Events

W.E.B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America

W.E.B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America
Silas Munro

Lecture at SFPL Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Tue, Oct 29, 2019
6:00pm–7:30pm

W. E. B. Du Bois was a prolific author, renowned sociologist, fierce civil rights advocate, co-founder of the NAACP, and a historian of black lives. He was also a pioneer in data visualization. Working with ink, gouache, graphite, and photographic prints, Du Bois and his student and alumni collaborators at Atlanta University generated crisp, dynamic, and modern graphics as a form of infographic activism. 63 brightly colored broadsheets were exhibited in Paris and made 20 years before the founding of the Bauhaus. These visualizations offer a prototype of design practices now vital in our contemporary world—of design for social innovation, data visualization in service to social justice, and the decolonization of pedagogy.

About Silas Munro

Silas Munro engages multi-modal practices that inspire people to elevate themselves and improve society. Munro’s design studio Poly-Mode has designed identities and publications for exhibitions of Jacob Lawrence at MoMA, Mark Bradford at the Venice Biennale, and forthcoming commissions, The Great Force for the ICA at VCU in 2019 and Willi Smith: Street Couture for the Cooper Hewitt in 2020. Munro’s writing appears in Slanted, the Walker Reader, and the book W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America. He is particularly interested in the often unaddressed post-colonial relationship between design and marginalized communities. Munro has shown in juried group shows at CalArts and RISD. He has served as a critic at CalArts, MICA, VCU, and Yale. Munro is Assistant Professor at Otis College of Art and Design and Advisor and Chair Emeritus at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He has earned a Design fellowship at the Walker Art Center, been a Designer-in-Residence at NC State, and Design Director at Housing Works.