In visual arts, a thumbnail sketch is a way to lay out multiple ideas quickly- outlining specific elements. This is a good way for artists to decide what their overall composition will look and feel like, before they being working. I’ve thought about this brainstorming process for the research paper and applied project much like an artist would their thumbnails, because by the end of this semester I will have completed a very personal work of art: my program.

When I began to develop ideas for the research paper and applied project I was finding that my topics included disciplines that I didn’t consider myself interested in, like technology. What’s interesting about an interdisciplinary method to learning is that disciplines or ideas you didn’t think could relate to your program blend in so well. Nearly each idea for the research paper included disciplines in marketing, communications, sociology, psychology, technology, and education. The constructed research topics are as follows:

Developing a Business Culture: Marketing Strategies

Marketing for Higher Education

How to Market in a Digital Era

Innovating for Social Marketing

Social Marketing for Social Change

The two ideas that I’m most invested in are Developing a Business Culture: Marketing Strategies, and Marketing for Higher Education. Passion and appreciation of the craft are what push me to work hard and put honest effort into a project. Both ideas would allow me to research companies and institutions that I admire and feel strongly about.

I found that cultivating ideas for the applied project to be more difficult for me, because the sky was no longer the limit. As a student without many financial resources, these ideas had to be within reason and were achievable. Each idea came with their own set of challenges, some being transportation while others were a lack of desire. Below are each of my potential applied projects followed with their unique challenges.

Analyzing High Education: Marketing Strategies

Although this project would be accessible to me as I’m already a student on a college campus surrounded by a network of professionals, I’m trying to shift away from the idea of for-profit schools and their desire to make money off students.

Partnership in Plymouth

I could partner with a business in downtown Plymouth to work with them on their specific marketing strategies, but none of the businesses excited me enough to develop an independent project.

Building a Personal Brand: My e-port

This idea would be a great way for me to learn how to better market myself as a professional but I would rather work with other individuals or an outside business for this project.

Develop a Marketing Plan for a Startup

This could potentially be a project that I would love to do if I knew of a great start up around this area. I do know of startups happening around New England, but when I communicated with them their marketing and communication plans were already being executed.

Lastly, my favorite: Marketing for a Creative Service: The Littleton Studio School

This semester I have the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary approached cluster project that partners with the Littleton Studio School in Littleton, New Hampshire. The Littleton Studio School is an artist’s studio where artists and craftsmen can come

to work individually or take classes with other community members. This is a dynamic public space that can offer its community so much but needs marketing support and revitalization. During this semester-long project, my team and I will be making frequent trips together to visit with the owners, craftsmen and community to make marketing plans to improve business. The biggest challenge I feel that I’ll take on with this project is understanding that the positive changes that my team and I implement will not happen quickly, and this can be a discouraging feeling.

Photo by Kayleigh BennettVery few times have artists found themselves with a stroke of genius creating a masterpiece. Much of their time is spent planning, innovating, and laboring over their craft. Interdisciplinary Studies has taught its students this method of developing new ideas and practicing them before its final execution. Each IDS student has a different style and a different way of approaching challenges in ways that are exclusive to them. The research paper and applied project are both ways students can create unique ways of researching and implementing projects to gain a deeper insight of their craft. Like artists, no two IDS students are the same.





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  1. All sound great! (Except maybe the personal ePort brand since you so totally don’t need an extra project to make that happen!)

    I have some expertise and contacts for you in some of those fields depending on what you settle on, so keep me posted. Really hope the work you produce this semester is comprehensive and outstanding, to be the capstone you deserve for all of your potential in our program!

  2. I REALLY wish I had solid input to maybe help you make choices, but I don’t because these are all amazing options and I cannot wait to see what you decide on. No matter what you do, you will execute it exceptionally well. I think my favorites are on marketing for higher education. Both for the RA and RP, it is a topic I feel you can find so much about as well as you already have experience with. Good luck!!

  3. I’m really interested to learn more about your idea on the marketing of higher education and seeing where you go with this topic. For your applied project I really like the idea of developing a marketing plan for a start up because that is something that you can definitely use outside of class and to start a career. Can’t wait to see how your projects come out!

  4. I personally love the idea of helping out the Littleton school! There are so many people who need a creative outlet and a studio in which everyone in the community is invited, but spreading the word is one of the most important parts. This sounds like fun and will be a great boon to the art community in Littleton.

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