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Video: UC-Designed Work to Appear in U.S. Embassies Around the World

UC students spent the summer completing posters that focus on the issue of human trafficking. Work by one or two of these students will be displayed at as many as nine U.S. embassies abroad, and all of the works will be displayed as a group at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Date: 8/26/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: DAAP students

UC ingot   Seventeen graphic design students in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) recently completed poster designs with the goal of increasing awareness and knowledge of human trafficking.

Working with the students on this project and serving as sponsor was the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and its Director of Strategic Initiatives Luke Blocher. Leading the UC studio course dedicated to this project were Stan Brod, adjunct professor, and Emily Verba, visiting assistant professor.
According to Blocher, some of the resulting posters (in all, more than 20 were created), will be reproduced by the Freedom Center in partnership with the U.S. State Department and displayed in United States embassies in as many as nine countries starting this fall. The embassies most likely to take part in this project are in Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Cambodia, Greece, Israel,  Italy, Mauritania and the Republic of the Congo.
He explained, “The display of the posters will coincide with display of other materials, including a documentary on human trafficking. This documentary features individuals from these nine nations who are leading the global fight against modern slavery and connects them to the community of 19th century abolitionists who helped bring people to freedom in the U.S., many of whom were based in and around Cincinnati..”
The materials will be displayed this fall to commemorate the 150th anniversary (in September 1962) when Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation during the United States Civil War.
And while work by one or two students will be displayed in overseas embassies, all of them will collectively be displayed in the near future at the Freedom Center. It is also possible that motion graphics on the topic of human trafficking created by the same UC design students will also be displayed in the near future at the Freedom Center.
The posters serve to further education on the issue and as calls to action regarding child labor, forced labor, domestic servitude, bonded labor and sex trafficking. And the message is the most important aspect of the project, according to the students.
Poster design by UC student
Poster design by UC student Venable Fallon.

  • “Our challenge and goal is to convey the message effectively,” said student Kyle Gallagher, 22, of West Chester, Ohio, who created a poster that subtly associates modern-day slavery to being imprisoned. He added, “It’s exciting that people…might see our work and act to help end human trafficking.”
  •  Sarah Fukatsu, 21, of Mason, Ohio, created a series of posters depicting a variety of hands with chains at the wrists. The hands clearly depict young and old as well as male and female. For her, the best part of the project is working on a project related to a current issue: “We’re helping to solve a current problem. As designers, that’s a valuable role for us but not one we always have the chance to engage in. And we have to reach a very wide audience with our message. That adds another level of challenge to the project.”
  •  Luke Mayle, 22, of Midland, Mich., focuses his poster on how trafficking has evolved – once relying on open transport by ship but now far more inconspicuous, relying on any average car, van or truck: “Human trafficking transport today means use of transport we all use every day. So, it’s more inconspicuous. Any car could hold a modern-day slave. It’s not something that only happens half way around the world, but could be in your own neighborhood.”
 Most of all, he appreciates that no one is currently focusing design talent on the issue of human trafficking, and that makes the UC design effort unique – and very much needed.
For the Freedom Center’s Blocher, the UC students “have been able to express in a compelling visual way what I say in words about slavery in the modern world – that slavery exists today in a manner similar to how it has existed in history, and that only the collective action of many individuals that will end it. The students’ works open a door to awareness and then to action, which is the necessary first step in mobilizing a community of modern day abolitionists to end slavery.”
Poster design by UC student
Poster design by UC student Sarah Fukatsu.