About the Information Design Capstone

Envision.id is the Systems Thinking and Changemaking capstone project developed by senior Information Design students. Previously known as Humanly, our Info Design capstone project is all about making complex issues more visible and visual; helping people form a clear idea of the interconnected systems that impact their lives. 

Our Goal

Our projects feature a systems-level understanding of specific issues that we’re contending with locally, within the framework of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Over the course of the Fall semester, we each take on the local manifestation of a messy, ambiguous, complex challenge–also known as a wicked problem–and unravel it, visualizing how elements of systems connect to and influence each other to perpetuate the challenge.

 

We want to illuminate the important stories within these systems, finding clarity in complexity, and making ‘impossible’ challenges feel a little more approachable.

 

Our hope is that these projects prompt you to think about the systems that you’re a part of as well as the role you might play within each of these challenges. 

Message from the Instructor

What do you care about?

 

This was our starting point; a question I posed to students on the very first day of class.

 

An emotional connection to their chosen wicked challenges and a sincere respect for complexity would be needed to keep pursuing clarity and humanity within their systems-scale problems over the course of this extensive project. Care was a requirement, beyond what any assignment description or learning objective could articulate. 

 

And from this group of students, I’ve seen so much care (thoughtfulness, sensitivity, passion) demonstrated in each component of this semester-long endeavour:

    • from the listening (research) phase, where students spent time volunteering with on-the-ground organizations, doing auto-ethnographic journaling and artwork, or engaging people in participatory design activities;
    • to the sense-making (synthesis) phase, where students crafted several iterations of system map diagrams, often weaving through things like anecdotes and quotes collected in their research to avoid ‘detachment’ from the topic and to reveal the stories behind the systems;
    • to the sharing (exhibition) phase, where students created engaging, interactive, thought-provoking and at times, immersive exhibits that seek to invite others into the conversation and allow them to see what matters most within a complex issue. 

Care has been the common thread throughout.

 

In a world filled with so many great challenges to attend to and persistent demands on our time and attention, it can be difficult to know what to focus on and what to care about. These projects can help. And these amazing information design students can help!

 

-Kelsey McColgan

Kelsey McColgan

A Warm Thank You

We would like to express our deep gratitude to the following individuals for their generous support this semester.

The MRU Faculty and Staff who lent their expertise to our projects as Subject Matter Experts to advance our understanding of our research topics:

 

Dr. Naureen Mumtaz, Assistant Professor – Information Design;

Dr. Jim Fischer, Associate Professor – Finance;

Dr. Michael Ata, Assistant Professor – Economics;

Dr. Joy Chadwick, Associate Professor – Education;

Brian Jackson, Associate Professor / Librarian;

Dr. Dennis Valdez, Associate Professor – Athletic Therapy;

Dr. Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire, Assistant Professor – Anthropology;

Cassandra Riabko, Instructor – Journalism;

Dr. Richard Sutherland, Associate Professor – Policy Studies;

Prabhjit Grewal, SAMRU VP External

Sydnie Bourassa, SAMRU Support Services Coordinator

 

…as well as various other academic, business, non-profit and community leaders around Alberta.

 

Alumni Meagan McIntosh (2023) and Asfa Riyaz (2021) for supporting the development of our synthesis diagrams through instruction, mentorship and critique.

 

Social Innovation & Marketing Instructor (& architect, & artist), Patrick Moskwa for sharing his knowledge, experience, ideas and feedback on exhibition design and ‘world-building’.

 

We couldn’t have done this without your invaluable contributions. Thank you!

Additional questions?

If you have more questions about the exhibition, or are interested in students’ work, click the button below.