27 Apr Woman in Design: Carol Bradbury
Why are women designers important contributors to the discourse on global change?
I think women in general are more relational than hierarchical and more interested in affecting global change than gathering their own power.
I’ve found women are more willing to listen deeply to others to identify and respond to important issues that have traditionally been dominated by a male narrative. We need women designers contributing to discourse on global change that have the courage to speak to the truth of what many men would prefer to remain hidden.
As women designers, we have a powerful set of tools that can amplify disenfranchised voices and call forth the best of who we are; tools that speak to a greater whole, a unity that moves us beyond our self-imposed boundaries and calls us to become better human beings that will create a better world.
When I question whether what I’m doing as a designer and artist matters, I remember what Sister Teresa wrote, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” Courage, humility and persistence.
Women are working in teams, in communities and with governments to find ways to collaborate and have an impact. What was the last project you worked on to improve your community?
Last spring I had the privilege of working with a group of Rotarians, a local poet and high school students on a project called, Voices of Freedom. The students, from diverse backgrounds, read their reflections on freedom at a local festival. That same day we debuted a graphic installation I designed that translated their poetry into a collective portrait of our youth as citizens. The work spanned a 30’x14’ set of windows and was installed across the street from the courtroom where the historic case of Brown vs Board of Education (separate is not equal) played out.
The day of the festival, proud parents and students stood before the windows for photos, pointing to their names and their words. The work is a powerful insight into what our young citizens are thinking about.
We thought we’d be able to leave the installation up for a month, but nearly a year later, the installation is still intact, sending out ripples.
Name a woman designer other than yourself, living or deceased, that you think made an impact on the world.
I think Paula Scher has been a strong model for women designers. She uses buildings as her canvas and changes the way we look at data, map-making and boundaries. Her approach blurs the line between designer and fine artist, combining the problem-solving aim of the designer with the vision of an artist. She challenges us to see and interpret the commonplace in new ways which impacts our world.
I use the scribbles, doodles and words of commonplace people to design installations that help communities take ownership of their environments and raise community pride.
– Carol Bradbury, Bloomerang Studios
Images © Carol Bradbury. Used with permission.