Democratic Design: Creating diagrams to draw young citizens together


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Project Description

April’s research explores the possibilities of a democratic design process, in which technology is not treated as a solution to the civic apathy of young people, but a social construction with embedded values that young people negotiate with their own, as a way to draw themselves together as publics. April created a participatory multimedia-making program for young people, in which critical literacy around data and diagram production is fostered as a form of representation they can consider for articulating civic concerns relevant to them. The resulting program, Rise and Visualize, included eight young people in its duration, and was hosted in partnership with youth agency For Youth Initiative, between November 2017 to February 2018. As the focus of this thesis project is the engagement process and issues in design participation, April created a prototype process framework and case study, as opposed to artifacts created by the young people in the program.



April Xie is a designer with a focus on social design practice, civic media, and information visualization. Her work is grounded in a conviction for breaking silos and bringing more voices to the table. She is 1st generation Chinese-Canadian, West Toronto born and raised. She cares about politics, data, participation, stories of migration, civic tech, and representation in visual and digital storytelling. She likes bad puns.