Broken? Stories from Inside the Criminal Justice System

Willhemina Wahlin (Designer), Leora Kahn (Curator), Abby MacPhail (Curator), Deborah Driscoll (Curator)

Research output: Non-textual outputs, including Creative WorksCreative Works - Original - Design/Architectural

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"Broken? Stories from Inside the Criminal Justice System" is an exhibition that features content created by students from the United Nations International school in New York, and designed by Willhemina Wahlin for PROOF: Media for Social Justice. "Broken?" is part of a series of exhibitions that are testing the CHaSSMM method of practice-led design inquiry. It is more specifically being developed for designers and other exhibiting practitioners who have a role in creating 'difficult exhibitions' - that is, exhibitions that focus on topics such as genocide, gender violence, contested histories, war and human rights issues ' and the practice of designing the typographic representations of people's stories of trauma. During the design of "Broken?", I documented the processes of testing the CHaSSMM Method, which combines Critical Hermeneutics with Social Semiotic, Multimodal analysis. Critical Hermeneutics, in particular Roberg's (2011) theories of meaning, action and experience, is employed within the research stages of exhibition design, so as to come to a greater understanding of the ideological foundation of the exhibit, its stakeholders and curatorial team. Social semiotic, multimodal analysis provides a lens through which we can understand how semiotic resources, and their multimodal combinations, are being employed to perform those ideologies through the exhibition. The CHaSSMM Method is also being developed to highlight the necessity of reflexive design practice, providing a framework for designers to both understand the cultural context of an exhibition, their own context as practitioners, and the representations that result. Designing "Broken?" within the framework of the CHaSSMM Method revealed some interesting disparities between the cultural contexts of the Australian-based designer and the US-based curators and other exhibition stakeholders, particularly in the typographic representations of people's first-hand stories of being incarcerated, and also illustrative representations of the idea of the 'jail bird'. The supporting role within interpretation and communication between team members that the CHaSSMM Method played proved to be highly valuable as a way of turning tacit curatorial and design knowledge into explicit knowledge that could be shared.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPROOF: Media for Social Justice and the United Nations International School (UNIS)
Media of outputArtwork
SizeExhibition Design
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventBroken? Stories from Inside the Criminal Justice System -
Duration: 01 Nov 2015 → …


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