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The Class of 2021 developed ground-breaking projects that challenge and address social and systemic problems out in the world.

Learn about their ideas to: elevate the voices of BIPOC museum staff; foster healthy coexistence between urban wildlife and humans in NYC; create diverse and authentic narratives about people with disabilities in Indian film; strengthen resilience for communities affected by the closure of East River Park; create more inclusive environments for students on the Autism spectrum in China to help them build better futures; facilitate local solutions and tools to co-create community restaurant resilience on Avenue B in the East Village; create a community for Chinese young women to cope with appearance anxiety and body shaming; enrich senior Chinese immigrants’ lives in NYC by building a community to reduce social isolation caused by the pandemic; build reformative mission principles by considering cultural diversity and reduce harm to their engaged population; support the healing process for sexual violence survivors and their loved ones; facilitate conversations on sexual and reproductive health among Chinese immigrant women; celebrate artists with justice involvement by elevating their work and experiences; create channels for the communities and families of children with Down Syndrome to feel supported in Saudi Arabia; help care organisations provide relational care in Singapore’s low-income rental neighbourhoods; facilitate co-creation of tools that help with changes and transitions for Young Adults with Type 1 Diabetes in India; educate, persuade and facilitate conversations about nutrition security to prevent childhood obesity with the New York Common Pantry in the Bronx; use online education to create new online and offline classroom models to improve education quality in rural areas; and empower and support social entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia to grow, thrive, create impact.

We believe you will find the event entertaining and inspirational.

The MFA DSI Thesis Showcase 2021 was held on May 6, 2021.

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Thesis Projects

Images of different birds over a green and white background

__Around: Connecting with Urban Wildlife

“___ Around” is a project that calls for heightened awareness of urban wildlife in NYC, aiming to create a relationship and foster healthy coexistence between wildlife and humans.

Art Portal written next to a graphic of hands holding a small plant

Art Portal

“Art Portal is an art-centered online platform by and for people with justice involvement that seeks to (a) elevate their voices and artwork, (b) raise awareness about the important role of art and community in the reentry and criminal legal fields, and (c) help change the narrative about people with justice involvement. In the process of building Art Portal itself, participants develop capabilities that can support them in building stable lives in the long term and thrive.”

Autism in the Future

Autism in the Future

“Autism in the Future” aims to build a more inclusive environment for students on the Autism spectrum in China to help them build a better future by changing the perceptions and raising the awareness of autism in society.

Bersama-sama: Healthy To(gather)

“Bersama-sama: Healthy To(gather)” is a collaborative field guide to grow relational care in Singapore’s low-income rental neighborhoods, through community-centered gatherings around health and nutrition. Using meaningful dialogue and creative facilitation, we nurture equitable relationships with communities━ unveiling and appreciating personal stories, natural networks and collective wisdom.

Community Conservation

Community Conservation: Creating Connection Through Closure

Green spaces are important for thriving communities. This is particularly true in New York City, and evermore necessary in a time of COVID-19. By closing East River Park, a 57.5 acre waterfront park along the East River in Lower Manhattan for climate resiliency, the individuals and communities who rely on the park are losing an invaluable resource that is essential to their health and wellbeing. By connecting these communities through a park celebration event and creating a shared alternative green space map, park users will generate long term shared support for one another and strengthen community resiliency.

From Harm to Harmony

From Harm to Harmony: Designing Reformative Principles for Missionary Work

“From Harm to Harmony” aims to build reformative mission principles by considering cultural diversity and reduce harm to their engaged population.

An image of a woman with a collage various items surrounding her

Hey Lady

“Hey Lady” is a project to help facilitate conversations on sexual and reproductive health among Chinese immigrant women.

A unicorn next to text reading

Hundred on 100

“Hundred on 100” reimagines community support for young adults with Type 1 Diabetes in India. It is a set of tools curated by the community, for the community along with a framework to provide smoother transitions and changes to their lives.


“Kind”, is a platform that celebrates the art of people with Down Syndrome, fosters their talents, spreads hope and positivity among families, and shows the local Saudi community how awesome and creative people with Down Syndrome can be.

More Than One

More Than One

“More Than One” is creating an environment where Chinese young women can support each other and build a community to cope with body shaming.

Museum Unmuted

Museum Unmuted

“Museum Unmuted” aims to amplify museum BIPOC staff’s voices by connecting them with designers/artists to help them create visual stories. The goal by doing so is to stimulate conversation and an understanding of BIPOC staff’s experiences among the public.

A drawing of an older man over a bright yellow circle

Nihao (Hello), Friends

“Nihao(Hello), Friends” aims to enrich senior Chinese immigrants’ lives in New York City by building a community to reduce social isolation caused by the pandemic.

Rooted Restaurants

Rooted Restaurants

“Rooted Restaurants” is reimagining restaurant resilience. The project focuses on local solutions and tools to co-create community restaurant resilience. The goal is to increase communications between restaurants on Avenue B in the East Village and their respective communities.

Images of a computer, a few small houses, and a teacher with students

Rural & Online Education

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, online education has been greatly developed. Teachers have made a lot of interesting attempts on online education and have achieved remarkable teaching results. As a form of education that can transcend time and space constraints, online education can not only help some areas in China that lack high-quality educational resources to get out of trouble, but also reduce the stubborn problem of excellent teachers’ volunteer teaching in rural areas.

Side by Side

Side by Side

“Side By Side” is a system of tools and resources that supports the healing process for survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones. The goal of the project is to reimagine long-term support for people who have experienced sexual violence by strengthening interpersonal support.

The Crossover

The Crossover

“The Crossover” is an educational curriculum co-created with people with disabilities that addresses the misrepresentation of disability in Indian films. It equips filmmaking students with tools to check their biases, recognize ableism and understand how inauthentic narratives impact the disability community. By amplifying the voices of the disability community and making young filmmakers aware and responsible, the project aims to eventually shift the damaging perceptions that films have created.

A drawing of people sharing a meal around a table from a bird's eye perspective

The Missing Ingredient

“The Missing Ingredient” is a community space to support the work of New York Common Pantry. It aims to educate, persuade and facilitate conversations which are moderated by nutrition educators about local, seasonal and traditional foods with parents/caregivers to bring nutrition security for them and their families in order to prevent childhood obesity in the Bronx.

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