12 Weeks | Spring 2022
How might we encourage South Asian families to have uncomfortable conversations throughout their daughter’s lives in relation to growing up, developing their own identity & health, and navigating Eurocentric beauty standards ?
Humaara is a toolkit dedicated to starting, facilitating, and documenting uncomfortable, intersectional conversations between South Asian mothers and daughters.
The experience all ties together through a kit, with jewelry-making pieces and conversation facilitation cards. The different topics that Humaara covers are South Asian - American specific issues like facing colorism, navigating Eurocentric Beauty standards, and dealing with living in a dual culture. The topics are relevant across many different ages for the daughter, so the kit grows with the pair overtime.
Creating the space in which both parties will be willing to have these conversations
Something that grows with the relationship, as the topics cover a range of ages, and the jewelry pieces themselves can be revisited.
Integration of South Asian culture in the design through an emphasis on jewelry & color theory
“Making” as a means of relationship building
The ToolKit Pieces
The guidebook provides conversation tips, a deep dive into the different topics, jewelry-making tips, an explanation of the action cards, and an explanation of the beads & the correlating emotions
The different topics Humaara covers are based on South Asian - American specific issues, like facing colorism & navigating Eurocentric beauty standards. These topics are relevant across many different ages for the daughter, so it is a kit that can be used over time
As far as the actual experience, the space is set up with this board made out of canvas. It walks through the conversation steps as well as the jewelry making steps. It also provides measuring spaces within the board itself and places to put the action cards, and a place for the beads. The board itself is 36 inches long by 16 inches tall, and the mother and daughter would sit together on one side working through the issues as a team. Before they cover the action cards they measure and cut the base of the wire
There are 4 action cards for each topic and the pair can choose how many they want to talk through. The cards cover sharing past experiences, looking at the historical context of the issue, reconciling cultural and generational differences, and thinking about how the issue has changed for women over time.
As the pair talks through an action card, they manipulate a piece of wire as they talk. They can also add beads as they wish. The beads have a suggested emotional context based in Indian culture and color theory, but these act more as a suggestion rather than a prescription.
The Final Product
As they go through the steps, the final necklace will have the individual wire pieces attached to the necklace base. The base itself allows space for the pieces to continue to be added to it, so it acts as a living repository of the conversation that can be revisited
At the beginning of this project, I started with a topic I cared about. Then I spent the time narrowing in on the topic at hand, figuring out what my role and scope would be as a designer.
To beging this project, I interviewed a mix of mothers and daughters to understand what I could design as an intervention that would help my target audience.
Both mothers & daughters weren’t sure if there was space to start the conversation, and whether or not each person was open to it in the first place
Mothers weren’t sure how to approach some difficult conversations
Mothers weren’t sure how to engage their daughters & make them feel comfortable with the conversation
Ideating & Prototyping
With my research completed, I began sketching and rapid prototyping to test out different forms, concepts, and ideas. From there, I designed out my final concept.