Keesa V. Johnson

STW21-KEESA-V-JOHNSON

PENNY STAMPS SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Keesa Johnson is a graduate candidate in the Masters of Design in Integrative Design (MDes) program where she studies the wicked problem of equity and access in food systems. She first practiced integrating different disciplines as a child growing up in a home that fostered engagement with the arts, theatre, technology, and activism. Whether she was writing plays, working on community media productions, or helping register voters for the A. Philip Randolph Institute, her work has always focused on human interaction. Prior to graduate school, Keesa worked as an award-winning learning designer. Her current research explores how online technologies can help people envision and sustain value through equitable access to healthy food from their own communities — work more important than ever since the pandemic began. Although the present moment is full of challenges, Keesa believes it is creating opportunities to reimagine the food system and create equitable, just, and liberating ecosystems through the lens of design.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?

Proud to have been born in Muskegon Heights MI. I currently live in Ann Arbor MI.

STUDYING ON CAMPUS OR ONLINE?

Online

MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?

I am the 4 am type.

FAVORITE MOVIE?

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

FAVORITE BINGE WATCH?

Lovecraft Country by Misha Green

FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?

I love Are.na

FAVORITE PODCAST?

The Good Girl Podcast with Cameo King

FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?

Lina Iris Viktor

FAVORITE BOOK?

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

FAVORITE CHARITY/CAUSE?

Detroit Black Food Security Network (DBFSN)/Food Justice

FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY DURING THE PANDEMIC?

I write poetry and nurture my plants

HAVE THE CHALLENGES OF 2020 CHANGED HOW YOU THINK ABOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN AND DESIGNERS?

Design has been shifting for quite some time. The pandemic is a portal to the creative change needed in our society. I see the role of designers as intellectual healers here to facilitate a new future.

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