IHCD Lunch & Learn Lecture: Wilhelmina Crolius

Start Date: 
Sep 13, 2017

IHCD Lunch & Learn Lecture


Wednesday, September 13th
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm 
Institute for Human Centered Design
200 Portland Street, Boston MA

Where are the Ladies at? A Feminist Enquiry as to Why Women aren't Making it in Design Presented by Wilhelmina Crolius

Wilhelmina Crolius

In 2015 the UK Design council put out a study saying that 78% of the UK's design workforce are male, while only 22% are female. However, a Guardian survey in 2013 reported that, of the students studying creative arts and design in higher education, 61.7% of them are women and that female students have been steadily on the rise within design schools. So what exactly is happening here? Why are so many female design students not making that leap into design fields?

In contrast, the numbers of women working and studying within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields has been historically very low. This remains true even with all the many conferences, conversations, and articles written to address the obvious lack of women going into STEM. The success of these programs has been slow and marginal at best in order to address the larger systemic problems of gender inequalities within those fields. The work and attention being paid to gender inequality within design has had much less written about it, and there are far fewer opportunities for discussion about how to address it. 
In researching this topic several major theories as to why women were not making it in the design fields after studying design in higher education emerged. Join us as we unpack each theory, examine additional reasons that may be influencing these outcomes, and consider suggestions for the field on what can be done to bring more women and feminist thinking to the design table.

About the Presenter:

Willa Wilhelmina (Willa) Crolius grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, where she was first introduced to art and design through her work on collections management for the Yale University Art Gallery. After a year at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, studying politics pertaining to political activism and photography, she transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) where she earned her BFA in Industrial Design. While studying in Chicago, Willa worked with a variety of community organizations in her first experiences with human centered design practices and user/experts.
During her time at IHCD she worked on projects ranging from the analysis of community programs, historic sites, public parks, as well as on a mix of products ranging from medical equipment to watches and pens to technology from websites to apps. She worked with the Massachusetts Cultural Council's UP Innovation and Learning Networks conducting user/expert reviews of ten cultural organizations with the greater goal of making inclusive cultural practices a staple of the cultural experience of Massachusetts. She designed and led training programs on how to build capacity through the engagement of user/experts with Perspectiva, an NGO in Russia and traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg several times to consult on inclusive culture and education practices. In 2013, she presented a user/expert analysis of medical equipment to the US Access Board, a federal agency in Washington, D.C., that promotes equality for people with disabilities.
Currently Ms. Crolius is pursuing a double master's degree at the Royal College of Art (MA) and the Imperial College of London (MSc) in Innovation Design Engineering.
Visit Willa on the web at: www.wcrolius.com

And read her latest feminist critique of why women aren’t making it in design.