NSCAD students celebrate women through design
April 15, 2014

Third-year interdisciplinary design students Wesley Norris, Amanda Lenko, Brina Frenette and Conor McLaughlin are congratulated by Joanne Bernard, Minister of Community Services, and Dr. Dan O'Brien, President of NSCAD University.

NSCAD students have put their skills to work and gained a greater understanding of women's issues through a partnership with the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

After four-months of research and reflection by NSCAD University design students, their posters on women's issues were unveiled at a reception today, April 15.

Students created awareness posters on four areas:

-- women in leadership
-- women's economic security
-- freedom from violence for women and girls

-- women's health and wellness.

The students researched the topics, interviewed practitioners and experts, then created visual presentation  posters.

"This project provided an excellent opportunity for students to learn more about Nova Scotia women, their accomplishments and equality challenges," said Joanne Bernard, Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

"The level of understanding of the importance of women's issues and accomplishments was evident in all of the art pieces, and I commend all of the students on their participation and work. I would also like to thank NSCAD for fostering learning about Nova Scotia women in this way and for demonstrating leadership to highlight important women's issues."

Before running for office, Joanne Bernard, the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, served as the executive director of Alice Housing.

The posters will be available at no cost through the Status of Women's website.

The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women provided grant funding and mentoring to NSCAD to support the initiative. Four students received $200 honorariums for the top posters in each subject area; they are: Conor McLaughlin for the poster, "Support Gender Equality"; Amanda Lenko for "True love shouldn't hurt"; Wesley Norris for "Everybody is Different Every Body is Different"; and Brina Frenette for "Equal Pay for Equal Work." The project was also supported by various community organizations, such as Techsploration and Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services (ISIS).

“These are really difficult issues and they generated a lot of discussion and opened a lot of eyes in the class,” says May Chung, associate professor in NSCAD’s Design Division. “This was much tougher than designing a logo for a company, for example; it enables a designer to realize that what they do can be read in so many different ways depending on the metaphors they use to construct concepts.”

Students Jocelyn Spence and Josh Udall, who both created posters about violence against women, said they felt overwhelmed and exhausted at times by the immensity of the problem, but energized by researching and expressing such complex ideas visually.

"The class was definitely an emotional roller coaster; these are serious subjects and they affect real people," said Mr. Udall, from Toronto. "Our classmates helped a lot to further our ideas, so that our work was so much better in the end."

"Ultimately (the class) proved we have a voice on issues and that's really empowering and awesome," said Ms. Spence, from Dartmouth.