Fall 2018 - May 2019
The process of aiding those who seek asylum in the US is challenging and confusing. There is an opportunity to design materials for those volunteers to provide clarity, training, and allow them to infuse as much empathy into the process.
We developed a personal handbook for legal advocates to use during their time volunteering at the southern border.
Iterative Sketching | Expert Interview | Role-play | Participant Interview | Survey
Illustrator | Laser Cutter | InDesign
September 2018 - October 2018 | 8 Law Students; 6 Arts Students
Role: Research | Concept Development | Narrative Cards Development | Script Development | Presentation Creation
November 2018 - December 2018 | Lina Alaoui Douiri, Leah Jayne Kleiman
Role: Interview Outline Development | Product Compilation
January 2019 - May 2019 | Zoe Bowman
Role: Project Manager
In the fall of 2018, Northeastern University's Law Lab seminar teamed up with students from the College of Arts, Media, and Design to investigate how we might design for the experience of legal advocates as they prepare asylum seekers for their credible fear interviews. Following the course, three students continued to design and develop materials. Since then, I joined a team to update the materials to be used by a group of law students in their upcoming trip to the South Texas Family Residential Center in May of 2019.
The process of obtaining asylum in the US is intentionally challenging, emotionally draining, and confusing to deter individuals, especially from Central America, from seeking it. For those intending to provide humanitarian and legal help, the experience is difficult and taxing as well. While there are many different movements and interventions that seek to improve the asylum seeking process, one area that is in need of more attention is how the human dignity of individuals who are fleeing persecution might be protected as they seek asylum. One way this might be affected is through the design of the comprehensive experience of legal advocate volunteers visiting asylum seekers. By providing preparation and direction, advocates can serve as more than legal aids as compassionate and caring humans.
Your Roadmap is a handbook to help center the experience for legal advocates. The book is carefully designed to cover the experience from before the advocate arrives at the detention center to the moment they head home and reflect on their journey. Included is a thorough education on interviewing an asylum seeker by providing a conceptual framework of creating a space, a structured format, storytelling strategies, and keys to question design. Through the use of Your Roadmap, legal advocates will be more mindful and less overwhelmed during an emotionally troubling experience which will allow them to devote more of their energy to being present and responsive for asylum seekers.
One tool developed in conjunction with the handbook was a set of cards to be used to help asylum seekers discuss ideas they might have trouble expressing. The development of the cards was an iterative process, beginning with simple sketches that aimed to be iconic rather than representative of experiences to not trigger the women viewing them. I developed the first iteration of the cards and helped another member of the group with the concepts as she increased the visual sophistication on the next iteration.