Evelyn Quinn

Music Listener | Food Consumer | Tea Drinker | Art Admirer | Movie Watcher | Tattoo Acquirer | Nature Lover | Truth Seeker | Design Thinker


I am a design thinker. I want to ask questions and share my opinions. I want to never be afraid to ask why. I want to create relationships with people who have different experiences, knowledge and ways of thinking. I want to facilitate conversation. I want to empower people. I want to teach and be taught, and firmly believe one must always surround themselves with people they can learn and grow from. I chose to pursue design because I wanted to help people, because for me, being a good designer means trying to be a better human being.

What was the most intense deadline you’ve had to make?

All my deadlines are intense, otherwise I wouldn’t get things done. I work well under pressure, which may not be good for my stress levels (and has definitely caused a few grey hairs) but if I don’t apply the same weight on all deadlines I do not produce the best work possible.

What is the most useful piece of design advice that you have received?

This isn’t exactly design advice, but the best advice I have received regarding design is don’t take critiques personally. You are separate from your work, the person isn’t critiquing your personality, just your design.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?

Sea Urchin (a shade of dark purple). The Sea Urchin is the hedgehog of the ocean. I am someone who puts on a hard exterior but has a squishy centre. I am blunt, but that means I tell it like it is. I like being alone, but am incredibly loyal to the people I do surround myself with. I wait, listen and analyze situations before choosing my course of action, which makes me a bit of a perfectionist, but I know it’s done right in the end.

How would you describe the colour yellow to someone who has never seen it?

The colour yellow is the feeling of the summer sun hitting your skin as you step out of the shade, a little harsh at first but ultimately warms you up.

Design Interests

Data Visualization
Information Design
Environmental Design
Experiential Design


An Introduction

Despite our desire to be individuals, we as a society have a tendency to label ourselves and others. By addressing our individual relationship with our identities, we can explore how our shared beliefs, principles, values and commitments—which control our emotional and physical reactions—can demonstrate our interconnectivity and the multiplicity of who we are beyond the surface level. Who each of us are should not be a mysterious inner feeling but the answer to the emotions we each have towards reputation, honour, dignity and self-worth. These are the factors that distinguish us but also link us and our engagement with the social world.

The Question

This project came to be as a response to my thesis question: What platform (vocal, social, physical, political, or technical) can be used to spark discussion about personal identity in relation to intersectionality and oppression?

The concept of this was not to create a solution or answer the question but instead to create a tool for engagement and discussion.

The Goal

The goal for this project was to create an awareness of the importance of self identity and how it is used in both personal and social contexts of society. To create an understanding of how important knowing one’s own identity is and being open to discovering the identities of others, as well as how influential people and communities are to identities. There is great importance in communication and understanding of how to approach different identities in a healthy, productive and accepting manner.

Through research I decided to focus on the idea of the importance of understanding one’s self through the lens of intersectionality and then approaching how one could apply that understanding of self to the greater community. Thus through communication about the multiple factors that make up one’s own identity, people may understand that they can not look at others in a singular view. My hope was through the creation of a physical space, and the digital one created thereafter, that the idea of anonymous interactive reflection can be used as a resource for other people in different environments to recreate the experience in order to spark such discussion. May this environment be an educational facility or not, the hope is to implement the same sort of tools for discussion within that given community.

The Process

This project was approached with an artist’s methodology to a scientific set of principles. The themes of this project are found in the realms of sociology, psychology, and philosophy. Addressing the concepts of identities (i.e. how they are formed, and their relations to one another), intersectionality (i.e. what it is, how it’s defined, and how it can be applied as a framework to existing theories and methodologies) and how these two concepts can be linked to one another, as well as on going research in culture, religion, community understanding and gender relations to name a few.

The posed question has many different answers, or different versions of an answer, depending on the group of people it is being presented to. When it comes to art it is not about establishing the one and only truth so much as it’s about making the most effective form of creation at that given time through which ideas, feelings and perceptions can be communicated to a public. Just as some artists exhibit process work that was created leading to the final piece, my goal was to create an exhibition that included physical interactive elements that let people discover and create the information. In cases like this it is the journey being presented as more important than the destination. The space and the created information then acts as a catalyst for discussion of the topics presented.

The research itself was conducted within the framework of intersectionality. This means that to truly dig into the way people establish their sense of self is not grounded in one distinct category. People create their identities based on many experiences, interactions and influences that come along throughout their lives and they continue to change as the individual experiences more. Due to this, it is understood that the information captured here is just a snapshot of the identities of the people involved.

The Solution

If we return to the original question regarding a platform to spark discussion on these topics I chose to create a physical space where individuals were prompted with questions and asked to respond in an interactive manner. The conversation started in the physical space of Eleanor Winters Art Gallery at York University. There were 49 anonymous individuals who interacted with the space. There were three points of interaction; one written, one artistic and one reflective. After which a recreation of the interactions have been created in a digital space with the intention that users can add to the to information as well as explore it. By creating both physical and digital spaces gives the opportunity for the discussion to reach multiple people on multiple platforms.

See more of my work at the graduate showcase