Posts Tagged ‘cyber bullying’

Student Artwork Update: The Feeling of Design

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Sue Walsh, who teaches The Feeling of Design at SVACE, presented her students with a technological challenge. How can designers harness the unique power of digital media to tackle a uniquely digital problem? And what if that problem is complicated by real fears about personal safety? For Walsh, the current issue of cyber harassment could be an impetus for a meaningful student project. She writes:

DigitalAbuse_Latte_Kim Suchy

Gif animation by Kimberly Suchy


“The internet has created products, ways of communication, and new opportunities which were before not possible. Many of these are completely positive. It has also created a culture where negativity comes to the fore front. The anonymous shield of the internet makes it easy to forget that people reading it are, in fact, real. Discussions, comments and postings can spiral quickly into the most public and permanent arena of bullying and harassment in human history. Anything anyone says has the capacity to reach a worldwide audience with disastrous consequences. All actions (positive or negative) were bound by the limitation of physical distance.”

“Maybe it starts with a menacing Tweet, or an anonymous mob calling for your rape. Perhaps you discover a reddit forum listing your name, address, phone number, and ideas on ways to kill you. Maybe you Google yourself and find websites claiming you were once a prostitute. Maybe links to those sites are emailed to all of your friends, family members and colleagues. Maybe strangers show at your door expecting sex, because someone’s impersonating you on dating sites. Perhaps your intimate images are being sold to the highest bidder on eBay.”

For this project, Walsh gave students specific goals: to visually communicate that digital abuse or cyber bullying exists, is vast and widespread, and has serious consequences; and to depict the digital space of the internet as something people can understand as real. Walsh also invited guest critic Cynthia Lowen, a producer of Bully (2001), who is currently working on a documentary about cyber bullying.

We are proud to present some of the student responses.

Kimberly Suchy presents gif animations that address the current trend of ‘sexting’ and requests to send nude images (usually men asking women). She writes, “My project hopes to solve the pressures young people often feel to send “sexy” or nude photos to romantic interests; it helps them avoid awkwardness by turning the situation around with humor as a strategy, and protects them from potentially being exposed to a world of internet users by actually sending photographs of themselves.”

DigitalAbuse_peach_Kim Suchy

Gif animation by Kimberly Suchy

Laura Mauriello uses Snapchat to “integrate a category (like many of the corporate feeds) into Snapchat called No Shame. This would be anonymous and candid stories of digital harassment, that a curator from Snapchat could go through and select based on a hashtag. The name, No Shame, is successful because it brings attention to the subject without it seeming like a school lesson or something uninteresting and coming from above (like if it were called ‘Cyber Bullying” or something else. It also takes advantage of the anonymous feature of Snapchat. Revealing stories without the commitment of revealing everything about oneself.”


Proposal by Laura Mauriello


Jamie Weiss proposes IStandUp, which corrals the validating power of social networks. Her campaign would “draw from the ‘verified’ stamp that celebrities have on FB, Twitter, Instagram. It introduces a new type of verification that acknowledges and defines the user as someone who is engages in positive or neutral online communication. Again, it addresses the issue in an oblique way, by praising positive behavior and communication versus punishing or calling attention to the negative commentators.”


Proposal by Jamie Weiss


We want to congratulate Sue Walsh and her students on applying design thinking to solve real problems. The next semester of The Feeling of Design begins February 10th. Students interested in social design might also consider our special summer program, IMPACT! Design for Social Change.