Thesis: Navigating Interdependence

My thesis received the Otto Neurath Award for Scholarship from the Northeastern College of Arts, Media and Design in May of 2017. I was asked to contribute an article summarizing my findings to the Storybench blog, run by the Northeastern School of Journalism. That article was listed in the Global Investigative Journalism Network’s top ten list for the week of Aug 9. I also presented a poster of this work at the 2017 Gordon Research Conference on Visualization in Science and Education.

My MFA thesis explores how designers can help people to make sense of complex and interdependent systems. In particular, I was interested in how design can support science communication to create robust, two-way dialogue between scientists and the general public.

For my thesis project, I developed a website to introduce topics of soil health, population growth, food consumption, and land use worldwide, and to serve as a case study with direct and practical applications to test my ideas. The thesis exhibition incorporated elements of citizen science, crowd sourcing and participatory design to bring individual voices into an abstract topic, and to examine how citizen participation can inform the process of both science and design.

The entire thesis can be read here. The spreads below give an overview of the book design.