Publicizing A Need For Change

Human Rights 70 Years on at MCC Main Gallery. Photo: Winifred Westergard.

Publicizing A Need For Change

Cornish design students created posters for a show addressing numerous violations of human rights. The exhibit, entitled "Human Rights 70 Years on," was displayed at the Cornish Gallery from November 30 to December 8, 2018. The show was also digitally displayed at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

by Winter Mallon

Seattle Sims, a senior majoring in design at Cornish College of the Arts, created a poster covered in hashtags from twitter such as #feminism and #blacklivesmatter for the design poster show, Human Rights 70 Years on. Sims, when asked about her choice of hashtags, stated that “all the hashtags are expressive of human rights being violated. People are expressing [these violations] on social media and trying to be heard. All of them relate to human rights and how all of these hashtags are people speaking up for their human rights and how something needs to change. It’s also helping you feel like you’re not alone.” The hashtags are meant to spread awareness of issues otherwise overlooked: “things like #metoo are helping to normalize talking about sexual assault.” Her poster focused on the publicizing of human right violations because, if these issues are more clearly understood, we can make strides towards “equality and a better understanding of each other” and ensure that “everything’s fair.”

The exhibition brought together recent work made by the Design students and twenty-five professional designers from across the globe. This exhibition was part of Design for Social Activism, a senior level course co-taught by Saki Mafundikwa and Liz Patterson.

Aisling Herron, a senior majoring in design at Cornish College of the Arts, created a poster that featured her own essay. Her essay contained commentary on and suggested changes for The Declaration of Human Rights. She specifically addresses how children need to be afforded more rights to ensure their safety and security. Children are “the most vulnerable group of people” and they need specific language dictating their rights to assure their safety. Herron’s primary goal for her poster was to make clear a need for a more up to date version of The Declaration of Human Rights. On her poster, Herron wrote: “seventy years of maintaining a standard of treatment for every human being is an achievement worthy of celebration. However, The Declaration of Human Rights has not changed in tandem with the times and there are things that need to be addressed as the United Nations moves forward.”

The world is constantly changing and the rights of people should change with it. Otherwise, the current most vulnerable people will be faced with legal discrimination for any number of reasons such as race, gender, and socioeconomic class. The Declaration of Human Rights was a great step towards equality, but it’s been 70 years and people, and our understanding of them, have changed. Human Rights 70 Years on drew attention not only to what we have achieved, but what we need to change.

​Winter Mallon is a first year student at Cornish College of the Arts. She writes on a variety of topics for Cornish News. The artists whose work appeared in the poster show were: Adrian Asirot, Danae Bernunzio, Melody Carlisle, Tenzing Dorjee, Brianna Fawcett, Jasmin Fortin, Kara Griffin, Aisling Herron, Samuel Johnston, Nikki Lim, Christopher Maeng, Jeremy Marin, Angela Nguyen, Jason Powers, Jessica Red, Madelynn Reiman, Kylina Rench, Anthony Richards, Kayla Shimizu, Seattle Sims, Kira Violette, Carolyn Wassmer, Rachel Watson, Ryan Woolworth, and Unmi Yank.