State of Flux

Natacha Poggio
Assistant Professor
University of Houston Downtown

The climate change debate is divided into two major sides. One argues that the current global warming is caused by human factors while the other side insists it is occurring because of natural forces. Scientists around the world have conducted research that shows human activities contribute the most to today’s climate change. Human activities like the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture and changes in land-use patterns contribute to tip the Earth’s energy balance by trapping more heat, leading to global warming. The increased temperature fluctuations on Earth lead to more frequent extreme weather events (hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires) which are another indication that climate change is, in fact, a reality.


“State of Flux” is a poster design series on climate change issues, showcasing our planet in a state of flux. My presentation will address how students of different illustration skill levels learn about systems-thinking, design principles and the importance of raising awareness of natural and human interventions that led to climate change.

Science Through Storybooks

Teaching Award Runner-up

Martha Carothers
Professor
University of Delaware

Students created visual storybooks to communicate scientific methods and principles about the ocean and aquatic life to children. The five storybooks teach the scientific findings of published research on tropical coral reef lionfish to children age three to seven. The concept of each individual storybook focuses on a single research finding. Marine Science, Art & Design, and Psychology students in an interdisciplinary course format (three-student teams) created and evaluated the effectiveness of the visual storybooks.

Professors Martha Carothers (Art & Design), Danielle Dixson (Marine Science), and Agnes Ly (Psychology) initiated the storybook course to establish the framework for teaching communication through creative expression, utilizing the skills and expertise throughout the University. Science-based children’s storybooks began with learning how to read a scientific paper, understanding the research findings, and developing a concept map. This was followed by developing the storyline from the concept map and writing the story. Next was illustrating the story, designing the storybook, and producing the hardcopy. The efficacy of the creative, non-traditional communication efforts was evaluated by quantitative data collection during story hours with children.

The long-term outcome of this course is to establish an interdisciplinary and information- synthesis capstone experience to promote engaged, experiential learning that fulfills multiple general education objectives: (1) engage in constructive ideation, (2) to communicate effectively in writing, orally, and through creative expression and (3) work collaboratively and independently within and across contexts and differences, and (4) reason quantitatively and scientifically. These objectives prepare students to meet the broader goal of becoming “engaged citizens, involved in the world around them, and who understand the major challenges and debates of the day.” (University of Delaware General Education Objectives 2014)

Scientific research is front-page news. Sea-level rise, biodiversity loss, climate change, and the collapse of sustainable food sources are some of today’s most pressing news topics facing policymakers, researchers and the general public. A basic understanding of these issues is critical to the overall protection of environmental capital, ecosystem services and society as a whole1. The interdisciplinary scientific principles underlying these topics should therefore be a primary goal of education for our undergraduates.

The storybooks build on previous research indicating that reading aloud with young children is considered one of the best predictors of children’s early reading success2 and despite a scarcity of information books in elementary classrooms, non-fiction reading material plays a role in building children’s background knowledge and vocabulary in content areas3, 4, 5. Therefore, the development of specific science-based picture books could increase awareness for conservation initiatives at an early age, create the mindset of environmental consciousness, and increase early exposure to STEM fields6.

ScienceThroughStorybooks

  1. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) (2011) Sustaining Environmental Capital: Protecting Society and the Economy.
  2. Neuman SB, Copple C and Bredekamp S (2000) Learning to read and write: developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Washington DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
  3. Brabham E, Boyd P, Edgington WD (2000) Sorting it out: elementary students’ response to fact and fiction in information storybooks as read aloud for science and social studies. Reading Research and instruction, 39: 265-290
  4. Duke NK (2000) 3.6 minutes per day: the scarcity of informational text in first grade. Reading Research Quarterly, 35: 202-224
  5. French L (2004) Science as the center of a coherent, integrated early childhood curriculum. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19: 138-149
  6. Leung CB (2008) Preschoolers’ acquisition of scientific vocabulary through repeated read-aloud events, retellings and hands-on science activities. Reading Psychology 29: 165-193

https://www.art.udel.edu/news/Pages/SCIENCE-THROUGH-STORYBOOKS.aspx

http://delawarepublic.org/post/simplifying-science-udel-students-create-children-s-books-research

http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2017/april/science-storytelling/

http://udreview.com/new-class-engages-children-in-science-through-storybooks/

Martha Carothers is Professor of Art & Design at the University of Delaware where she teaches visual communications, typography, book arts, and foundation design. Carothers’ book arts often highlight text about books, reading, and typography. Her artist’s books are letterpress, hand bound, and computer generated under The Post Press. Carothers’ creative work has been exhibited internationally and is included in national and private collections. Carothers’ graduate graphic design research at Penn State University focused on pop-up and moveable books. She continues to research conceptual design and illustration in children’s books. Carothers directed study abroad programs between 2002-2010 to Australia teaching design in the visual arts and introductory digital photography. Carothers was a 2011-2012 Fulbright Scholar affiliated with the City University of Hong Kong.

Data Visualization Research: How It Informs Design and Visual Thinking

Joshua Korenblat
Assistant Professor, Graphic Design
SUNY New Paltz

Design research aligns with the process of researching a data visualization project. Data visualization maps numbers to visual variables; many design projects, meanwhile, have concerns other than numbers and statistics. Yet the research process that contributes to a sound data visualization can offer valuable insights into visual thinking and storytelling. Data visualization is the end result of data analytics, an exploratory process that cultivates a mindset familiar to designers.

Curiosity guides this mindset: observational, descriptive methods allow the creator to understand a topic from multiple angles, ultimately honing clarity in communicating an idea. The process might at times proceed from details to a big picture; other times, from a big picture to details. This data analytics mindset dovetails with emergent processes in design thinking. In both processes, small sprints often yield results more optimal than a grand master plan.

Data analytics involves spatial visual thinking skills that designers—all of whom work with points, lines, planes, and color—have the ability to understand. One of the leading visualization packages for the open source statistic package R is called the “grammar of graphics,” akin to verbal and visual language. I will use an accessible information graphic that compares Presidential biographies at the time of first election. This case study will detail how the analytic process conducts along a circular track: gathering data, structuring it, finding an insight, and visualizing that insight in a memorable, authentic, and persuasive way for a specific audience. Designers, and designers interested in storytelling, can identify familiar experiences at each step of the process. For designers who have yet to work in data analytics and visualization, accessible methods of sketching with data can exercise observational skills and visual thinking processes that propel many design and teaching practices—even those unconcerned with data visualization as the end result.

You Look Like The Right Type

Mark Addison Smith
Assistant Professor
Electronic Design and Multimedia
The City College of New York, CUNY

An illustration manifests “thought” through the viewer’s decoding of visual-based representation—be it text-based, image-based, or a combination of both. Logocentrism holds that original thought generates a need for spoken communication and, in turn, speech generates a need for writing. In a daily ritual since 2008, I redraw exact-dialogue fragments of overheard conversations as 7×11-inch India ink illustrations (combining direct-quote text with visual and tonal embellishment) and combine the single illustrations into larger, theme-based conversations between people who have never met or exchanged words. When amassed together as modular narratives, my black and white drawings—collectively titled You Look Like The Right Type—start having grayscale conversations with one another across time, place, age, and gender (the who, what, when, where, why, and how of journalistic-narrative documentation). And the audience, as interlocutor, triangulates the conversation by reading that which was once spoken and making their own non-linear, grayscale associations between text, image, and completion of what’s left unsaid. Thus, original thought emerges not only through my reinterpretation of other voices, but also through z-axis, non-linear readability (or, Scott McCloud’s “infinite canvas”).

In his 1967 text, Of Grammatology, Derrida argues for a definition of grammatology in which written language is not derivative of spoken language, but, rather, the two become independent, legitimate signifiers for original thought. Thus, the written word (including text-based illustration) can be understood from a stance as comprehensive as the spoken word. Within my You Look Like The Right Type series, I’ve been archiving daily conversation fragments as black and white illustrations since 2008 in a ritualistic effort to not only bring permanence to the spoken form, but also to manifest original thought—via the recycled thoughts of others—within illustrated type-and-image works on paper. In keeping with the principles outlined in Derrida’s text, I argue—using my archive of 3,000+ illustrations coupled with theories of documentary-style narrative, montage editing, logocentrism, and the z-axis of non-linear comic paneling—that spoken language and written language are autonomous and equal forms of communication, feeding off of one another to generate new storytelling.

An archive of these daily works can be found at YouLookLikeTheRightType.com.

Espiritu, Texas 1886-2015: An Essential Part Of American History

Andrés Vera Martínez
Assistant Professor,  Cartooning and Illustration
Lesley University College of Art and Design
Cambridge, MA

The Spanish term Mestizos, meaning mixed, came into popular usage during the 16th century to describe the offspring of Spaniards and Native Americans. Vaqueros, or the first cowboys, were Mestizos and their cowboy culture has been mythologized and marketed; but too often stripped of the ethnic origins before presented for popular consumption. Tejanos, or the first Texans, were borne of the mix of Spaniards and Native Americans and were the original cowboys of the United States. This culture lives on today in Texas through the food, language and ranching culture.
Espiritu, Texas 1886 -2015 will tell the story of a Texas built upon the struggles and triumphs of diverse people. This presentation will focus on one chapter, Lamesa, TX 1961: Andrew Martínez.

 

Colloquium 1.4: Call for Submissions

Deadline: January 15, 2015

The  2015 winter colloquium will be held at St. John’s University Manhattan Campus. We invite all Communication Design researchers to submit abstracts for consideration by our panel of peers.

For more details, see the Submission Process description.
Event Date: Thursday, January 15, 2015

Manhattan campus of St. John’s University
51 Astor Place
New York, NY 10003

Please RSVP if you plan on attending.

Painting with the iPad: Using Traditional Techniques on a Digital Canvas

Monika Maniecki
Adjunct Lecturer
MFA in Illustration
Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY

Colloquium 1.3: Call for Submissions

Deadline: November 26, 2014

The  2014 winter colloquium will be held at Parsons, The New School. We invite all Communication Design researchers to submit abstracts for consideration by our panel of peers.

For more details, see the Submission Process description.
Event Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The New School University Center
65 5th Ave, Academic entrance (corner of 13th St)
New York, New York
Room 617

3PM – 5PM

Please RSVP if you plan on attending.