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Using Illustration to Represent Diverse Communities

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The Drawing Center

35 Wooster Street

New York, NY 10013

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Making Policy Public: Designer and Staff Panel Discussion on Representation in Illustration with Liziana Cruz, Njoki Gitahi, and Erin Rommel. Moderated by Christine Gaspar (Executive Director, CUP)

How can illustration be used as a tool to represent diverse communities? How can designers use their work to combat bias and disrupt common stereotypes? Designers, artists, and illustrators will discuss their experiences working with community-based organizations and CUP on “popular education materials,” or tools that use visuals and accessible text to make complex issues easy to understand. Hear about lessons learned and how these artists were able to create visual tools that were culturally sensitive and responsive to the communities they were partnering with, and what they learned along the way.

Liziana Cruz is a participatory artist and designer interested in how migration affects ways of being and belonging. In 2016 she launched Flowers for Immigration, a photo project through which undocumented immigrant flower workers express their stories through arrangements. Most recently she has been working in We the News, a series of story circles with Black immigrants and first-generation Black Americans that are documented through zines and distributed publicly through a roaming newsstand. Her work has been exhibited at the Arlington Arts Center, BronxArtSpace, Project for Empty Space, ArtCenter South Florida, The August Wilson Center, Sharja's First Design Biennale, and Untitled Art Miami.

Njoki Gitahi is a design lead at IDEO New York. She uses visual design to help people, teams, and organizations collaborate better, define their purpose and value, and create innovative and accessible products, systems, and experiences for their audiences. At the core of her work is a desire to understand and express the tacit needs and behaviors that drive people. Njoki has designed dynamic brands and user experiences for retail and academic clients, created interactive platforms for dialgoue for public media and social justice organizations, and helped nonprofits and corporations envision the future of education and work.

Erin Rommel is the founder and creative director of Brooklyn-based design studio, Second Marriage. Small but agile, SM creates print, digital, packaging and identity design for both fledgling brands and established names. These clientes span sectors, but are defined by a common mission to make people and places happier and healthier. Erin believes that design can also make life better; when design is about ideas rather than just aesthetics it creates a more accesible, amusing, and provocative world. Erin has a decade of design experience, working in Auckland, New Zealand; and London, England before settling in a canal-side studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

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The Drawing Center

35 Wooster Street

New York, NY 10013

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