Julia Lindpaintner

MFA Thesis

A blog documenting my journey creating a Master's thesis towards an MFA from the School of Visual Arts' Products of Design program.

Does my subtitle still fit?

In response to a mapping assignment, I decided to look at where my projects fell in relation to my thesis subitle, "Transforming the Judicial System through Civic Engagement." I chose a quadrant map to see my products across two spectra, namely impact on the judicial system and civic engagement. 

My first map had several problems: 

  • No title
  • Intent unclear
  • Distracting images
  • Empty quadrant
  • Vague terms
  • Inconsistent image formatting
  • Unclear audience

What I did to fix it: 

  • Gave it a clear title asking the question I was mulling over
  • Defined the terms "judicial system" and "civic engagement" for the purposes of the map
  • Removed images
  • Flipped the horizontal axis so it would go from low to high 
  • Added points to signify the specific placement of projects on the matrix
  • Added descriptors to 2 of the quadrants, indicating how they relate to the thesis subtitle and why the bottom left should be empty

Diagram — Before

After addressing these issues, my final diagram looks like this: 

The conclusion I draw from this mapping exercise is that most of my products (especially more recently developed ones) tend to require or invoke civic engagement, but they are pretty split in their direct impact on the judicial system.
That gives me two options:
1) Tie the projects in the upper left quadrant back to the judicial system; or
2) rethink my subtitle to get at what those interventions are currently doing. 

Julia LindpaintnerComment