Academic Partnerships


Blue Sky Center has from its outset reached out to regional higher education institutions as a way to bring students to the Cuyama Valley and to see this rural, high desert as a unique place with real people and issues. These experiences have helped to get students “out of the classroom” into a rural environment for experiential and practical applications of learning (“learn by doing”) and to bring forward rural issue-specific educational opportunities.

In the best examples, this work fosters an exchange between our communities, inviting members of our community to take part in expansive creative opportunities and learn alongside visiting faculty and students.


Since launching our academic partner program, we’ve hosted the following student groups to join us in finding new approaches to impactful, collaborative, place-based studies:

Cal Poly College of Architecture & Environmental Design

Faculty: Ellen Burke

  • Cultural Landscapes Focus Studio (BLA, Spring 2018)

USC Roski School of Art and Design

Faculty: Eric Junker, Sherin Guirguis, Jeff Cain, Laurie Burruss

  • Special Projects in Design (BFA, Spring 2018)

  • Design Pedagogy and Design Studio Co-Lab (Design MFA, Fall 2018)

Dominican University’s Global Learning Program

Faculty: Matthew Garcia and Librarian Michael Pujals

  • Desert Sustainability, Art, and Ecology Spring Break Program (BA & BS, Spring 2019)

Iowa State University College of Design

Faculty: Kevin Lair

  • Design for Change (BARCH, Summer 2019)


Interested in becoming an academic partner?
Check out our informational guide to propose a program.