Student Work, Engaging with Learners

In our Visual Communication Design program at the University of Alberta, we involve our students in interdisciplinary, collaborative projects for clients and community partners. Students tell us that these types of innovative, explorative and sometimes experimental projects are educational, meaningful, engaging and prepare them for professional practice, graduate study and life-long learning.

InSight 2: Engaging the Health Humanities extends the InSight: Visualizing the Health Humanities project to engage learners in a number of ways. In preparation for the InSight exhibition last year, design students worked together to visually represent the interdisciplinary connections in the emerging field of health humanities. This year, during a participatory workshop, learners in health sciences and medicine were invited to collaborate with senior design students to imagine scenarios for working with communities (of all sorts) while engaging the health humanities to enhance individual and societal responsiveness to the human aspects of medicine and healthcare.

Participants responded to the visual concepts design students developed for branding the InSight 2 project. A final concept was chosen from several strong designs created, combining the ideas of Kayla Callfas and Katya Worbets. The design utilizes a multi-voice logotype, quadrants with images that challenge boundaries and a circle signifying a spotlight or magnifying glass to focus on and frame different connections across disciplines and communities.

"[It was] very interesting to be able to interact with, collaborate with, design students. I'd be very interested to be able to work with 'arts'/ design people in the future to help create more positive and 'human' environments for patients and healthcare workers." –Medical resident

Allied with these InSight 2 activities, design student Kim vanderHelm undertook the design research project, "Design Interventions and Activations: Communicating Visual Messages to Provoke Public Action About Elder Care Issues."

Design student Katrina Whiteman created a written and visual personal response about health and well-being.

If Your Heart Knocks, It Beats Hard

Katrina Whiteman

If Your Heart Knocks, It Beats HardAs an artist and as a person, I approach the idea of health with an open curiosity and a desire to obtain a better understanding. Through some of my previous and current work, I have explored the body as it exists, observing skin and muscle and looking to anatomical references to study the skeleton and the organs that lie beneath. I do not shy away from realities concerning the body, or questioning these realities in my work. In this particular piece, I feel the approach was honest. The heart is not overly simplified, and the ties to reality through colour and form are strong. On one level, the colour red speaks to health, passion, and vitality. On a more elemental level, it speaks of blood. I do not find this troubling, however, as I know that blood is red as a result of oxidized iron being contained within the hemoglobin. If my blood is red then I know it is efficiently carrying oxygen. I know I am healthy. Through open curiosity, honest observation, and artistic exploration, I am continually obtaining a better understanding of how the body works. It is through this continued exploration and pursuit of knowledge that I am ultimately better able to care for myself, my family, and those around me.

DES 593 InSight 2 Identity Project

Instructor: Bonnie Sadler Takach

Kayla Callfas
Cindy Chen
Herri Choi
Jenna Clarahan
Janet Ferguson-Roberts
Andrea Hartoyo
Kiersten Marchand
Sarah Oberik-Olivieri
Justin Pritchard
Katya Worbets