Abstract

Immigration and multiculturalism are realities of the globalized world that has given rise to subcultures, which possess specialized knowledge. This increasing interaction among people from diverse cultures has produced a complex ethno-cultural mosaic that presents formidable challenges for visual communication designers’ as well as for other designers. Cultural diversity of designers and audience of messages in a design scenario brings complexity in the design research process. This research study explores an effective visual communication language, through the medium of the poster, for culturally diverse audience of immigrant women in Edmonton, Canada. The decision was informed by triangulated results from a preworkshop survey, interviews with staff and discussions with immigrant women associated with the Centre. While designing messages for a culturally diverse audience, participatory design exploration approach assisted in developing a framework for research methodology. A participatory design workshop was planned to investigate possible visual vocabulary for an ethnically diverse group. Workshop results were synthesized in the form of three poster prototypes, which represented the needs and realities of those immigrant women. Prototype poster designs were tested to examine the results of the mutually identified visual concepts. Based on the observations and synthesis of research findings, it is concluded that user-centered participatory approaches of design can work effectively for developing a visual vocabulary for an audience of culturally diverse women. The research direction of this project is based on the concept of shared creativity of ethnically diverse immigrant women, through collaborative design exploration workshops. The concept of shared creativity is also harmonious with the spirit of multicultural pluralism, which forms the basis of the Canadian culture. This role of a designer to identify problem-oriented activity, and to develop participatory strategies to address those real issues provided a chance to contribute to the social process concerning cultural diversity in a constructive and sustainable manner.

Keywords:

Participatory Design Approaches, Collaboration, Design Process, Rhetoric, Interdisciplinary, Design And Society, Human / User-Centered Design, Learning, Social And Cultural Studies

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Designing for Cultural Diversity: Participatory Design, Immigrant Women and Shared Creativity

Immigration and multiculturalism are realities of the globalized world that has given rise to subcultures, which possess specialized knowledge. This increasing interaction among people from diverse cultures has produced a complex ethno-cultural mosaic that presents formidable challenges for visual communication designers’ as well as for other designers. Cultural diversity of designers and audience of messages in a design scenario brings complexity in the design research process. This research study explores an effective visual communication language, through the medium of the poster, for culturally diverse audience of immigrant women in Edmonton, Canada. The decision was informed by triangulated results from a preworkshop survey, interviews with staff and discussions with immigrant women associated with the Centre. While designing messages for a culturally diverse audience, participatory design exploration approach assisted in developing a framework for research methodology. A participatory design workshop was planned to investigate possible visual vocabulary for an ethnically diverse group. Workshop results were synthesized in the form of three poster prototypes, which represented the needs and realities of those immigrant women. Prototype poster designs were tested to examine the results of the mutually identified visual concepts. Based on the observations and synthesis of research findings, it is concluded that user-centered participatory approaches of design can work effectively for developing a visual vocabulary for an audience of culturally diverse women. The research direction of this project is based on the concept of shared creativity of ethnically diverse immigrant women, through collaborative design exploration workshops. The concept of shared creativity is also harmonious with the spirit of multicultural pluralism, which forms the basis of the Canadian culture. This role of a designer to identify problem-oriented activity, and to develop participatory strategies to address those real issues provided a chance to contribute to the social process concerning cultural diversity in a constructive and sustainable manner.

 

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