2011 Congress MCAD Testimonies!
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) students take on WILPF as their class project to create a “Youth Outreach Marketing Plan”
Young new faces joined our strong WILPF collective in a number of different ways at the Tri-Annual Congress. Six students from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), along with their professor Nancy Rice, a 2006 NY Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame inductee, made the trip from Minnesota to North Carolina to “pitch” their final class project – the culmination of a six-month study of WILPF and the creation of a campaign strategy for effective youth recruitment. The bright and creative MCAD students spent the week talking and sharing with long-time WILPF women, and debuted their WILPF Youth Outreach and Marketing Proposal to incoming and outgoing Board Members, as well as a room packed full of excited observers. Their outreach proposal included an updated WILPF website and logo, a “Tiered Membership Platform,” where young members can identify what WILPF issues they want to work on and how many hours they will commit to WILPF work, new T-Shirt and poster designs as part of an “Art Hub” where member’s art and creativity can be utilized for WILPF activism, a Branch Membership Tool Kit “Zine”, new partnerships with socially and politically minded youth organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, and even a download WILPF Application for your phone!
Some of the students' personal reflections on the WILPF Congress are below.
Morgan Richter: MCAD Response
Enrolling in the Integrated Advertising class, I knew I had signed up for a class that would challenge me.I knew I was aligning my name and time with a difficult task. However, I did not know I had begun a journey that would change me in so many aspects. The evolution I have seen within my self is best described in two ways; how I approach my work within a creative group and in a much more encompassing idea: how I view the world. This sounds like a broad journal entry, but I promise to cover my tracks.
Beginning in January, learning about The Women?s International League for Peace and Freedom consumed much of my free time. I realized that research lays an important base for any well-rounded creative endeavor, something I had half heartedly attempted in the past. Coming to understand the history and legacy of this organization was key in engaging emphatically with not only the multiple mentors we presented to each week,but also the ideas and language my initial team mates and I brought forth and honed as attempted solutions. Again and again, my first group and I held meetings where our conversations and ideas took shape above the table, a cloud of our own stories, experiences and emotions that rolled and stormed; becoming a living entity that we would then try to convey to our class in impactful presentations. Through this process, I was finally immersed in ideation that took a hold my heart as well as my head. My team and I came to understand that even when discussing huge topics like peace, war and equality it was our combined journey together to comprehend our own views on these issues that was the most important end product.
I was able to learn other important aspects of presenting while watching my other classmates. Where my group excelled in emotional language and storytelling; I learned the necessity of strategy and design in conveying a message or experience. I not only tracked my progress, but also saw the beauty in the growth of my classmate?s tactics and skills. My role within a creative group was elusive to me before this class. I have always drawn my energy and passion from interacting with others, group ideation being the best outlet for my creativity. However, I had never fully realized what my skills were. I knew I was well spoken and outgoing, I knew I had a handle on language and communication. However, no one had ever encouraged me to utilize these things, I had never heard I my thoughts were exceptional. Thus, I was nervous first meeting with Nancy because I felt if she asked me what I brought to the group, I would not be able to vocalize anything to her. And I still struggle with talking about myself, however in this class I was at least validated in my presentation and leadership abilities, my positive out look, things I employ to bring out the best in those around me, propelling my team mates further.
To be in North Carolina with my group meant so much to me, especially as the project manager. I was involved in conference calls with the US president of WILPF along with Nancy in regards to making our presentation even stronger for our trip to North Carolina; I was in charge of registering the group for the event and our accommodations, things I had never undertaken before.
To be involved in the detail of making a project expand and eventually affect others was eye opening and gratifying because in the end my team and the client benefitted exponentially. Along with the progress of my group, meeting the women of WILPF made a huge impact on me. One particular conversation took place with a woman named Barby, who spoke with me at length about why she had joined the organization, why she believes in WILPF's mission and that her dedication is no longer to her own drives but to build something sustainable for a younger generation. To see these WILPF women from all over the country united by their common goal of bettering our world for the future made me want to call every single member of my family and tell them to join. I was humbled by their stories and their genuine interest in who I am and what our team was providing for them.
My personal growth through this project was solidified by our experience in North Carolina; I feel that the feedback we received from these much older women (who were not our initial audience for our tactics) was so positive, constructive and insightful. They appreciated our efforts to provide younger members a new way to engage with activism. The WILPF women were our best mentors, providing in three days full immersion into their world, giving Team 15 all of their attention and support.
This assignment started in January of 2011 in Nancy Rice’s Integrated Advertising class. I thought it was going to be just another class of assignments leading up to a final campaign. What I did not know was how many people I would meet that would change the way I live my life and view the world.
Working with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom has awakened me in such a tremendous way. The most astonishing realization was that until working with them, I didn’t even know I had been sleeping for 23 years.
I have learned more relevant skills in this past semester than I have in my 4 previous years of college. The truth is that you can’t learn things like trust, cooperation or gaining the respecting of a client in a classroom.
This is one of the first experiences where I also learned how to maximize the strengths of my peers while managing my own. Collaboration is a beautiful thing but it takes a lot of work to get there.
In North Carolina, Team 15 had the amazing opportunity to meet the WILPF women and we were finally able to put faces to the names we had been interacting with for 5 months. By the time we had finally met them, it was like reuniting with long lost family. Once word got out that we were giving this presentation for the revival of WILPF, the excitement spread and they let us know.
After the presentation we had nothing but positive feedback and praise. There was definitely a bridge built from their generation to ours. The passion for working towards a better tomorrow tied us together in a bond that can not be broken. We need to continue the mission that these incredible women have started.
While talking with Barby, a long-time member of WILPF. She said that it was so important and exciting to see us there to being new life into the organization. Then she said something that brought a tear to my eye. She looked right at us and said, “You know, we won’t be around for much longer and they work we are doing today isn’t to benefit us, we are doing this for you.”
I feel very lucky to have this opportunity in my graduating year and my first almuni summer. As an illustrator in the MCAD Illustration program I know how to show a story with visual metaphors. With advertising classes I am able to tell a story and connect further with the audience. In addition, my visual storytelling skills add another layer to the group project which fills me with pride to show how illustration is important. Now, I know how to do tell and show a story, and that furthers my confidence in my skillset and career placement. I am impressed that Nancy understands this and encourages me that my abilities are important to the advertising field.
WILPF is a complex organization . Like Greenteam's Jimmie stated, this is one of the hardest projects he has worked on.And it was hard, especially to a person who hasn't been conditioned to think like an advertiser. I had to pick it up fast, luckily I was eager for more than the Illustration department could give me at that time.
I am glad I got to focus my energy on an aspect of the campaign that meant the most to me, DIY printing and design. Over time, we merged the DIY aspects into an 'Art Hub' a sort of design blog that encourages pride in the organization, green sourcing, and community service. This further meaning to the Art Hub is what excites me the most, to be able to use art for a really good cause. Creating a project that connects to a target market's soul is innate to illustrators like me that do product design, but the ability to further that human relation to go beyond to community service was anew and empowering idea for me. And they loved it! I couldn't ask for more; a project that combines my skills and interests that connects to other for an overall good cause. In addition, I am learning fast how to make interactive design 'blogs' a reality, something I am very interested in.
Meeting the WILPF members in North Carolina brought all home, how they think and what they are interested in. What connected with me, in relations to my piece in the project, is the silent auction they held . I got to see the importance of art and homemade jewelery is for these women. Many had brought prints, paintings and exotic jewelery. I even had a conversation with a woman, who brought her daughter's homemade jewelery. She was so proud to show me the work her daughter does and that she wanted to share this with her WILPF sisters. I was so excited to show her the work we did revolving around making and sharing art, knowing that its a deep part of their lives.
Madeleine is an impressive woman, with 'boss' written all over her. Knowing what she has done and watching the Whistleblower mystified me, especially after having casual conversations with her, she is a smart strong woman with a powerful mission. Knowing her strength, encourages me to work harder for her organization, especially after all her encouraging feedback.
I'm excited for what's next because I want them to be successful because I want gender equality. I want to see the Art Hub launch because I think is can be a place for older and younger members to bond over art and charity.