Sticks + Stones 2006: A Collaborative Exchange Exploring Labeling and Stereotyping
Sticks + Stones: A Collaborative Exchange Exploring Labeling and Stereotyping was a multi-university collaboration that prompts students to explore interpersonal and intercultural issues with others diverse in ethnicity, religious practice, heritage, gender, and sexual orientation.
This iteration of Sticks + Stones invited 40 students from four U.S. universities to participate. The curriculum focused on the stereotypes of the “four corners” of the United States and how graphic design propagates those ideas. Students were challenged to make work regarding how graphic design dispel to those and other stereotypes.
They completed a series of design projects, participated in a three-day symposium in Los Angeles, and then produced design responses. I co-curated these works for an exhibition at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The works then traveled to a Weber State University gallery.
Pamela Beverly, Students from Northeastern University, San Francisco State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Weber State University
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; Northeastern University, San Francisco State University, Weber State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Students from four universities representing the four corners of the United States — Northeastern University, San Francisco State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Weber State University — participated in the 2006 project.
Sticks + Stones emphasizes that designers occupy positions of power in our global culture, that this power must be used responsibly, and that designers should assume proactive roles in support of community and society.
One assignment asked students to create abstract self-portraits, which were then exchanged with participating students and then anonymously labeled and stereotyped. Students then gathered in Los Angeles to discuss the terms they gave to others and those they received.
Both the portraits and their accompanying labels are displayed in the exhibit.
The Sticks + Stones project has had three iterations: in 2005 with two U.S.-based universities; in 2006 with four U.S.-based universities and in 2010 with six universities from China, Germany, Turkey and the United States.