Upcoming Fine Art and Photography & Video BFA Exhibition: LOUD


The College of New Jersey

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu

Be Here Now Elaine Lopez Talk

Transcription of talk by Graphic Designer Elaine Lopez
Be Here Now at the TCNJ Art Gallery
October 19. 2020


Belinda Haikes: Welcome, everyone. Thank you for coming. This is a really exciting talk by Elaine Lopez. Elaine comes to us from MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) she’s teaching at MICA. She did got her MFA from RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). She currently holds the AICAD (Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design) post-graduate teaching fellowship at MICA, so I’m sure she’ll tell you all about it.


I’m actually just going to  read her statement if that’s okay:

“My work sets conditions for communication around cultural diversity and inequality. Through my practice I create new ways to share, honor, and celebrate the stories that have been neglected for too long, due to white supremacy, patriarchy and other forms of structural oppression. I make immersive graphic design experiences that challenge people to question and expand their world view. This methodology models an alternative way for designers to work toward more just society.”


This statement is absolutely perfect and really ties into the overall exhibition and workshop shape series so we thank Elaine for coming – well, for Zooming with us.


Elaine Lopez: Thank you, Belinda, Jason and Margaret for this awesome invitation. I’m so excited to be here and share my work with you. I’m going to be sharing a keynote, so bear with me, but it should be should be okay. Thank you all for being here. I know. Zoom is challenging.


I really appreciate you spending this time with me and my work. So give me one second while I share my screen. I don’t know if you all nary your zoom transitions, but I always feel inclination to do so.


Making Ccommon is the title of this lecture, of my thesis, and of an exhibition that I curated. It has also become a bit of a mantra that I go back to often in my work. I arrived at this title by taking a closer look at the word communication. One of the definitions of communication means to share and to make common


Another word that shares a similar root is the word community, which means a group of people who have things in common in my work, I try to share content that will allow people to learn something about others to make them feel more connected.


This is my thesis book where I go into much more depth about all of the things I will share today. If you are interested in downloading it it’s available for free off of my website. So feel free to take a look. But I’m going to share, not all of the work in here, but a lot of it that is relevant to this idea of Making Common


The project that led me to this area of inquiry happened on March 3 when I cut out all of the images of people from the New York Times. I then put them back into a newspaper format without the text.


On this day, there were 45 images of white men. They were represented performing a wide range of activities like passing legislation legislature working the land conducting orchestras building walls learning fishing.


Men of Color were mostly shown playing sports or in conflict situations. When men and women were shown together. The woman was often looking towards a man. There were 10 images of women in the entire newspaper on this day. Most of them were of Cynthia Nixon. And also a fictional characters. This is when she was running for office, back in the day. So that’s why there was so much Cynthia Nixon. There were only two women of color of color featured alone. This simple gesture of cutting out people’s photos from the newspaper shows us who’s being left out of the conversation.


This disparity between the stories being told in the media and my reality struck a familiar chord. I was born in Miami in 1984 into a family of recently arrived Cuban exiles. From an early age, I noticed a difference between my life at home and what was represented on TV. In school, I learned about Greek mythology and the American Revolution, but nothing about Cuba. This made me feel ashamed of my culture because it didn’t seem worthy of being taught in school.


My experiences in the design industry as a Latina have had a profound influence on my desire to radically expand the ways we practice and teach design. One way I expand my practice is to share aspects of my Cuban heritage through my work.


The first project I will share is an experimental publication called Bolita. For as long as I knew her my grandmother. Watch the evening news to record lottery numbers. This is one of the many notebooks. She kept you can see the dates and the set of numbers. She had, she had kind of messy handwriting. I researched this behavior further and discovered that it wasn’t just her. In Cuba, the lottery has a long history, tracing back to the migration of workers from China in the 1800s.


So this is a lottery ticket from 1879. This one is from 1919 and this one is from 1952


Similar to Chinese numerology, Cubans assign a meeting to each number to help them to help translate their dreams and daily situations into the numbers to play in the local lottery. The system is called la Charade, and it is really common among Cubans. If you happen to know any older Cuban people ask them to tell you what any number between one and 100 means


I’ll break this down a bit further. So for example, if you saw a horse today. Number one means horse. So you should play the number one in the lottery today because you will become rich


I was fascinated by this history. So I decided that I wanted to conduct more research by using the numbers and the words of la Charade as a guide. So since number one means horse, I Googled Cuban horse and found this Wikipedia page about the Cuban Criollo horse, who was brought from Spain in 1751.


I then use that information to create a signature for a book. So like a page, you know, front and back. This one is for the number 16 and it talks about how the Spanish brought bullfighting to Cuba in 1538.


I then designed an interactive publishing game where the numbers you pick determine which pages you get, so you start by picking up one of the balls and that’ll tell you the number. Normally,we were in person, you would pick a ball out of a bag so you couldn’t see which ball you were selecting


Then you would grab the pages based on your number. So for example, if you got number four. That would be cats and when you research Cuba and cats, you learn about Ernest Hemingway’s cats with six toes.


Number seven is seashell and this page explains how the CIA tried assassinating Fidel Castro with an exploding seashell.


So I would take those pages and put them into a clear bag and this would be what you would receive at the end of that. Each page tells a fragment of Cuban history to represent how we learn about cultures through random bits and pieces of information. Admittedly, this is a complicated system to explain. It was hard to make this project without the feedback of the Cuban person, but it was important for me to stay true to this custom.


I like sharing this project and all of its complexity because I believe it is important for students to dig deep into their experiences and cultures and make work about things that are complex rich and hard to explain. This is how we make those stories more common.


Another project inspired by my heritage is based on dominoes. So if we were together, I would ask people to raise their hands. If they knew how to play dominoes, but I can’t see your hands right now. Many people I’ve met think that this is how you play dominoes.


But to me, dominoes has always look like this. This is a place called Domino Park in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. Here are people playing in Cuba and when Obama visited Cuba in 2016 he was invited to play dominoes on TV and like he says it’s very easy to play. So the object of the game is to get rid of all of your dominoes, or have the smallest number when no one can go any further. Each player takes 10 tiles and the player with the highest number tile goes first. Then you match the numbers on either end using your child into you run out. There’s more to it than that. But you get the idea.


I was inspired by Studio Monikor’s Dazzle Fungus series. Is anyone familiar with this? These are a series of crowd-sourced installations that provide participants with stickers and a set of instructions This conditional design installation gives participants the opportunity to collectively create an installation. This allows people to feel more connected and engaged to the piece and to have more of an active experience than just being a spectator.


Keeping this in mind and keeping the game of dominoes in mind, I created 55 9 by 17 inch sticker tiles out of vinyl.  And then I asked people to place these tiles on the floor, or anywhere really, and they had a lot of fun with it. Those who knew how to play taught those who didn’t. And people work together to install each piece.


I have installed this twice previously: those were images from RISD. These are from Micah. These are some of my students installing this piece. This was just before COVID hit. So it was actually one of the last times where people got to interact so close. Looking at this from now is like, “oh, wear your masks! Six feet away!”


But people had a really good time and many recall it as one of the more memorable moments of the semester, besides COVID obviously


And people install this wherever they want. So here you see folks, putting it on the glass all over the walls and even started to invade other pieces in the exhibition. It made for a good opportunity for people to connect and have a conversation, who may not have otherwise engaged in this way.


Aside from sharing my culture. I’ve had the opportunity to use my skills as a designer to communicate the speculative futures of other cultures. So this next project. I’m going to share is called Souvenirs from the Futures. It was a collaboration with an industrial design professor at RISD.


In 2017 Paolo Cardini traveled to Cuba, India, Iran, Ethiopia and Peru. In each of these places. He asked students to write a story about the future from their perspectives. In addition to writing these stories, students visited with local artisans to learn traditional ways of making. Students were then asked to design objects based on these stories using the techniques they learned from the local artisans.


As the designer on this project I was tasked with designing a catalog and exhibition materials that told the story of the project while highlighting the students’ work from a non-Western perspective. We chose to create a newsprint publication to reference the concept of a newspaper in which the perspectives of the future will change daily. Each newspaper served as a portable exhibition that could be put up on the walls to recreate the show in different countries. We highlighted the student narratives in their native language while de-emphasizing the English copy.


This publication included over six languages and was very challenging to typeset as you can imagine. When folded this way, it served as a label for each of the works. And when displayed on the wall, It showed a hero image of each project and provided context for each piece down below.


The exhibition took place in Rome and brought together professors from each country to discuss the impact of the project and the implications for the future of design.  The most revealing part of this project was that by telling stories about the future students expose the reality of their current situation. We made room for the perspectives of others. And we’re careful as designers to be respectful to each culture.


Going back to this idea of communication. I started to think about how inaccessible design is to most people. Design services are out of reach, not just financially, but also logistically, if you don’t know a graphic designer, then your options are limited to Fiverr or Kinko’s. As a result, we’ve come to associate authenticity with things that are undesigned or standard. And this was the inspiration for this project called Signs of the Times.


I grew up in Miami, looking at these signs. Most strip malls around the country have this type of signage. In Miami, they sort of told a story of the Latin diaspora that exists there. They don’t really subscribe to the rules of typography that we study in school, but they do get their message across to the intended audience. To me, they communicate authenticity.


Since the election of Trump. I’ve had many conversations about the radical changes people have made in their lives. I wanted to capture these changes as people voted in the midterm election on November 7, 2018. In order to retain the personal and informal nature of these conversations, I reached out to friends via text message and asked, “Question for a project: has your life changed as a result of the 2016 election? If so, can you share the first thing that comes to mind?” So here you have this text message interaction with my friend Kira.


These responses were relatable, but also reflected a left-leaning perspective. I wanted to share them in a way that would help people empathize with how their choices have affected others. By printing these messages using the same materials and visual language as election campaigns or landscaping businesses, perhaps, people will pay attention to what is being said. I then put these signs all over Providence, Rhode Island where I was living at the time.


So this is one of the signs like off the side of the road. Here it is in front of some businesses. Front of a pole somewhere. I just drove around and found good locations.


And as soon as I put this one down, these folks were walking by and wanted to pose within immediately, which was a huge success, because it meant to me that the message on there connected with people. I’ve also exhibited these signs not just outdoors, but inside. —


The phone number that’s on there– if you call this phone number, I purchased it, and so it will give you a voicemail asking you how your life has changed since the election. Here they are in a different exhibition in Chicago. It’s really interesting thinking about this project from today, right, as we are very to an election. I think my favorite part of this project is the conversations I’ve had with people who call. So sometimes the number just goes straight to my phone and I’ve had conversations with people about the changes they’ve made in their lives. And to me, this is the best use of design, right, what’s something that can bring people together to have an authentic dialogue.


A different project I did is called Hot Air, and this is an interactive sculpture that serves as a metaphor for the struggle for power and dominance within a conversation. Here is a close up shot of this box with many balloons in it. Participants selected balloon and inserted into a small hole on either side of the box. With minimal instruction, they begin to inflate their balloon and instinctively begin to compete. Results vary and the dialogue that occurs between participants brings awareness of the identity of each participant and shows how power dynamics are present during our conversation.


Now I’m going to share a video, but I wonder if the sound is working. So here’s an image of the object at play.



Yeah, so depending on who participates in this the meaning for the viewers is likely to change. So it’s different if you are participating or if you’re watching other people participate. I will also file this one under things that we probably can’t do anymore due to COVID.  and


To me, the classroom is a really important place. There are a few opportunities where you get to meet with people for 15 weeks and yet so many classes that I’ve been in I didn’t really get to know most of the people in the classroom. Semesters would come and go and potential connections would go un-made. So I designed this workshop to build a community with a group of people and you will all participate in this very soon.


So this was the first time I ran this workshop. Originally it was done with paper and spiral binding and markers and we would be in person and interacting and sharing answers to questions together and writing them down and building a book together. This intimate interaction brings people together by sharing information, but also by providing an opportunity for participants to collaborate. The objective is that you take a few minutes to get to know someone near you and have fun while doing it.


So this is MICA, about a year ago where I ran this workshop with about 100 people. And here are some folks trying to find something they have in common. I think they were trying to guess if their hands were the same size. Here are students from San Francisco State University participating.


What strikes me most is how much fun people have while playing. I think we need to make more opportunities for unstructured organic communication.


Here some other shots. The final product is this long collaborative book with people’s sincere responses about what matters most to them in life.


And here’s an example. So again, COVID being the theme of the night, I had to translate this interaction that couldn’t happen physically anymore into the digital space. This is the workshop for the school for poetic computation. Like I said, some of you will be participating in this a little bit later today


I feel that more importantly than ever before, we need opportunities for connection and for authentic unstructured dialogue, like we would have on the way to class or while grabbing lunch. This workshop provides people the opportunity for that. Here’s one of my favorite pictures from one of the workshops. I’ve done.


So switching gears a little bit. I’m going to share the machine that brings me great joy is the RISO. Fun fact RISO means ideal in Japanese. This generous, forgiving, and rewarding machine is the ideal tool for making work with minimal risk and maximum reward. This is the RISD’s RISO, this is the RISO at MICA, and this is my own RISO. Her name is Chorizo and she’s right behind me right now, covered in paper.


The first thing I’ve printed on the RISO was this: a boulder with text isolated from its surroundings. This is the original photo from my phone. And here are some other photos of these words on boulders. These are all of the words carved onto 24 boulders in Dogtown, Massachusetts. They were put there by Roger Babson, the eccentric billionaire who founded Babson College, among many other achievements during the Great Depression. He hired unemployed stonecutters to carve these inspirational mottos onto these boulders.


He said of this project, “My family says I’m defacing the boulders and disgracing the family with these inscriptions, but the work gives me a lot of satisfaction, fresh air, exercise, and sunshine. I’m really trying to write a simple book with words carved into stone instead of printed on paper.”


But since no one sees these boulders on their location, I decided to return them back into paper. So here are some of them printed. I call this series Absent Boulders. My goal is to eventually print all of them. I have quite a few done already. This is what the original set looks like.


I wish I could RISO print all day. Here’s another print I made inspired by the terrazzo flooring and my grandmother’s house. I call this Tereso.


This was a series of posters that I collaborated on with my friend Bobby Joe Smith announcing a lecture series. I’ve also developed a class around the intersection of RISO printing culture and identity. I feel that the RISO is the perfect machine to use when making work around identity because it is inherently joyful and easy to use, which are qualities that ease the burden of making work about difficult or painful topics.


These are the materials for my class that I’m currently —  well this was from last spring  –but I’m currently also teaching this class. The nice thing about RISA too it’s great for publishing. So many of the projects that students make get put into books or multiples that can be resold. This is a book of the first prints that students made in this class.


These are prints by Bella Hu of her hometown in China. And this is Leyla [Gokcek’s] work. And her thesis was about Edward Said’s writings on Orientalism so she created these RISO postcards to reflect that work.  These are pictures from Jessica He and I think that is Chinatown in Philadelphia, where she’s from, and also some lilies. Akia Jones made a series of prints for Black History Month using iconic imagery from the civil rights movement. Shivani Parasnis wanted to commemorate fruits she doesn’t like. But she made them look really pretty. I don’t know if she really doesn’t like them. Yash Goel is a graduate student whose thesis was exploring gender by challenging society’s notions of masculinity. He created these prints. I think, pink and purple, …not sure if they were on white paper on pink paper. And he turned these prints into a mural as part of his thesis installation.


Another student, Decong Ma, was inspired by stained glass. So the nice thing about RISO is that it prints multiples so it’s easy to do things like wallpaper to cover large surfaces. Here she knew she was going to cover this pole so she matched the color to the color of the pole. And so this starts to look like stained glass — just really beautiful.


We also made some RISO Gif animation. This is a project by Xena Brar about a trip she took to Spain. And this is a project by Xing Mu and she used in animation she already had. This is a project by Jessica He, another RISO GIF animation. So you see it gives it this interesting quality. It’s not exactly perfect but that’s sort of the, the appeal of it. It almost feels vintage or like an old film reel.


In the middle of this class, the pandemic hit and we were forced to go online, which is difficult for a class as physical as RISO printing. So we pivoted and decided to create this collaborative publication. I assigned weekly readings to students by authors such as James Baldwin to help them cope with the chaos of the situation. Students responded visually using whatever they had accessible to them. So, you know, photo collage and Photoshop or handwriting. These were printed by Risolve, which is a RISO printing studio  in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, not too far from us, about an hour away from Philadelphia. We printed about 100 of these and we sold them online. And the proceeds of this project are helping to fund the current RISO class that’s happening online this semester. They’re helping to pay for mailing and we’re actually going to replicate this publication this semester, and then use those funds for the next time the RISO class happens again.


This is the first project we printed this semester: it’s a quarantine cookbook with recipes that people made while in quarantine. We printed and bound this book with the recipes on the inside. Here are some of the recipes.


Finally, I turned this idea of Making Common into a traveling exhibition. Making Common brings together art and design students, professors and practitioners that share common interest in communicating non-normative experiences and perspectives. Collectively, the show explores the expression of cultural identity, experiences, and underrepresented narratives through photography, printed matter, installation, websites, and videos. These works model an alternative way to use art and design to question and expand our worldview.


These are some shots from the exhibition. The first one took place at MICA where I currently teach. And these are from San Francisco State University. I’m going to share the work, some of the pieces in this exhibition. This piece is by Tatiana Gómez Gaggero.  This pieces called America and she describes it as a small typographic change, a single glyph that switches that “e” from the “e” with the symbol that transforms the whole meaning of the word. The word American in English has a specific connotation. It refers to people from the United States of America. In Spanish, we consider the American continent as a whole, we use the feminine Americano or Americana.  When we use Americano or Americana, we do not make any distinctions between north, center or south.


This piece is part of Paul Soulellis’s Queer Archive Work. It’s a loose assembling of queer methodologies with a particular mew towards urgent craft failure and survival. It is an imperfect signal sent into muddy waters, the start of a speculative practice forming within an emerging from the under commons. It is a communal publishing space for artists and writers who reject normative narratives through techniques like interference and refusal. Queer Dot Archive Dot Work is an attempt to move far beyond the printed web, it’s an experiment in publishing as a practice of resistance.


This piece is called Separados. And it was curated by Shira Inbar. This is a catalog of visual responses to the situation of migrant children being separated from families and detained in concentration camps at the southern US border. All profits from the sale of Separated are donated to support and benefit the detain my grandchildren in the US. There are several copies still available. So I will link to the website for this later if you’re interested.


This piece is a video by photographer Steph Foster, who is also based in Philadelphia.

This video shows the intimate interactions between two black hands. Slowed down, the four second handshake spreads out over two minutes and draws the viewer’s attention to each movement of the hands and fingers intertwining and drawing apart in a nuanced dance.


And the final piece I’ll share in this exhibition is by Daniel Ramos, who is a Mexican American photographer currently based in San Antonio. With his work, he tells the stories of those who rarely get a chance to do so for themselves.


That’s all I have for my presentation. Thank you. I’m going to stop sharing so I can see all of your faces.


Belinda Haikes: Thank you so much, most wonderful you can hear sure they are clapping. It really was great.








00:32:45.750 –> 00:32:49.890

Belinda Haikes: For start with a from Anita, Alan. How important is photography to your work.



00:32:50.790 –> 00:32:57.780

Elaine Lopez: That’s a really great question. It’s super, super important. I currently share my studio actually with a photographer, so



00:32:58.470 –> 00:33:07.530

Elaine Lopez: That’s really important make friends with photographers are be very good at photography and and i think photography is important in a few different aspects.



00:33:08.100 –> 00:33:13.110

Elaine Lopez: But as designers. I think the documentation of your work is critical. And in that sense, I think.



00:33:13.680 –> 00:33:28.350

Elaine Lopez: Either you know investing in a good camera and being able to document your work in really interesting ways makes all the difference. Right. You can have a beautiful project. But if that’s not documented properly then others may not really be intrigued about what your project is



00:33:29.430 –> 00:33:33.240

Elaine Lopez: And then the other. The other way that photography is important in my work is that



00:33:34.200 –> 00:33:42.600

Elaine Lopez: I think as designers, we also have to sort of Curie photography, right, depending on the pieces were working in. So I’m there. That is a process of



00:33:43.410 –> 00:33:54.360

Elaine Lopez: Finding images that pair well with each other that are appropriate to the message you’re trying to convey. So yeah. Thank you for pointing that out. No one’s ever asked me that. But I think it’s actually a really, it’s a really important part of my work.



00:33:55.650 –> 00:33:59.070

Belinda Haikes: And Christina wants to know if she can purchase purchase your friends.



00:34:00.180 –> 00:34:04.110

Elaine Lopez: I’m working on it. Um, thank you. I really appreciate that I



00:34:05.130 –> 00:34:08.760

Elaine Lopez: I need to print some more of them and then they will be for sale soon so keep an eye out.



00:34:09.870 –> 00:34:10.680

Elaine Lopez: Yes, thank you.



00:34:11.790 –> 00:34:24.690

Belinda Haikes: So I want to ask a question, something that kept coming up is your sense of play. Can you talk a little bit elaborate on the sense of playing games and that in within your work. It’s very striking



00:34:25.350 –> 00:34:37.530

Elaine Lopez: Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s really important and and it comes from. So, before going to grad school. I went to grad school, very late. I was like 32 so I I spent about 10 years working in the design industry in Chicago.



00:34:37.950 –> 00:34:50.640

Elaine Lopez: And I went from working in advertising and marketing and then into human centered design, which I think had a huge impact in this idea of facilitation of experiences. Right. So with human centered design.



00:34:52.080 –> 00:34:58.350

Elaine Lopez: You kind of you facilitate workshops or you get people to share experiences and there’s a lot of brainstorming and all of that. So,



00:34:59.280 –> 00:35:05.370

Elaine Lopez: Having learned that and and worked in that medium professionally. I wanted to bring that into my my work.



00:35:05.910 –> 00:35:20.700

Elaine Lopez: in graduate school. And I think in a way it’s a reaction to to how digital design has become right like everything in design is websites and not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I think there’s space to make more physical experiences through design so



00:35:22.260 –> 00:35:27.180

Elaine Lopez: Yeah, I’m always just trying to facilitate and create experiences. It’s kind of in my statement where I say



00:35:27.840 –> 00:35:35.940

Elaine Lopez: Graphic Design experiences which is like a weird way to think about graphic design, but it is it is a really important part of my work and I just



00:35:36.360 –> 00:35:43.950

Elaine Lopez: Yeah, I want to create opportunities for people to be able to engage with each other, interact. Because ultimately, I feel like that’s what we need more of in the world.



00:35:45.390 –> 00:35:48.150

Belinda Haikes: Thank you have some more questions.



00:35:50.190 –> 00:35:51.090

Belinda Haikes: My students



00:35:52.770 –> 00:35:55.860

Belinda Haikes: can type them in the chat or the Q AMP. A. Here we go.



00:35:56.400 –> 00:35:56.670

Belinda Haikes: Here we



00:35:58.530 –> 00:35:58.950

Elaine Lopez: Go.



00:36:00.960 –> 00:36:05.280

Belinda Haikes: You want to read those. And you read, I’ll read them out so everybody can see them because I don’t think their participants can see it.



00:36:05.460 –> 00:36:11.310

Belinda Haikes: Oh, I’m so question number one. How do you incorporate intersection ality into your research.



00:36:13.290 –> 00:36:30.540

Elaine Lopez: Interesting. I would ask more about what what is meant by intersection ality but overall, to me, I’m so like as a as a Latina in the design industry. I’ve always been aware that there aren’t that many of us. And so the intersection of gender and



00:36:31.590 –> 00:36:44.280

Elaine Lopez: Ethnicity has is always something I’ve carried with me. And so when I when I got to study design in graduate school. I really kept that top of mine and started to to think about the ways that we can use design to call attention to



00:36:45.030 –> 00:36:58.710

Elaine Lopez: To these in equities right or to two different different types of experiences. So that’s why I make work about about Cuba, but also in that first piece I shared we see not only is it a conversation on



00:37:00.720 –> 00:37:12.660

Elaine Lopez: On ethnicity, but it’s also a conversation on gender right there were so few images of just women in that newspaper. And so I have several other projects that I think go into better detail about that but i think i think it is really important. Um,



00:37:14.190 –> 00:37:19.950

Elaine Lopez: Conversation in the world in general and as a designer I try to bring that in, in subtle ways whenever possible.



00:37:22.440 –> 00:37:30.420

Belinda Haikes: Okay. So, second question here is, if we are to believe the same winner traits of history. How do you go about finding the stories of historically marginalized people’s



00:37:32.250 –> 00:37:40.470

Elaine Lopez: Yeah, that’s a really great. I’m also a good question. Y’all are great. Um, so I think it depends, right. It depends on



00:37:41.040 –> 00:37:49.530

Elaine Lopez: The projects that I have the opportunity to do so. I think the souvenirs from the futures project was something I was very lucky to work on, because I think that definitely



00:37:49.920 –> 00:37:57.690

Elaine Lopez: hit the nail on the head where we were looking at the perspectives of the future from communities. We don’t normally hear from right and so



00:37:59.160 –> 00:38:08.790

Elaine Lopez: I felt very lucky to be included on that project as a designer, because I got to use my abilities as designer to tell those stories in a way that considered intersection ality and considered



00:38:09.870 –> 00:38:13.650

Elaine Lopez: The, the cultures that were being represented, but I guess.



00:38:15.180 –> 00:38:26.490

Elaine Lopez: About finding them. I actually just try to share my own stories, because these are the experiences I’ve had. I worked as a human centered designer for social impact for a little while and



00:38:28.410 –> 00:38:37.140

Elaine Lopez: It was fun, but it also rubbed me the wrong way sometimes because I felt like we were speaking for communities that we didn’t necessarily belong to and I say this as someone who grew up.



00:38:37.590 –> 00:38:44.850

Elaine Lopez: As a daughter of immigrants. We didn’t have a lot of money, growing up. So I was always really sensitive when I heard people speaking for other communities.



00:38:45.360 –> 00:38:58.680

Elaine Lopez: And so I think that’s challenging and sometimes as designers, you have to know when when it is your place to do a project and when it’s not your place, and perhaps passing that opportunity to others who may have more experience with that or



00:39:00.030 –> 00:39:12.210

Elaine Lopez: If there aren’t designers that can do that, you know, at least being like, really, truly trying to listen and get the input from the communities, you’re trying to work with because it’s it’s really important to not speak for other people.



00:39:13.800 –> 00:39:23.280

Belinda Haikes: Great point. Um, when working to amplify the voices of those who have historically been silenced by oppression, it can be easy to get carried away and



00:39:23.610 –> 00:39:26.130

Belinda Haikes: It’s been people instead. Okay, I



00:39:26.310 –> 00:39:34.770

Belinda Haikes: Have a great platform for them to tell their stories, what steps you take to ensure you’re doing the letter. I think that’s our comes from your last question. That’s, yeah.



00:39:34.800 –> 00:39:37.950

Elaine Lopez: Yeah. Yeah. And I think the science project does another interesting



00:39:40.050 –> 00:39:47.970

Elaine Lopez: Way I tried to do that. Right, so I just sent text messages to friends and admittedly, they’re not they were not necessarily people from marginalized community, but I think



00:39:48.300 –> 00:39:59.820

Elaine Lopez: Asking questions right and then just taking people taking the things people say an amplifying those things as we’re said to other communities, I think is a really powerful thing that we can do as designers



00:40:01.650 –> 00:40:14.880

Belinda Haikes: And so the last question here from Christina is unpacking the biases that have ingrained have ingrained by society is a lifelong journey. What are your personal recommendations for confronting and deconstructing harmful biases.



00:40:15.210 –> 00:40:27.090

Elaine Lopez: Yeah, yeah. That is a really good question and READING READING AND MAKING watching all the documentaries reading all the books I think for me, that was a big



00:40:27.780 –> 00:40:37.350

Elaine Lopez: That was my favorite part about being in school and all of you have this opportunity right now that you can read, write and I, not only did I read the things in classes, but I did my own research.



00:40:39.000 –> 00:40:43.650

Elaine Lopez: Primarily, or I guess initially into my own culture because I felt like that history had been



00:40:44.640 –> 00:40:52.650

Elaine Lopez: Denied from me. And so it wasn’t until my 30s were actually got to learn about my family’s history. I mean, and it’s not like they didn’t talk about stuff. It’s just



00:40:53.310 –> 00:40:59.790

Elaine Lopez: The history you learn at home is not exactly the same as what people have written and and it wasn’t even just studying history, but it was like



00:41:00.120 –> 00:41:12.960

Elaine Lopez: I hadn’t watched Cuban cinema. I hadn’t read books by Cuban authors, I really hadn’t expose myself and I mostly cuz I didn’t even know where to look. Right. And, and I guess we have Google now and it’s sort of easy to search for those things, but



00:41:14.760 –> 00:41:25.710

Elaine Lopez: Once I did immerse myself into that history. I just my eyes were opened. And I think we’re living in a moment right now where there are so many resources right there are so many books and so



00:41:26.250 –> 00:41:40.680

Elaine Lopez: Yeah, like right now I’m reading a book called cast by Isabel Wilkerson. And it’s I think it’s Wilkerson. I don’t know. And it’s like breaking my heart and blowing my mind because it’s exploring cast the term cast, which is normally reserved




00:41:41.850 –> 00:41:49.110

Elaine Lopez: That we hear about it, Indian culture, but she’s actually making the case that it’s exactly what we have here in the US. And it’s really just the such a thoughtful book.



00:41:50.610 –> 00:41:53.190

Elaine Lopez: But I think, reading, reading as much as possible.



00:41:54.540 –> 00:42:09.360

Elaine Lopez: Making making friends actually with people that are unlike yourself right and and i mean that not just race, but also ages places trying to have as many friends and connections all over the world from different walks of life, I think, is



00:42:10.440 –> 00:42:18.510

Elaine Lopez: In my humble opinion, the solution to maybe a lot of the problems we have now. And I think the workshop, we’re going to work on actually touches on that a little bit.



00:42:19.620 –> 00:42:22.500

Belinda Haikes: Great. Are there any other questions.



00:42:24.150 –> 00:42:26.130

Belinda Haikes: Well, thank you so much.



00:42:27.480 –> 00:42:33.420

Elaine Lopez: You’re very welcome. Those are awesome questions. Thank you all for being so thoughtful. Um, yeah.



00:42:34.200 –> 00:42:37.890

Belinda Haikes: Okay. So Jason, do you have any questions, Margaret.



00:42:38.250 –> 00:42:39.060

Belinda Haikes: Before we move on.



00:42:40.980 –> 00:42:42.330

Margaret Pezalla-Granlund: So it’s great. I love seeing



00:42:42.540 –> 00:42:49.080

Jason Alejandro: Images and exhibitions. Yeah, it’s just amazing, amazing work. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Yeah.



00:42:49.110 –> 00:42:55.890

Elaine Lopez: Thank you for having me. I’m always, I’m happy to share. Hopefully we can bring these things in person. Sometime you may



00:42:56.190 –> 00:42:58.470

Elaine Lopez: Exist. A lot of them are right behind me so



00:42:58.650 –> 00:43:00.120

Jason Alejandro: Yeah yeah



00:43:00.510 –> 00:43:00.960




00:43:06.810 –> 00:43:20.910

Belinda Haikes: Um, so my students and Elaine and Jason. I’m going to send everyone a zoom invite, but we had to close down the webinar. In order for that to work properly. So please check your emails in just a couple minutes, and that should start in a few minutes.



00:43:22.620 –> 00:43:23.610

Belinda Haikes: I’ll do that right now.



00:43:25.440 –> 00:43:25.680

Jason Alejandro: Okay.



00:43:27.060 –> 00:43:27.630

Elaine Lopez: Thank you.



00:43:27.660 –> 00:43:28.080

Belinda Haikes: Thank you.