Awkward Middle Place

Awkward Middle Place is a co-creation workshop for model-minorities that explores their identities realating to race, assimilation, and individualities.


What It Is

Awkward Middle Place is a co-creation workshop that engages participants to visualize their cultural identities in a fun, 3D collage project. 12 immigrants and children of immigrants participated to address questions about race, equity and acculturation in their identities. This experimental workshop was hosted at MFA Products of Design on November 18, 2017.  





How It Works

The participants were asked to answer below questions in each of seven rounds. At the beginning of each round, the banner with the next prompt was revealed, and the participants had seven minutes to shuffle through magazines to find images that best described their answers to the prompt, rip them out, and collage their responses onto the banners. At the end of each round, the participants gathered around the banner to share their works with the group



      Questions on the banners




      I was surprised at how relevantly the magazines and current-day media could portray my feelings.
      Thesis Offense Deck_v6.004.jpeg
      There was so many similarities between participants and we were all talking about how to maintain certain aspects of our background while embracing other cultures’ values
      Thesis Offense Deck_v6.005.jpeg
      I got a better understanding of how it doesn’t have to be either one culture or the other, and how that might not be ok to people back home or even people here, but it is what works for you
      I left the workshop with optimism. Everyone seemed to acknowledge their struggles and we validated each other’s experiences whether they were similar or different
      Thesis Offense Deck_v6.006.jpeg


      Concept Map


      The insights from the workshop resonated very much with the user interviews that I had conducted. In both, my users spoke of the central tension in their identities as between the community they assimilated to and the community they came from. Many described their shame in both not being American enough and losing touch with their cultural heritage. Furthermore, this tension was deeply colored in their relationship with race because the communities they aspired to assimilate were white, while their heritages signaled how exotic, primitive, or even childlike they were.



      Video Documentation


         1 min video documenting the workshop.


      Process /  Installation