Whether we think of issues of governance, religion, race, the environment, economic development, education, or healthcare—the inability to communicate, cooperate or compromise weakens our ability to address common challenges.

“Designing for the Divide,” a conference on community action across lines of difference, will be held at the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center, March 23-24.

To register for the conference, see the website at http://designingforthedivide.org.

“This will be a meeting that includes designers from across the United States, regular citizens from the local communities and the region, and various disciplines at WVU, to brainstorm ways to bring polarized groups together to accomplish goals in a climate of impasse,” said Graphic Design Professor Eve Faulkes, one of the co-chairs of the event.

“Design is a multi-disciplined process today and designers are hired by either side of an issue to tell a story or help organize the process of working on problems. In this case we are using the design process to help author change to be co-designed with our community.”

Keynote speakers for the conference include:

Andréa Pellegrino, director of social innovation and strategic partnerships at World Studio. Her areas of expertise are in developing strategies, partnerships, programming and integrated communications that benefit society and allow clients to engage key audiences in lasting and meaningful ways. She will be presenting successful projects as ideas to be built upon.

Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H, which uses design to empower people and believes in design as an honest process of building and activism for community benefit. She will offer more models that have worked and things learned in the process.

Bob Stains, who has been active in Public Conversations Project’s work of creating constructive conversations among opponents on issues of sexual orientation, religion, abortion, gender, social class and race.

Yossi Lemel, a partner in the Lemel-Cohen Creative Advertising Agency in Tel Aviv, Israel. He is an internationally recognized poster designer with a long-standing and fearless commitment to humanitarian issues, especially with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“Other WVU faculty will present projects that are underway to advance transparencies, and environmental monitoring and communication as we move forward addressing needs and making best use of our resources,” Faulkes said.

An international poster show will be held at the Monongalia Arts Center in downtown Morgantown, in conjunction with the conference.

In addition, as part of an initiative called “Design Ignites Change,” WVU design students will be mentoring high school art students in the Morgantown area who are designing billboards on the theme of tolerance. The billboards will be on view in the communities of the winning students.

The “Designing for the Divide” conference is hosted by the WVU School of Art and Design, in partnership with the Myers Foundations, the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, American Institute of Graphic Arts in Pittsburgh, and the University and College Design Association, the national professional body for graphic design, as well as environmental groups and community businesses.

For more information, see the website or contact Eve Faulkes, at efaulkes@mail.wvu.edu; Joe Galbreath at Joe.Galbreath@mail.wvu.edu; or Chris Barr at Chris.Barr@mail.wvu.edu.

-WVU-

cl/3/1/12

CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4359, Charlene.Lattea@mail.wvu.edu

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