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DSI / Social Design
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Fall 2020 Fast Track Update

Our Fast Track students have ended the course strong with their end-of-semester presentations! Over the last few months, the four projects run by Kehan Zhang, Nishita Chheda, Esther Yip, Bridget Qian and Shuyu Fang have seen substantial growth. 

Kehan Zhang’s COVID-19 data visualization project has demonstrated a vast amount of research on the current pandemic in various countries, how reporting on numbers has varied, and how this may compare to pandemics of the past and present. By cross-referencing her data and organizing it graphically, Kehan honed her focus on making the data relatable and capable of eliciting an emotional response in people viewing the data, ultimately deciding that storytelling is the key to making the data palatable. For her next steps on this project, she plans to research & eventually visualize the impact of SARS and H1N1 on healthcare systems in comparison to COVID-19.

Nishita Chheda’s project–100 Tasks– is a collaboration between Nishita and the StoryofMakers in Mumbai, India. The project focused on enhancing experiential learning for children in the Indian Education System. The process begins with a concrete experience of doing or making, followed by a reflection period. To facilitate this process, they created a deck of 40 activity cards. After facilitating some prototypes with a learning collective and some parents in Mumbai, the project evolved based on the learnings that, while children are naturally reflective, they need to be given time and means of expression to nurture the process. In addition to this insight, they discovered the importance of centering the needs of facilitators just as much as the children’s needs to foster a successful dynamic. Ultimately, their learnings resulted in the refinement of the card design and the creation of “a guide for a guide”, which outlines different approaches based on the students’ and guide’s needs, creating an informed system. Next, Nishita and her collaborators will be finalizing their guides and creating a packaging and distribution model.

Esther Yip’s long-term project “Go Together” has evolved into a website called “Togetherland”: a space where family members of loved ones struggling with addiction can go to better understand the road to recovery, and begin to cope with the loneliness and uncertainty that often comes with it. The multi-media site is split into different sections focused on interactive storytelling, mindful reflections, and communication techniques, all with the intent of having site-goers internalize their learnings. Though this project was initially intended to educate, Esther’s main takeaway was that Go Together functions best as a self-resilience tool, not a learning tool. Therefore, the overall site will be less theory-based, and focus more on facilitating self-discovery and reflection tactics.

Bridget Qian and Shuyu Fang’s initial goal to reimagine the accessibility of the art community has evolved into Artipack: a card deck containing a series prompts to help develop deeper understanding of artwork for viewers to experience at home through concept exploration, art making, and deep learning. This project was guided by the belief that when it comes to art, “it is not vision that evokes emotion and connection, but imagination and thinking”, which led them toward a multi-sensory model. Now that they have had the chance to prototype and receive feedback from a sample audience, their next steps are streamlining the product design in a way that can effectively engage a wide array of art genres. 

We are proud of this group for their creativity and innovation this semester, and as always are looking forward to the next series of projects in Spring 2021!

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