Silhouettes of Diversity Exhibition on Display on Ames First Floor

November 5, 2021

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Exploring the diversity of figure and design, the exhibit Silhouettes of Diversity will be on display on the first floor of The Ames Library, Oct. 26 through Nov. 9, 2021.

Silhouettes of Diversity is an exhibition of the silhouettes of students in the “Designing for People” course taught by William Bullock in the Ames School of Art. The exhibit celebrates diversity by emphasizing the diversity of size, shape and stature that designers must consider. 

Bullock said, "I wanted the students to understand the diverse sizes, shapes and stature of the human body that must be accommodated in designing useful and pleasurable products for people. The black paper silhouette images on a white background depict active student poses and provide an objective introspective as a way of celebrating our diversity."

Displayed as a poster wall, the exhibit creates an interactive experience for viewers with life-sized silhouettes of diverse figures. The figures display a variety in size, shape and activity emphasized by the simplistic design of black paper atop a white background. Additionally, anthropometric data is incorporated into the exhibit via specific charts for each figure and, more generally, through a reference image of human anatomy to provide scaling tools.

Associate Professor Meg Miner coordinates exhibits in The Ames Library and stated, "The exhibit is thought-provoking in that it allows viewers to consider the designers' humanity while also considering how strikingly different we all are. The data that is included about averages of body sizes drives home the point that designers have to take a kind of scaling approach for all of human variability into account."

On Oct. 26, an opening lecture titled “Designing for Diverse People” was held to open the exhibit. The talk, sponsored by the IWU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, was given by Illinois State University’s Dryell Ashley.

Ashley stated, “Artists and designers create products that fit the needs of the people who use them. As humans we are all similar. Our bodies are designed using bones and muscles and the same circulatory systems and metabolic functions, with similar brain layouts. Yet, we are all individuals, different in size, shape and appearance.”

The Ames Library is open Monday through Thursday, 7:45 a.m.-1:30 a.m.; Friday, 7:45 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 p.m.-1:30 a.m. The library is free and open to the public. However, after 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the library is only accessible by I.D. card swipe.

By Kailee Galloway ’23