“Positioning Communication Design” in the ICOGRADA Design Education Manifesto Update pp. 116–120.

“The Wixárika Calendar” (with Cassie McDaniel and Avery Smith) on the American Institute of Graphic Arts website

“Experiential Fieldwork Enriches the Design Practice” (PDF), Maria Rogal. presented at ICOGRADA 2007 Conference in Havana
I have sought out ways to provide US students opportunities to enrich their design and research practice by working in Mexico and to enhance their design practice through ethnographic research practices. Over the past four years, our work in Mexico has expanded students’ understanding of the lived realities of life in Mexico, contemporary design practice, benefits and challenges of working cross culturally, and the complexities of cultural identity and representation. Our projects focused on collaborations with indigenous people and subsequently join socially, culturally, and economically different communities towards a common goal – to better the lives and knowledge exchange of all participants.

“Design for Development: Participatory Design and Contextual Research with Indigenous Maya Communities” at Glide ’10
Presented at Glide 10, available on YouTube
Design for development (d4d) is an initiative where, I, along with my graphic design students, work together with people from marginalized indigenous communities— in the southern Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Yucatán—and other disciplinary experts to develop solutions to problems we mutually identify and research in context. A major part of this research process is to learn about the lives of our project partners, all marginalized Maya who are highly skilled but have historically lacked access to capital required to bring their projects to market. Learning about disciplines also involves learning about cultures and contexts, which we begin at the partner site in Mexico as part of a participatory and responsible research practice. Of significant focus is the fieldwork component that empowers all participants to connect, exchange, collaborate, innovate, and create. It is a learning opportunity for all project participants working to create a more equitable world.

“Design for Development.” Presented at the Impacto Social de Diseño at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.
Using examples and lessons learned from projects, I discuss some of the inclusive, socially responsible, and sustainable philosophies, strategies, and tactics we use – focusing on field research, ethnographic methods, sustainability, and responsible cultural representations to demonstrate how design can be used to foster development.

“Radicals with a voice/Radicales con una voz” in Zed.
Explores design education in Latin America

“101 Ways to Get Lucky” in Zed.
Roland Barthes, in The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies, tells the tale of Maupassant, who often lunched at the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower because it was the only place in Paris where he did not have to see it. Barthes speaks of the visibility of the tower, as a monumental object and a universal symbol. Instant lottery tickets are similarly both visible and symbolic, and like all artifacts, provide information about the larger social, economic, and political histories of which they are part.1 Yet familiarity with these codes often discourages a closer reading of the tickets as cultural and political objects, rendering them virtually invisible. And it is this invisibility that gives them power.

“South of the Border, Down Mexico Way” in Visible Language
Explores the visual culture of Mexicanidad in the US.

México: My, Your, Our Fantasy. The Problem of Flatness in Intercultural Representations of Mexicanidad” in Intercultural Communication Studies

The Medium and the Message in the Public Space as Vehicle for Social Change. MFA Creative Project, Virginia Commonwealth University (1995)
The intent of my creative project is to explore the relationship between the message and the medium in the public space and how they can be synthesized and employed to inspire longstanding attitudinal change and promote civic action. This creative project considers the potential of a non-linear narrative format to assign meaning to complex information. Formal considerations are explored through the synthesis of text and image in conjunction with selected vehicles for communication appropriate to the public arena.

“The Computer-Integrated Design Studio as Social Space”
In this paper, I investigate how this can serve as a model at other institutions.The studio is an active, highly collaborative space. Introducing comments from students, alums, and faculty, I will discuss general concerns (financial issues,over-dependency on technology, critical thinking, etc.).While we do not make claims of perfection, our faculty and students feel strongly that this is an excellent approach to teaching design.

Fulbright-Hays Pedagogy Project (2003)