Lauren Schaefer's project 'Swap Shoppe' was presented as part of the 'Open Engagement' conference, a free annual, international conference on socially engaged art at the Portland State University that sets out to explore various perspectives on art social practice and expand the dialogue around socially engaged art making. Each year, the conference themes are directly related to the research and inquiry of the students in the Art and Social Practices Program.
As a student in Collaborative Design at PNCA, Schaefer spent her first year exploring ideas of economy and consumption and presented her alternative ethos alongside other artists and creative practioners in The Open Engagement "Economies" line of programming that takes to task the economic sector and examines ideas of value alongside systems of exchange. The general idea behind the micro-exchange of 'Swap Shoppe' was to very casually set up a sort of pop up economy outside the context of our daily consumerist reality and sense the response that was elicited by conference attendees.
Schaefer currently attends the Pacific Northwest College of Art for a Master of Fine Arts in Collaborative Design. She considers herself both an artist and a designer with a focus on the impact that art and design can have on solving social, environmental, technological and economical issues in Portland, Oregon specifically.