Trickle-down Empowerment

2014  |   Design Research, Creative Strategy, Design

Trickle-down Empowerment is a study of ethical consumerism. A series of bead-making tools and kits are the centerpoint for an examination of the aesthtics, language, economics, and power dynamics surrounding one peculiar product; the hand-made Ugandan paper bead. Through the work of paper jewelry makers in urban Kampala and the responses of American women consumers, Trickle-down Empowerment examines the gender biases and outcomes of empowerment-based marketing narratives and challenges power dynamics inherent in aid donation between the West and the Global South. 

Trickle-down Empowerment was researched over 12 months in Kampala and Los Angeles using methodologies including iterative design, in-depth interview, participant observation, textual analysis, and participatory action research.