Diversity in Design history became a lecture series when I approached this concept to more than 20 lecturers looking for their special interest and would bring the design from their niche and background.
Award-winning typographer, type designer/speaker, educator, and sign collector, Zenab Bastawala joined MECA&D in Fall 2021 as an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design. In the Spring of 2022, Bastawala—who takes a multi-script and multi-lingual approach while teaching typography and design—was thrilled by the possibilities of teaching Design History and Issues because of the opportunity to integrate diversity in design in the conversation with students.
“My curiosity started with questions like, ‘What is diversity?’ ‘How does it stand for me as a coloured person?’ and “How can it be included in design studio teaching?’” explains Bastawala in a LinkedIn post about the project. “Diversity in Design history became a lecture series when I approached this concept to more than 20 lecturers looking for their special interest and would bring the design from their niche and background.”
The resulting talks will stitch together voices from a myriad of cultural backgrounds to reflect design history from many different social, cultural, economic, political, technical, and aesthetic contexts. The aim is to spark conversations about design history from “the lens of architecture, fashion, crafts, interiors, textiles, graphic design, industrial design, and product design conventions regardless of its language, script, and color.”
This is also an opportunity to help graphic design students explore the impact of globalization on design history, challenging the limitations of western theories typically addressed.
“I am thankful to Maine College of Art & Design for supporting my thoughts and bringing this diversity to a platform and grateful to all the professors who are part of the lecture series,” says Bastawala. “Their support is priceless.”
Bastawala also thanks Jawaher A., Ravi Paritosh, Ralitsa Diana Debrah, J.R. (Wayne) Osborn, Shani Avni, Roshanak Keyghobadi, Richard B. Doubleday, Lisa Maione, Shelley Gruendler, Vigen Galstyan, and Matthias Pauwels for their participation in bringing the program to life.