is seeking an ArtCenter student to serve as the i-Team’s Designmatters Fellow. By working with the Mayor’s Office the i-team’s third project is to help evaluate how the City can help prepare residents for the future of work. Working closely with the Design Lead and the i-team at large, the Designmatters Fellow will develop community engagement curriculum, facilitate design workshops, generate design solutions, and prototype ideas to test solutions as a process for design research.

All Designmatters Fellows Receive:

  • $11,000 Stipend
  • Professional Development & Mentorship
  • 0, 3 or 6 Units of Academic Credit

Who Can Apply?

Undergraduate students in their 6th Term and above and graduate-level students from across all disciplines, including students graduating this term, are encouraged to apply.


Applicants will fill out an online application ( link below) and submit a portfolio.  

APPLICATION DEADLINE  5:00pm on Monday, November 26


Ideal Designmatters Fellow Skills and Experience:

  • Understanding of design research, design strategy, and design thinking process
  • Fluency in visual design and user experience design
  • A self-starter and entrepreneurial problem-solver who is enthusiastic to advocate for design process in government
  • Ability to translate complex data sets and issues into persuasive visual messaging
  • Ability to work collaboratively on a multidisciplinary team
  • Interest in community engagement and using design to influence policy and serve the public 
  • Ability to navigate ambiguity 
  • Applicants with previous work experience are preferred

Host or Support a Fellow



Through the generosity of host organizations and donors, Designmatters Fellowships fulfill ArtCenter College of Design’s mission to “Influence Change” by giving students the opportunity to act as change agents and citizen designers, fully engaged with the world around them.  If you are interested in hosting or supporting a Fellow, please contact us

Current Fellows