|Professor David Stairs currently is a Professor and Executive Director in the department of art and design at the Central Michigan University. Professor Stairs holds a B.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design and M.F.A. from the University of Oregon. Professor Stairs was a Fulbright scholar between 2000-02 at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial Art and Design at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. In 2002, he founded the Designers without Borders, — a Non-profit organization dedicated to serving NGOs and CBOs around the world. In 2003, Professor Stairs received the Sappi Fine Papers award, (with Sydnee MacKay) to develop materials for DWB. In 2006 he founded the Design-Altruism-Project – an online publication dedicated to socially responsible initiatives in design. Professor Stairs' work has been exhibited at the 10th Annual Computer Art Invitational, Eastern Washington University in 1997; Arsenal Gallery, Bialystok, Poland, 2003; Banff Center, Banff, Alberta 2006; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago 2006; American Jewish Museum, Pittsburg, 2011.
Professor Stairs is a part of the international discussion about how design can help people without invoking paternalism or neo-colonialism for many years now. As a Fulbright – Nehru scholar Professor Stairs will investigate both traditional and modern Indian design to determine the extent to which indigenous design is either being preserved or eroded in the face of globalized initiatives. His research in India is similar in vision to his work in East Africa which was based upon research in vernacular design. Professor Stairs is hopeful that through his Fulbright – Nehru research he will be able to provide insights into the effects of socially applied not-for-profit design practice as opposed to corporate practice.