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Qs about Proposal

Do you have examples of proposals that you're looking for?

Here are some examples to inspire you. As you'll notice, however, these are examples that emerged out of a set of conditions specific to another community's local challenges. A study corner for students. A transformation of an alleyway. A chalk installation at a tricky street intersection. A play that re-imagines Montclair in 2050. A social media app that inspires IRL interactions. An alternative development model. Chances are, the proposal you develop is something you've been thinking about for a while, and is right under your nose. These may be active exchanges on social media, among neighbors, or daydreams you've had of a more visionary Montclair. Act on these!

Does it cost anything to submit my proposal?

There is no application or participation fee.

What if our team's proposal involves out-of-pocket/material costs?

All selected teams are responsible for any out-of-pocket/material costs beyond materials that are provided by Montclair Design Week.

What criteria are you using to evaluate proposals?

Here are questions we use to consider the strength of your proposals, we invite you to do the same!

  • Do you have a strong idea?
  • Do you have an ambitious idea?
  • Do you have a diverse mix of team members?
  • Is your team capable of developing the idea in Stage Two?
  • Is your idea clear and legible?
  • Is your idea scalable?
  • Does your idea address a pressing concern?
  • Does your idea take any risks while addressing it?
  • Does your idea engage the community at large in an accessible way?
  • Does your proposal align with this year's theme?
  • What scale of impact does your proposal have, and for what duration?
  • Does your proposal awaken spaces or opportunities that have been historically unlikely or underused?

Qs about Team and Eligibility

What are you looking for in a team?

We believe that diversity of perspectives, skills and backgrounds is key to how we approach the challenges and questions we face. For that reason, we are looking for teams that are composed of that diversity, built with the following three (3) roles at minimum, with a maximum of six (6) members total: Catalyzer This is someone is who is a big picture thinker, and comfortable with ambiguity and large concepts, but can also keep a concept developing and grounding. This could be someone who is an organizer, facilitator, thought leader, activist, designer, and all-round provocateur. Someone who can keep the team on task, while also injecting innovative ideas. Living Expert This is someone with direct living expertise about the selected competition category and within their community. This could be a shopkeeper, barber, crossing guard, teacher, incarcerated, student, gardener, immigrant, mother, cyclist, someone experiencing mental illness or homelessness, member or a marginalized group,and so on. Visual Storyteller This is someone comfortable communicating ideas in a visual format. This could include visuals in either analog or digital format, such as perspectives, diagrams, sketches, videos, photos, photocollages, plans, etc. This could be a photographer, filmmaker, graphic designer, illustrator, website designer, architect, planner, multidisciplinary artist, etc. Naturally, people have many gifts! Given the many tasks of a team, we encourage members to have some overlap in their roles, while also recognizing unique and important contributions.

Do team members need to be from Montclair?

In short, only your "Living Expert" team member needs to be from Montclair, though we encourage members to have a comfortable familiarity with challenges and issues related to Montclair.

What if members of our team can't attend Stage Two or Three?

This competition is designed to be an integral part of Montclair Design Week's programming, and as such, the dates for Stage Two and Stage Three are fixed. If a member of your team is unable to attend, please find a replacement so that you maintain the minimum requirement of three team members.

Qs about MDW and Theme

Why do you have a Code of Conduct?

Montclair Design Week is committed to a kind and inclusive experience for all of its participants. Whether your an attendee, volunteer, sponsor, partner, event host, MDW representative, showcase exhibitor or organizer, we value participation that is free from harm and harrassment. Please read our full Code of Conduct here.

What is this year's theme?

Last year, our inaugural theme was "The Year of Messy Design," because starting anything is messy, and exciting! Thanks to your curiosity and enthusiasm, you helped us rewrite what a design festival can be. Our first year also left us wondering: now that we’d made a proper and hugely enjoyable mess, what do we do with it? This year, we invite you to venture with us into the “Unwritten,” our theme for 2019.

  • UNWRITTEN is everything we do and make without pausing to give or receive explanation--all the systems and rituals that we participate and move within, but rarely see. It’s those unspoken gestures and actions between us that make and break our community.
  • UNWRITTEN is about working together to uncover what’s been hidden or forgotten. It calls us to lay it bare, unearth, get naked, be curious. To encounter each other.
  • UNWRITTEN means that nothing is set in stone--that when we connect, we can discover things we never could have imagined. It means we can rewrite the story and our futures for the better.
MDW is inspired by the stories of design that we have yet to write — how things are being made, who it’s being made for and by, and why it matters. Montclair Design Week explores these questions through playful, inclusive, and thought-provoking programming that sparks our curiosity into action. What are the stories of design that you want to write?

What is Montclair Design Week?

Montclair Design Week (MDW) is the town’s official celebration about design. MDW connects and engages our community in a week of thought-provoking, playful, and inclusive events that celebrate how design enriches our lives in ways both large and small, visible and unseen. From panels, workshops, walks and talks to film series, festivities, installations and competitions, our programming is sure to ignite the designer in all of us.

Qs about Categories

What are the four categories?

The competition will be structured around 4 focus areas in an effort to address the multitude of ways that design helps shape meaningful experiences in the city. The categories outlined below are direct outcome of a series of community-centered design events conducted during MDW 2018: Mobility & Transportation: Moving Through Montclair How can pedestrians move through the streets more safely? What is the role of the bike in a new Montclair? How do we get people more access to public transportation? What does a good bus shelter look like? These projects will demonstrate the importance of why how we move through the city is critical to a strong community. Inclusive City: Connecting Montclair What role does design play in allowing equal access to Montclair? How are stronger connections fostered across a diverse communities? How are transplants integrated into the community? How do lifelong residents stay connected to the community? These projects will propose ways in which design can create a more cohesive and affordable network of connections across different communities. Food Systems: Feeding Montclair How do we encourage residents to participate in their own food production? How do we bring people together around food? How are we feeding residents that need assistance? What are the new sources of food that need to be explored? How do we network the existing spaces of food production & distribution to feed more folks? These projects will help illuminate the importance of food production and consumption in shaping the city. Livable City: Planning Montclair How do developers respond to a new Montclair in a more responsible way? How do we activate open/abandoned space in meaningful ways?How do residents get more voice at town planning meetings? How can the space of social media (montclair Share, ect.) be productive spaces for interaction and action? How do residents take-over public space and reclaim common areas? These projects fall under our boradest focus area and will spark dialogue and challenge conventional notions of city planning.

How did you determine these four categories?

In MDW's inaugural week of programming - 2018, the Year of Messy Design - several events were loosely designed as opportunities to gather insights about what challenges we face, as well as turning points to transform those challenges into forward-thinking possibilities for change. Distinct themes emerged through those exchanges, which have been coalesced and summarized into this summary. Review of this document is not required for participation, but it does offer added insight that could prove useful in your development of proposal ideas.

Qs about Timeline

What is the full timeline?

07/20: Design Competition goes live online 09/23: Stage One: Deadline for Submissions 09/25: Team Selection for Round 2 announced 10/18: Opening Party, Hub will be designed for the “Unwritten” 10/19: Stage Two: Flash Competition and Presentations at MDW Hub 10/20-10/27: Exhibition of Design Competition outcomes in MDW Hub 10/27: Stage Three: Public Voting of Proposals to award $1,000 micro-grant

What if members of our team can't attend Stage Two or Three?

This competition is designed to be an integral part of Montclair Design Week's programming, and as such, the dates for Stage Two and Stage Three are fixed. If a member of your team is unable to attend, please find a replacement so that you maintain the minimum requirement of three team members.

Qs about Stages Two and Three

What does Montclair Design Week provide to teams during Stage Two?

The following will be on hand during Stage Two, the actual "flash" competition:

  • Plotter for 24"x 36" prints
  • Printer for 8.5" x 11" and 11" x 17" prints
  • Rolls of trace paper
  • Pads of newspaper print
  • Packs of color markers
  • Wall space (dimensions TBD)
  • Tables (equally distributed to each team)
  • Mounting and Scotch tape
  • Sheets of chipboard
  • Glue guns
NOTE: Actual dimensions of materials subject to change. Should teams require supplies other than those listed, Montclair Design Week is not responsible to make additional supplies available to team members.

Can you describe what to expect during Stage Two?

From Stage One submissions, a total of eight teams (two teams per category) will be selected to advance to Stage Two. This is the main focus of the multi-stage competition, in which teams will participate in an emceed, 8-hour-long, high-energy "flash" competition, held publicly at the MDW Hub, on Sunday, October 19, 2019. Teams go head-to-head "Chopped" style, developing their proposals into visualizations that are presented to a diverse panel of community allies.

Can you describe what to expect during Stage Three?

In Stage Three, team proposals that have been developed and presented during Stage Two will remain on display in the Hub until Sunday, October 27. On this day, the final day of Montclair Design Week, all teams will reconvene to present their proposals to the public, who will vote to decide whose proposal will advance into action with a $1,000 micro-grant from the Awesome Foundation. At the conclusion of the competition, all proposals will be recorded and made available in a beautifully designed and edited publication that chronicles Stages Two and Three outcomes.

MDW 2019 Competition Submission - Stage One

Submissions deadline for Stage One is September 23, 2019, 11:59pm EST.

Before Submitting

For complete instructions and FAQs, including, eligibility, deadlines/timelines, team formation, categories and criteria, please review Competition FAQs on this page, or click here to download printable version.