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Collaborative Learning: A Conversation with Safir Bellali from ArtCenter College of Design

In this week’s AI Powered by People episode, Chad Reynolds and Sarah Nagle had the privilege of interviewing Safir Bellali, an instructor at ArtCenter College of Design and a consultant with Epic Games, shared his experiences and vision for integrating AI in educational settings. Here are takeaways from his journey, illuminating the future of design and creativity:

Dynamic Learning Environment

Safir’s approach to education, where students and teachers learn from each other, mirrors the fast-paced evolution of technology. This collaborative learning model encourages a culture of constant curiosity and adaptability, which is crucial for staying relevant in today’s digital landscape.

Bridging the Gap

Through founding Project Aleph, Safir extends his vision to underserved regions, starting in Africa and Morocco, showcasing the universal power of design education. This initiative not only democratizes access to cutting-edge design tools but also illustrates the transformative impact of education on global innovation ecosystems

Blueprint for Corporate Innovation

Safir’s work provides a compelling blueprint for companies looking to foster a culture of innovation. By embracing collaborative experimentation with AI tools, organizations can unlock new creative potentials, streamline processes, and lead in sustainability efforts.

Digital Innovation and Transformation

Safir’s transition from mechanical engineering to leading digital innovation at VF Corporation underscores the importance of cross-disciplinary skills and the strategic implementation of digital creation tools. This journey illustrates how embracing digital technologies can revolutionize product development and market strategies.

Empowering Future Designers with AI Tools

The integration of AI tools like Midjourney, DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and Leonardo into the curriculum is not just about teaching new software. It’s about preparing students to become visionary creators who can leverage technology to push the boundaries of design, storytelling, and user experience.


Safir Balali’s work exemplifies the transformative power of integrating AI in design education, highlighting the importance of staying adaptable, fostering global inclusivity, and pushing the envelope of innovation. Let’s draw inspiration from these insights to cultivate environments that encourage exploration, inclusivity, and forward-thinking in our fields. The future of design and technology is collaborative, inclusive, and boundlessly creative.