Food for Free: Finding the Story

Recently, our class worked to conceptualize our data mural for the organization Food For Free. I was absent for the last class, in which we carried out most of our visual designing of the mural, so I will focus instead on the processes carried out during the previous class.

In this class session, the executive director of Food For Free visited our class to discuss the organization, its purpose, its functions, and its future goals. This visit exposed us first-hand to Food For Free, which was indispensable to our conceptualization of the organization.

In the readings, Segel and Heer emphasize the importance of narrative to the process of data visualization. Narratives draw readers to a story and help readers to understand and internalize the message being conveyed. Though the authors focused on its impact on journalistic practices, their insights on narrative apply well to our situation.

In our process, we first educated ourselves on the mission and practice of Food For Free. Once we felt well-grounded on the topic, we looked at some data about the group provided to us, brainstorming in groups to identify potential stories held within the data. Once each group came up with a viable story, we presented the stories to the rest of the class and combined them into one, consolidated, group story.

Contrary to traditional storytelling, our mural will not have a beginning, middle, and end, nor will it include any verbal or much written content. Instead, it will employ visual cues and symbolism to convey our story about the organization.

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