Inspiring Ethical Graphic Designers Across the Globe

RCC student Sunday Oluwasomi shown collaborating online with students, including Ayoduwadum Abe, who comes from the same Nigerian village as he does.

When RCC (Rockland Community College) student Sunday Oluwasomi met someone from his hometown during an online collaborative Graphic Design class, we were all excited. The distance between Suffern, NY and Pretoria, South Africa suddenly become infinitely smaller. It was truly a moment that shows how we are all connected.

The ongoing classroom collaboration that I’ve had the pleasure of participating in with Herman Botes from TUT (Tshwane University of Technology) Pretoria, South Africa is focused on inspiring and teaching future designers to work ethically in our industry and primarily focuses on issues of Graphic Design Advocacy. Herman and I met in 2013 when I was invited to TUT to lecture on topics from my book, Ethics: A Graphic Designer’s Field Guide. As a result of our meeting, we’ve been building bridges between our two cultures through student projects with the support of COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) ever since.

Recent events include Liz Resnick’s Graphic Design Advocacy exhibit at TUT, our COIL presentation in Chicago, and a podcast for CAA (College Art Association) about ethics in graphic design last month. Upcoming events include the release Educating Citizen Designers in South Africa, co-authored by Herman Botes.

As our ongoing collaboration continues to grow, so does our belief in how important it is for both students and educators, as well as our gratitude for the opportunity.

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