Researchers, Sarah Ogilvie (Stanford) and Gaia Scagnetti (Pratt Institute) engaged in a collaboration to see if communication design could effectively be applied to an active humanities research project to advance the goals of the project. The basis of this collaboration was Ogilvie's Endangered Languages Digital Humanities Project (Read more about the project here.) Ogilvie gathered surveys from over two hundred indigenous communities around the world, in an effort to document the existence of those languages before they disappear.

The students were encouraged to re-imagine how a dictionary can be used to help sustain a language by encouraging members of the community-- particularly children--to learn the language. The larger goal of this type of collaboration is to inject humanities thinking into visual design while bringing design expertise to the communication of digital humanities research.

Due to the sensitivity of working with the precious and often limited resources of communities that are already under threat, the initial plan was to build an artificial data set derived from actual endangered languages. But the designers found that they needed the connection with a real-world problem. Dr. Ogilvie arranged for Erika Enlund and a few other students to work closely with Quirina Geary on the Mutsun language. Xue Xia built her project around the disappearing Chinese languages of her fellow classmates in Scagnetti's Typographic + Information Design course. Below are select examples of final projects:

Erika Enlund Slides

Juan Carlos Slides

John Lunn Slides

Michael Yuan Slides

Xue Xia Web Site | Slides