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Art and Design Students Present at Local Design Event


Grand View art and design professor Cyndi Wiley organized a group of students to create a new website and collateral pieces for Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC).

Amanda Willmert, Max Ronnau, and Jessica Flinn are students in the senior-level Interactive Design class and are working with AIGA Iowa's Design Assign initiative. The students are using a design framework developed by Cyndi in her thesis work for her Master of Fine Arts in graphic design called: "Empathy, connectivity, authenticity, trust, and spirituality (E-CATS): A rhetorical framework for creating and evaluating interaction design." This framework was largely informed by Relational-Cultural Theory, and is a theory that ACPE candidate supervisor Rev. Jennifer Hall uses regularly in her work at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines. Jennifer was the subject matter expert that Cyndi consulted and interviewed to develop the framework. Students are learning about using empathy in the process of design and how to apply the framework in their project.

Jennifer states, "Relationships are synergistic. Relational theories describe how we create and sustain relationships and take into consideration our own experiences, our own social location and include broad cultural signifiers. Part of our development as people is to learn about power; our own power, and others’ power." Since interaction design is about designing mediating tools for people and their subsequent behaviors, particular attention is needed into establishing and maintaining relationship between designer
and audience.

Relational-Cultural Theory pushes against typical patriarchal structures and values in the United States. These typical “power over” values/structures include men over women, whites over blacks, logic over emotion, provider over nurturer, and so on. Relational-Cultural Theory seeks a flatness of power. It creates a sense of shared power, or “power with” others. This idea of shared power can lead to collaborative creation in interaction design to produce useful and good designs.

Empathy, mutuality, and authenticity are essential in recognizing our own limits and strengths in connection with others. Building trust requires a mix of all three of these tenets, as well as evolution through conflict. Interaction designers can move toward creating meaningful experiences for persons using the EMBARC website by becoming vulnerable and sharing power with the people with whom they design interactions.

The group will be presenting their work at the AIGA Iowa site about Design Assign.  Below is an invitation from them.

Design Assign 2nd Annual Culmination Gala
Thursday, October 3, 2013 / Des Moines

Join us in celebrating the culmination of the second annual AIGA Iowa Design Assign with a gala exhibition and presentations.

As part of the national AIGA Design for Good initiative, AIGA Iowa partnered area creatives with non-profit organizations of the greater Des Moines area through Design Assign –- an initiative to benefit the world, our country and our communities. Twenty-eight designers of various emphases coordinated with 19 area non-profits over a period of four months. The projects that have resulted -– identity systems, posters, websites, social media art work, invitations, etc. -- will help raise awareness and funds for their causes.

6:00 - 6:30 pm Registration & project viewing (light appetizers and drinks available)
6:30 - 7:30 pm Presentations of Design Assign projects
7:30 - 8:00 pm Networking & project viewing

We welcome all AIGA members, nonmembers, non-profit organizations and everyone interested in design for the greater good to join us for this great event.

This event is open to the public and free to attend. RSVPs required please.