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173: Work and Play and Play and Work with Ryan Kough



I’m thrilled to introduce my guest today, Ryan Kough, who believes in design as a community-building tool creating partnerships between community members and student designers to create sustainable, long-term design solutions. She is currently an associate professor of Integrated Media Arts at Juniata College. Ryan earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, followed by her Masters of Fine Art in Visual Communications Design at Purdue University. In her free time, she is in the process of restoring a 1930’s Vandercook No. 2 press in her home studio.


In this conversation, you’ll hear about Ryan’s gallery exhibition called Under Pressure (opening reception happens this week!). You’ll hear what it’s about, how it got started and key insights Ryan has learned along the way.


You’ll also hear from Ryan as to how she uses experimentation in the classroom, specifically revealing the transformative power of the ‘Problems Exercise’; how it’s used as a tool to build trust, practice listening, build empathy and make meaningful change.


You’ll also hear the ways in which experimentation has gone sideways for Ryan,  the potential contained in designing ‘with’ versus designing ‘for’ communities, as well as the importance of listening to understand versus listening to respond.


On that note, let’s listen in…

















About Our Guest:


Ryan Kough joined the Juniata College faculty in 2014 while instructing a video production course and hosting the first Film Premiere Night on campus in Neff lecture hall. She has taught in departments of Visual Communication Design at Purdue University, the Graphic Design Department within the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State, and currently offers courses across the departments of Information Technology, Studio Arts, and the Integrated Media Arts Program at Juniata College.


Kough has industry experience in multiple design fields ranging from publication design, branding, social media marketing, and pro bono community design initiatives. Most recently, Kough worked with Harper Collins Publishing to create medical illustrations for Dr. Vincent Pedre's Happy Gut. She has won a variety of professional design awards, presented her academic research nationally and internationally, and has published her current research on community-engaged design curriculum and alternative assessment methods including ungrading.


Ryan’s passion for letterpress, experimentation, and design history is currently being fulfilled in her personal research. She is currently working to restore a Vandercook No. 2 Proofing press with the goal of one-day offering letterpress workshops.




Music: Rubiks Cube by John Bartmann, Licensed Under CC0 1.0 Universal


Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle


Boat Origami Photo: Boat Origami Photo by Alex on Unsplash



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