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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Guest Designer Spring Public Lectures!

March 26, 2018

We are happy to announce our guest lecturers for our upcoming Spring Residency: Sadie Redwing and Una Lee!


“Fuck the Stereotype: Revitalizing Indigenous Perspective in Design”
Sadie Red Wing
April 12th 6:00 pm -7:30 pm
Noble Lounge
VCFA Guest Designer Public Lecture
60 min plus Q+A Streaming

Summary: Describing the perspective of Indigenous ideology in visual communication is very challenging—especially to an audience who does not understand the harm of cultural appropriation. Indigenous sensitivity to appropriation is not taken into consideration when designing for representational material or identifying a traditional presence in the common world. Native Americans rely on stereotypes to distinguish themselves from other cultures. The struggle to display an accurate tribal identity derives from oppression and historical trauma through western education. American Indian boarding schools erased the traditional image of a Native American that left tribal students uncertain of who they were as people.

As Indigenous peoples progress from the American Indian Boarding School era, the urge to distinct tribes from Pan-Indianism forces a greater responsibility from indigenous designers to visually communicate sovereignty. The role of an indigenous visual communicator requires the practice of visual sovereignty or decolonizing the stereotypical representation into a traditional image for cultural education. Indigenous visual communicators have the power to give Native Americans a respected-face in the world by revealing tribal visual languages in visual communication. The rising movement of visual sovereignty in indigenous visual communication has revolutionized a new fight against stereotypes and continues to revitalize an honorable image away from the subordinate portrayal of indigenous peoples.

About Sadie Redwing:

Sadie Red Wing is the MGD Assistant Director of Native Student Programs and Professor, as well as Indigenous Design Advocate at University of Redlands, CA.


“We have always been innovating: Memory, future-making and community-led design”
Una Lee
Tuesday, April 10th 6:00 pm -7:00 pm
Noble Lounge, VCFA Campus
VCFA Guest Designer Public Lecture
40 min plus Q+A streaming

Summary: Design innovation by marginalized communities is nothing new—it has been a necessary practice in the face of violence, limited resources, and other threats to our existence. We have always been—and always will be — imagining and creating better futures. Yet recent interest in the practice of “design for good” threatens to subsume grassroots future-making in favor of external solutions posed by well-intentioned and well-resourced design professionals. Through the lens of her personal history, designer, facilitator and community organizer Una Lee will present an alternative vision of what design can look like when it lifts up the ideas and voices of marginalized people.

About Una Lee:

Una Lee is a graphic designer and community organizer based in Toronto. Using interdisciplinary and participatory processes, she works with communities to envision and build a more just and beautiful world.

Una practices critical making, which is rooted in resistance but focused on building. She believes that a designer’s task is to imagine and give form to better futures through collaborative and strategic problem-solving, and that this makes them instrumental to social movements. Una works with communities and designers to organize creative contexts that are transformative at individual, relational and community levels. She has helped women make their first video games and activists design their first posters.

Una’s designs have been stuffed in neighborhood mailboxes, presented at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, used to successfully exert political pressure on the Canadian House of Commons, and remixed in local community organizing efforts across Canada and the US. Her pieces have picked up a few awards along the way.

A graduate of the University of Toronto and George Brown College, Una worked as a lead designer at Pylon before co-founding the social good design studio The Public. In 2011 she established an independent design practice.


Join us!