Center for Civil & Human Rights Mini-Reflection

Over the course of 2018, myself and a few other iD members have been working on a project with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, our city’s primary civil rights museum. We were tasked with designing and building an interactive, VR-centered exhibit to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of King’s passing. In order to properly commemorate King’s legacy, we’ve been asking ourselves how we can best stir Atlanteans using his message and through telling the story of his advocacy. We came to the conclusion that MLK’s Drum Major Speech best expressed the power of his actions and the devotion he held to his beliefs, causing it to be a fantastic call to action. It makes a great case for individual empathy and action- in it, he speaks about the power of advocacy and the futility of selfishness using the metaphor of the drum major. This is the central theme that we are trying to capture in order to do justice to King’s legacy. The power or selflessness and individual action. Great. But how do we accomplish this? Can we use the built-for-business empathy tools that we usually deploy in iD? Thus far, we’ve found the answer to be yes. Design thinking has helped us to both imagine the layout of the exhibit and build content for it. We use empathy-based tools as a way to figure out the role of interactive technology in our exhibit - such as Virtual Reality or the more commonly used interactive monitors currently deployed in the museum- as well as to best organize the stories we’ve collected from people currently trying to evoke activism in Atlanta. We’ve tried to use our arsenal of empathy tools to best tell the stories of people like Terence Lester, the founder of Love Beyond Walls. Terence has the sort of anecdotes and life stories that simply deserve to be told well- writing them on a wall or playing them on a small monitor would not do them justice. And that is why design thinking is so relevant to this project, despite its medium; we can use it as a way to organize and tell powerful stories in a way that they deserve. The technology and people we have access to is just part of the puzzle- we can only move our viewers to action if we can build the right setting in which to tell their stories. This project is a way to mix our skills as thinkers, listeners, and innovators. This project is a fantastic way to apply the tools we’ve developed in iD, and I’m proud to be working on it.

About the Author:

Bryce Jones is a junior and a second-year member of Innovation Diploma. He is on the iD executive committee and is currently working on the design brief with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.