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Generations of Shared Humanity

Generations of Shared Humanity: Design as a Tool of Inclusion is a 164 page, perfect-bound book, which was designed and written in my final semester in the MFA in Graphic Design program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. It is a journey through my two year process of empathy + design + action that was taken to better connect generations together and emphasize our shared humanity. 

During the research phase, I surveyed 100 people to better understand their thoughts on aging and intergenerational connection.

During the research phase, I surveyed 100 people to better understand their thoughts on aging and intergenerational connection.

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The American culture tends to view aging as negative. We’re taught that young is good and old is bad. Getting older means loss. Loss of people, of physical & mental abilities, and ultimately, of life.

The American culture tends to view aging as negative. We’re taught that young is good and old is bad. Getting older means loss. Loss of people, of physical & mental abilities, and ultimately, of life.

We watch and absorb the negative because it's what is most visible to us. All too often, we let our internalizations develop into stereotypes and judgments.

We watch and absorb the negative because it's what is most visible to us. All too often, we let our internalizations develop into stereotypes and judgments.

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I stepped into the lives of older adults in different settings. I observed, interviewed, volunteered, and listened to their perspectives. I realized what society tells us about aging is wrong.

I stepped into the lives of older adults in different settings. I observed, interviewed, volunteered, and listened to their perspectives. I realized what society tells us about aging is wrong.

How can we break down these generalizations and help generations connect better together? Can visual design create an experience that bridges the generational gap?

How can we break down these generalizations and help generations connect better together? Can visual design create an experience that bridges the generational gap?

 

After user research, testing, and numerous iterations, I created a kit called With Me that helps people be present with each other in one space, to celebrate and realize our shared humanity, and to interact with people in a way that gets lost in our busy lives. The full project can be found here.

In February 2014, it was awarded a grant from The Pollination Project, and featured in The Huffington Post. The grant funded the production of 100 With Me kits that were donated to senior centers and assisted living homes. With Me was also featured in the top 20 ideas for OpenIdeo and Mayo Clinic’s Aging Challenge