Exhibit Showcases Creative Connections Through Storytelling

The latest exhibit in the DI HUB might make you a bit emotional.

The Stories Connecting Generations exhibit features 23 projects from the namesake class that pairs sociology and visual communication design students with an older adult partner, usually a resident of an area senior center, who they build a relationship with throughout the semester. At the end, they are tasked with transforming the life experiences of their partner into a visual design.

“We talked early on that it's almost impossible to represent a person's entire life,” said Jessica Barness, professor in the School of Visual Communication Design (VCD). “And so, everybody was encouraged to focus on either a single story, or a single point in time or just an idea that resonated with them through the stories.”

That led students to create a wide range of projects across all disciplines of design that are unique to their partners.

Student interacting with older adult in exhibit

Devna Bliss-Hosack, a senior VCD major, learned her partner had a recurring dream throughout her life of running through an imposing landscape. The dream was important to her partner, so she decided to use virtual reality software and make it a tangible reality. 

“My biggest takeaway is I’m taking her story and turning it into reality,” she said.

In a way, the projects are living memorials to their partners, documenting their youth, careers, family, worries and accomplishments throughout their lives. And that is why Manacy Pai, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology who co-teaches the course, said there wasn’t a dry eye in the room when the previous class unveiled their exhibit. She expects this one to be no different.

Adult viewing exhibit materials.

“Human beings have a lot of rich experiences that they could share; all of these older adults, they’re very resilient,” she said. “This project shines a light on these experiences.”

The Stories Connecting Generations exhibit is on display in the DI Gallery and MuseLab through Friday, May 19, 2023.

POSTED: Monday, May 15, 2023 09:57 AM
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2023 12:00 PM
Alton Northup