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Advancing Visual Design Culture in STEM Lab Groups

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Vassilissa Semouchkina. "Advancing Visual Design Culture in STEM Lab Groups." MDes Thesis, University of Washington, in progress.

Visual depictions of scientific processes have long been essential to the way we perceive and understand the world. Like Mendaleev’s Periodic Table, our perception and understanding of science is often tied to iconic visuals. However, despite a broad agreement that scientific visualization can be an effective and engaging way to convey complex information, there are significant issues with how science is currently communicated. While there are existing appeals attempting to tackle this problem, the overall level of visual design in scientific communication remains relatively low. Existing visual design education for researchers is often overtly external, consisting of guideless resources or single-instance, short term efforts with no consistent follow-up. Alternatively, I consider research laboratories as a place of intervention — structured, collaborative environments that enforce continuous learning. Through intervening at the laboratory level and introducing researchers to visual design strategies, I will propose tools for scientists to learn, maintain, and self-critique the visual qualities of their work to further advance and sustain visual critique culture in research laboratories.

Read more in Semouchkina's Medium post.

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In progress
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