News & Events


Meghan Kelly

Mapping Bodies, Designing Feminist Icons (Publication)

April 7, 2021

Bodies are nuanced, fluid, and political—often combining forms of intersecting and experiential identities. Nevertheless, bodies are frequently missing from maps altogether or, when they are included on maps, they are reduced to points, lines, and polygons. Focusing on iconography, I explore the depiction of bodies in map symbolization through a feminist lens. I apply a feminist semiotic analysis to thirty-eight Maki icons to problematize the ways in which bodies are depicted, abstracted, or erased. I analyze icon symbolization, particularly the presence/absence of bodily forms, the presence/absence of an embodied object, and the icons’ iconicity. My feminist analysis reveals the underlying silences, defaults, and power dynamics within the Maki icon set. I call mapmakers to rethink the depictions of bodies in icons—and the role of “universal” icon sets, more broadly—through a feminist lens. I offer design opportunities as a starting point for such an endeavor.

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Luis F. Alvarez León

Towards Computational Praxis for Social Justice (Panel)

April 7, 2021

Through this panel, we will explore questions such as: How can we use computational methods and digital technologies to measure, map, and challenge various forms of inequality and injustice? How can computational methods and digital technologies be disentangled from the infrastructures of state and financial power that reproduce social, economic, and spatial injustice? How can we use computational methods and digital technologies to develop alternative visions of the future that challenge the dominant systems of power and exploitation?

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Luis F. Alvarez León

Towards Global Justice in Digital Geography (Panel)

April 9, 2021

Worldwide calls for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement have put into sharp focus the urgency of explicitly centering these issues in digital geography. A growing body of work embraces feminist and decolonial approaches to digital geography (Elwood and Leszczynski 2018; Thatcher et al. 2016), and directly addresses the roles of digital geographies in processes of racialized surveillance and policing (Jefferson 2018). However, it is clear that much more work needs to be done to truly reckon with racial injustices across the globe, and to understand and challenge their digital geographic expressions. Beyond the academy, High Country News’ Land-Grab Universities map interrogates the ways in which stolen indigenous land enriches the very institutions in which many geographers conduct their work. This project highlights the potential of digital tools and geographic perspectives to explicitly address racial injustices, even (or perhaps especially) when these force scholars to grapple with their own role in these processes of exclusion and domination. In this context, creative and committed work towards global justice is an urgent task for digital geography.

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Meghan Kelly


Feminist Collectively Designing Icons, Feminist Vocabularies for Map Design (Presentation)

April 9, 2021

Mapmakers and designers typically emphasize clarity, legibility, alignment, brevity, consistency, aesthetics, and ease of use in the design iconography. Conventional wisdom in icon design, however, neglects feminist design principles that reject universality, challenge power, and situate design. Recent work in feminist icon design explores the depiction, abstraction, and erasure of bodies in icon symbolization and provides a framework for redesigning icon sets like the Mapbox Maki library. In this paper, I facilitate a series of workshops based on this framework for feminist icon design where designers used sketch mapping techniques to redesign the Maki icon set, one icon at a time. I collate the icon sketches across the workshops and analyze the impacts of feminist principles on their designs. Based on my findings, I argue that a feminist framework for icon design disrupts conventional and universal approaches to icon design. Further, the icons curated in this paper seed the beginnings of a feminist icon set gallery. In sum, feminist perspectives generate alternative graphic vocabularies for icon design and expand possibilities for feminist map design, more broadly.

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Meghan Kelly


Feminist Mapping Panel: Past, present, and futures

February 26, 2021

In this workshop, I will introduce a feminist mapping framework that can be applied to spatial data, map design, and mapping workflows. I’ll illustrate seven feminist principles within this framework through a series of examples. Next, we will collectively explore the feminist mapping framework through a series of hands-on sketch mapping activities. Throughout this workshop, we will uncover the possibilities for feminist mapping with real-world data while reflecting on our own positions as mapmakers.

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Luis F. Alvarez León

Ethical Spatial Analytics

February 9, 2021

Luis Alvarez León with Mia Bennett (University of Hong Kong) discuss the ethical implications and property regimes of remote sensing. 

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Janice Chen



The Pudding Cup

January 2021
Janice receives  Honorable mention for The Pudding Cup: The Best Visual and data-driven stories of 2020 for her visual essay, Milk Country: The Making of Vermont’s Landscape.

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