Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Nancy Friese

Second Advisor

Paul Sproll

Third Advisor

Ijlal Muzaffar


We perceive the world largely through categorizations and associations. We distill people, objects and entities into extremes. ‘Normal’ becomes a measure of acceptable. Reductionist definitions, force anything ambiguous or uncertain to be rejected. Acknowledging our biases towards these misinterpreted, shunned or ignored entities, has long been overdue. In todays world we cannot possibly continue being blind to complexity.

Can designed visual education reinterpret ambiguity and embrace multiplicity? How can a designer’s perspective help scaffold these educational systems? Can we do so by looking deep within our own practice as designers, artists, scholars and educators?

The thesis explores these various questions through the perspective of a designer and scholar. By delving into historic and current examples of association, the ideas of interpretation and representation are discussed through the analogy of a unique creature, the pangolin. These learnings are then applied to examples of designed visual education.

The thesis advocates the use of visual narratives to help preserve or rekindle a childlike worldview of acceptance and inclusion. Designed visual education helps us move beyond knowing and encourages emotional investment, building deep-rooted resilience.

Design interventions, in any form are a systemic process of responsible creation, iteration and adaptation. If paired with appropriate mediums of dissemination, we could nurture the future generations to be strategic thinkers, hopefully bringing about longterm impact.

Included in

Art Education Commons



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