Student Work

  • Transdisciplinary Design (MFA)

    Winnie Chang and Ker Thao

    Translocal Tomorrows: Juxtaposing Continuities, Identities and Belonging to Empower and Mobilize Hmong Youth in America

    Translocal Tomorrows is a design-led research project that aims to create coalition-building tools, enabling community youth leaders to co-develop action agendas with their communities. Using the Hmong diaspora across North America as a case study, this initiative explores how design can facilitate translocal narrative building as a pathway to mobilization. As an ethnic group without a nation-state or motherland, the Hmong face shared challenges including identity issues, states of perpetual limbo, and constant encounters with racial tension and friction in today's hostile sociopolitical climate. There is a need for bottom-up initiatives and collaborative advocacy efforts to ensure that these communities are represented on multiple scales of governance and policy. Translocal Tomorrows proposes a code of conduct for design researchers that aims to redistribute power and promote more socially just practices when working with potentially vulnerable communities. Our strategy for intervention is a three-part initiative that includes (1) externalizing the Hmong narrative through multimedia work; (2) creating open-source collective visioning tools to allow social dreaming, aspirations, and frictions to come to the surface; and (3) a digital platform which archives not only the past, but possible futures and action plans across borders in Hmong diaspora communities.