An Archive: The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Kelly Walters
Assistant Professor of Design
Art + Art History Department
University of Connecticut

In social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, the animated gif is used as a means to convey ideas, actions or beliefs to our friends or followers. When we want to convey our emotions more emphatically via text message or social post, the emoji is replaced with another form, the reaction gif. Unlike the static emoji face, a reaction gif can convey a faster depiction of the specific body gesture or facial expression one is trying to transmit digitally.

In close observation of my social account and of those that I follow, reaction gifs featuring black people are extremely high. There a countless social accounts today that are dedicated to featuring black reaction gifs as its main source of content. As TeenVogue author Lauren Michelle Jackson states in her article, We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in Reaction GIFs, “Images of black people, more than anyone else, are primed to go viral and circulate widely online — in trauma, in death, and in memes. Reaction GIFs are an uneasy reminder of the way our presence is extra visible in life, every day, in ways that get us profiled, harassed, mocked, beaten, and killed.”

I am interested in how black reaction gifs are made, viewed and disseminated into social media platforms. I’d like to gain a better understanding of their source origin, through the identification of the films, television shows, music videos and news outlets the clips are extracted from. Through this analysis and documentation, I hope to highlight the lineage of black reaction gifs to a more expansive history of similar body gestures, facial expressions or speech patterns found in images that date back to the early 19th century. I hope to compare the images and sounds found in contemporary black reaction gifs, to artifacts found in the Film, Music, Photography and Civil Rights collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The following parameters will guide this research:

  1. Examine how black and non-black audiences consume, share or distribute black reaction gifs online.
  2. Identify which black gestures are captured.
  3. Study the differences between black male and female representation in reaction gifs while also comparing age and soci-economic class systems.
  4. Identify different patterns of speech conveyed within the reaction gifs.
  5. Identify the events or causes that make black reaction gifs necessary.

Graphic Design for Science

Gokhan Ersan
Assistant Professor
Department of Art & Design

SUNY Binghamton 

The history of science embodies both a development of ideas as well as notations and images that report and represent those ideas. My research involves utilizing modern visual art’s visual notation to give voice to contemporary researchers across the domains of engineering, natural sciences, and the humanities.

Walking the audience through a few historical examples of knowledge representation (Kepler, Dalton, Faraday) and recent collaborations with natural scientists (“Image of Science,” “Material Matters” research grants) I want to demonstrate the ways in which chemistry and material science concepts can be made concrete for broad audiences by experimenting with the visual primitives of visual arts to encode complex physical phenomena in a humane manner.

This design research begins with establishing a healthy communication stream between content-providing scientists and knowledge-visualizing graphic designer, promising to open up a fruitful venue for contemporary designers.

Bridging the Business Design Gap

Martin Dominguez
Adjunct Professor
St. John’s University, Fordham University

Service design is an emerging field that operates at the intersection of human-centered design, user-experience design and business execution. Despite two decades of academic and practical work in the field (see Service Design Network, https://www.service-design-network.org/), service design has only recently emerged as a field of interest in the United States. Catalyzed by firms like IDEO and Fjord and design programs at Stanford and SCAD, interest in the field is gaining momentum among business decision makers.  As a result, new opportunities for graduating design students and experienced designers in related fields are emerging in both the public and private sectors. Growing the service design industry in the US and abroad, however, requires more than simply preparing the next generation of designers. Bridging the gap between designers/design thinking and the business community is also necessary in order to improve communication between designers and those who employ them.

The purpose of this presentation is to examine how engaging business students in the fundamentals of design might benefit design students and practitioners. Specifically, we explore how helping business see how design can be used to innovate and address complex market and organizational challenges might open new opportunities for designers in the future. Two service design-centered business courses (graduate and undergraduate) at two Universities in New York City provide a framework for understanding how best to educate business students in the fundamentals of design thinking and service design. Insights for design educators and practitioners including three fundamental principles that have emerged from this participatory action research. Areas for future research and pedagogy are also discussed.

Towards an Understanding of Cinema’s Impact on Design Education

Jason Tselentis
Associate Professor Of Design
College Of Visual And Performing Arts
Winthrop University

In the classroom, design students who view documentary films such as Gary Hustwit’s “Helvetica” (2007), Douglas Wilson’s “Linotype” (2012), and Briar Levit’s “Graphic Means” learn about designers, the tools they use (or used), and the meaning behind their creations. Film viewings and class discussions offer perspectives for students to recognize the significance (or lack of significance) a designer and/or their design has in yesterday’s and today’s culture.

To understand and appreciate designers and their work in those films and others has merit, exposing students to relevant issues and influences. But what can design students learn from not only watching such documentaries, but also investigating the methods and principles used for creating them? In cinematic arts and filmmaking degree and certificate programs, film studies deliver a framework to appreciate and understand cinematic creations. It’s visual literacy for cinema, teaching film students to read and analyze movies in preparation for making their own movies.

Film studies and filmmaking could also enhance a design student’s skill set. How would identifying a researchable documentary topic teach students about design history and design research, as well as storytelling? Studying film is also a platform for criticism. What could design students learn from fictional cinematic works, investigating the ways designers have been represented as antagonists, protagonists, or mere set dressing? What would design students say about the stereotypical designer, as (sometimes negatively) represented in movies and on television?

“Towards an Understanding of Cinema’s Impact on Design Education” will present a motion picture and film study platform  for design education that includes documentary films and more. It aims to demonstrate how a class (or classes) could shape design students into more well-rounded creatives, perhaps the next generation of filmmakers. And it proposes ways to mold them into capable and responsible critics or historians.

Rethinking the Capstone in a Graphic Design BFA Program

Regina Gardner Milan
Lecturer
Department of Art & Design
University of Massachusetts Lowell

Evolving the BFA capstone project to develop professional competencies for emerging designers.

Encouraging students to develop projects that address their competencies and those that they need to develop. A year-long course sequence encouraging extensive creative exploration while working within developed constraints that are specific to each student. These constraints are developed through a reflective process of research and critical analysis of their skill sets and portfolio. They then apply these skills and making to a defined set of projects.

Projects are developed across complex design systems encouraging personal design thinking and and challenging student’s skillsets. Projects include both analog and digital solutions including app design, web design, interactive installations and motion graphics.  Faculty encourage growth mind-set and conceptual development of projects that help define a student’s aesthetic and aspirations for their post-college practice.

Developed two years ago, this new capstone has proven successful in encouraging critical design thinking, content development, and putting students in the strongest possible position for entering their professional design practice. Students graduate with a strong social media presence, robust resumes and expanded portfolios.

Theorizing Fashiontech as an Emerging Design Practice

Anne Galperin
Associate Professor
Graphic Design
SUNY New Paltz

Like so many other endeavors contemporary designers find themselves involved in, fashiontech (a marriage of conventional apparel and electronic/digital technology for fun and/or function) unites a variety of professionals in collaboration. Experience and interaction designers, industrial and fashion designers, engineers, programmers and users all have a role to play in the conceptualization and creation of fabrics, garments, hardware, and programming.

Hybrid practices such as this one require new theoretical frameworks in order to describe, understand and innovate in emerging fields.

As an initial step toward the creation of a such a framework for fashiontech, selected concepts originating in areas as diverse as tangible computing, fashion, semiotics, sociology, women’s studies, craft and maker culture will be described, compared and contrasted. (This will not exclude issues of concern in the apparel, technology and design industries including unsustainable or ethically compromised resource production, labor, and manufacturing, and the planned obsolescence typical of both fashion and technology.)

This synthetic construction is intended to be useful to students, educators and makers in fashiontech-related fields as they envision, create and theorize about such garments. As a demonstration the framework will be used to analyze and position pivotal fashiontech garments, one possible example being the Cute Circuit-designed dress Katy Perry wore to the 2010 Met Costume Institute Gala.

Teaching Inclusive Design: Design with Everyone in Mind

Ziddi Msangi
Associate Professor
Graphic Design
UMass Dartmouth

The World Health Organization defines disability as “a contextual variable”. One is more or less disabled by their interaction with a physical environment, social environment, or institutional environment. Inclusive Design aims to “reduce the experience of disability and enhance everyone’s experience and performance.

Universal design standards were developed to guide Designers in addressing disabling environments. The goal is to create accessible spaces for people with functional limitations.

Graphic design educators can integrate these principles in the design studio, providing a generation of students with the tools to improve the quality of life for all citizens.

“A User Expert is a person who has developed expertise by means of their lived experience in dealing with the challenges of the environment. due to a physical, sensory, and/or cognitive functional limitation. User/Experts include, older people with changing vision or stamina, people of short stature, limited grasp, or who use wheelchairs.”-Institute for Human Centered Design

In this model, we move beyond personas, as a way of identifying a users needs when developing a brand. User experts with functional limitations share their lived experience with students. The insight students gain from a User Expert helps guide the design process.

This presentation will share the visual outcome of junior level branding and identity projects, and the impact on student understanding. Over the course of the semester, students were in conversation with four User Experts who helped guide the development of the projects.

Colloquium 4.0: SUNY New Paltz

Design Incubation Colloquium 4.0 (#DI2017sep) will be held at SUNY New Paltz on Saturday, September 9, 2017.

Hosted by Amy Papaelias and Dimitry Tetin

We are launching our 4th year with the Design Incubation Colloquium 4.0 (#DI2017feb) hosted by the Graphic Design Program at the State University of New York at New Paltz. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Saturday, September 9, 2017
Time: 10:00am–4:30pm
Old Main Building
Room B125

New Paltz, NY 12561

Abstract submission for presentations deadline July 15, 2017.  For details visit the Call for Submissions, and Submission Process description.

Venue

Old Main Building B125, SUNY New Paltz

Travel to SUNY New Paltz

Driving directions

If coming from NYC there is a very convenient Trailways bus that leaves Port Authority on the hour and stops 10 minutes walk to the SUNY New Paltz campus. It takes about 90mins and costs $43.50 roundtrip.

Parking

Parking is permitted in university lots without a permit on a weekend. There is Accessible Parking in the loop right next to the Old Main building.

Detailed Campus Map pdf

 

Coffee, Restaurants in New Paltz (details here.)

Agenda

Morning Session 10:00-12:30

Curriculum and Program Development

Reconstructing a BA Graphic Design Program: Scalpel or Sledgehammer?
Nancy Wynn
Associate Professor
Merrimack College

Rethinking the Capstone in a Graphic Design BFA Program
Regina Gardner Milan
Lecturer
Department of Art & Design
University of Massachusetts Lowell

Facilitating a Culture that Celebrates Experimentation and Addresses the Fear of Failure Through Assessment
Alex Girard
Assistant Professor
Graphic Design
Art Department
Southern Connecticut State University

Bridging the Business Design Gap
Martin Dominguez
Adjunct Professor
St. John’s University, Fordham University

Exploring Innovative Technologies

Augmented Reality Overcoming Learning Disabilities
Renée Stevens
Assistant Professor
Multimedia Photography & Design Department
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Syracuse University

Making the Machine Human: Embracing Printing Technologies in Crafting a Present-Day Moveable Typeface
Peter P. Bella, Jr
Assistant Professor
Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne

Designing for Autonomous Machines
Alex Liebergesell
Associate Professor
Graduate Communications Design
Pratt Institute

Facets of Design Practice

Experiments in Building Empathy and Revealing Bias
Rebecca Mushtare
Associate Professor Of Web Design & Multimedia
State University Of New York At Oswego

An Archive: The National Museum of African American History and Culture
Kelly Walters
Assistant Professor of Design
Art + Art History Department
University of Connecticut

Lunch 12:30-1:45

Afternoon Session 1:45-4:30

Facets of Design Practice

Towards an Understanding of Cinema’s Impact on Design Education
Jason Tselentis
Associate Professor Of Design
College Of Visual And Performing Arts
Winthrop University

Theorizing Fashiontech as an Emerging Design Practice
Anne Galperin
Associate Professor
Graphic Design
SUNY New Paltz

Visualizing Mental Models
Joshua Korenblat
Assistant Professor
State University of New York at New Paltz

Unforeseen Structures: Chaos, Materials, and Emergent Process
Mitch Goldstein
Assistant Professor
School of Design
Rochester Institute of Technology

Drawing Type, Drawing Connections
Joel Mason
Professor Emeritus
Department of Communication Design
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

Looking Outward to a World View

COIL & Preparing Global Designers
Sean Nixon
Associate Professor of Art
Program Coordinator, Design Program
Art, Design, Fashion, Music, Theater & Communication Dept.
SUNY Ulster

Graphic Design for Science
Gokhan Ersan
Assistant Professor
Department of Art & Design
SUNY Binghamton

Thinking like a Forest / Ecological Empathy
Jason Dilworth
Associate Professor
Visual Arts + New Media
SUNY at Fredonia

Zika and Public Health Guidelines: Prototyping Models for Different Personas

Courtney Marchese
Assistant Professor of Interactive Media + Design
School of Communications
Quinnipiac University

Teaching Inclusive Design: Design with Everyone in Mind

Ziddi Msangi
Associate Professor
Graphic Design
UMass Dartmouth

5-7pm Informal mixer following presentations at Huckleberry, 21 Church Street New Paltz, NY, 12561

Experiments in Building Empathy and Revealing Bias

Rebecca Mushtare
Associate Professor Of Web Design & Multimedia
State University Of New York At Oswego

When left to our own devices, we unconsciously design for the audience we know best—ourselves. Although some traditional-aged college students have had travel opportunities or exposure to diverse cultures and communities, most still have limited life experience, which magnifies this tendency.  If inclusivity is an ethic we want our students to adopt as professionals,  we need to do more than read and talk about empathy and bias in the classroom. These values need to be embedded in our curriculum including how we frame assignments, the way we talk about design during critique, and our evaluation systems.

Overhauling an entire curriculum, or even a course, and starting from scratch is likely not an option for most faculty. Additionally, teaching empathy and implicit bias can be overwhelming for faculty who have not been trained,  and therefore do not have the language to confidently speak on the subject. What we can do, though, is make incremental changes in our classrooms that focus on raising awareness of assumptions we make and how our choices impact our audiences. Small changes can have real impact.

In this session, I will share the successes, failures and limitations of four years of experimentation and tinkering in the courses I teach combined with my own journey to become more aware of my blindspots and biases.

Augmented Reality Overcoming Learning Disabilities

Renée Stevens
Assistant Professor
Multimedia Photography & Design Department
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Syracuse University

The future of AR and mixed realities are here. With Apple’s introduction of ARkit launching this fall, I was able to design and develop an app concept to use inside this new space called tagAR. An app that will help enhance social networking and empower those who struggle to remember people’s names in a crowd. I will share my concept, workflow, limitations of the technology as it changes and finally show how AR is going to advance the power of design for social good, specifically those who have a learning disability or are dyslexic, like myself.