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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Connection in Place: Silas Munro & Dori Tunstall

May 8, 2020

On Tuesday, May 5, VCFA hosted Connection in Place, an online day of lectures and performances for our alumnx and students to bring the VCFA community together, provide inspiration, and kick off our spring drive to raise much-needed funds for scholarships due to COVID-19.

Visit the Connection in Place website and click “Sign In” on the upper right-hand area of the page to register. Registration will ensure that you receive updates throughout the month of May as we make new interviews, workshops, and content available while we all continue to Connect in Place.

Silas Munro presented a lecture, “W.E.B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America”, followed by an interview with Dr. Dori Tunstall.

W.E.B. Du Bois was a prolific author, renowned sociologist, fierce civil rights advocate, co-founder of the NAACP, and a historian of black lives. He was also a pioneer in data visualization. Working with ink, gouache, graphite, and photographic prints, Du Bois and his student and alumni collaborators at Atlanta University generated crisp, dynamic, and modern graphics as a form of infographic activism. Sixty-three brightly colored broadsheets were exhibited in Paris and made 20 years before the founding of the Bauhaus. These visualizations offer a prototype of design practices now vital in our contemporary world—of design for social innovation, data visualization in service to social justice, and the decolonization of pedagogy.

Silas Munro engages multi-modal practices that inspire people to elevate themselves and improve society. He is particularly interested in the often unaddressed post-colonial relationship between design and marginalized communities. Munro holds an MFA from CalArts and a BFA from RISD. He has served as a critic at CalArts, MICA, and Yale. Munro is Assistant Professor at Otis College of Art and Design and served as the faculty chair of the MFA in Graphic Design program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he is currently a guest advisor

Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall is a design anthropologist, researcher, academic leader, writer, and educator who was a guest designer at VCFA in 2017. She is Dean, Faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto, Canada, and the first black Dean of a Faculty of Design. She has taught and lectured all over the globe. Dr. Tunstall studied anthropology at Bryn Mawr College and obtained her PhD from Stanford University.