Martha Berry Design © 2018 

For my thesis intervention in the MFA program for Design in Social Innovation, I designed a tool for refugees to have the ability to review topics covered very briefly in their cultural orientation classes, keeping in mind the limited resources and finances of the resettlement agencies.

Culture Cues: A Thesis Project

Culture Cues breaks down American culture and daily life into small digestible parts. The products are mostly visual to help with memory retention and keeping in mind those unfamiliar with English and the illiterate. The following include elements of my process to get to the final result.

After 3 months, I had a pretty good understanding of the process of becoming a legal refugee and becoming resettled in the US. At the end of the semester, I created a booklet describing the resettlement process as well as areas in the process that could use help. The next step would be to find a place in the system where I could make a difference.

During my process of finding my point of intervention in the system, I mapped the areas in which refugees may need help for success in America. The boxes in yellow are areas in which I felt I could be useful. Because of my interest in culture, I decided to take that path.

I visited a few culture orientations for refugees and realized that this was the direction I could take. The refugees were presented with so much information in just an hour or two. I could use my design skills to help cultural orientation teachers use their short time to give refugees the resources to learn more on their own. Instead of random fast information being thrown at them, they could have access to information online, on slides, and print-outs that the teacher could guide them through.

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I designed prototypes of the three stages - online for anyone to use and share to create a community beyond the individual classes, slides for cultural orientation teachers to guide students and answer questions. and matching print-outs that correspond with the slides for refugees to refer to later.

These are the prints for explaining navigation of the NYC bus system.