Cultural Crosspoint

by Tianyi Qi

Cultural Crosspoint is a newspaper-based intervention intending to provide tools and strategies for older Chinese immigrants in New York City to cope with issues caused by cultural differences. This intervention also shows one possibility of promoting cultural change and respecting the agency of individuals in a community at the same time. This theme was revealed after the designer became aware of the older Chinese immigrants' diverse demands and social positions. The project was conducted during the designer's 3-month engagement in a Manhattan-based senior center. Along the process, the designer explored various possibilities of using graphic design as a bridge to the community that she has a huge cultural gap with. Visually appealing worksheets, illustrations of design concepts, quick newspaper mock-up .... these non-traditional designed objects helped the designer to engage older Chinese immigrants in the design process and open up discussion around sensitive topics.

The project began with the designer's pure curiosity towards older Chinese immigrants. She introduced herself to a Manhattan-based senior center and received a mission, assisting in the English class, as an exchange for doing research and design work with members in the senior center. She soon noticed that learning English is not an urgent need of older Chinese immigrants, this insight made her switch the research question from "how to teach them English" to "why they want to learn English". The designer conducted a series of design-led research activities with older Chinese immigrants to learn their motivations for learning English, which proved to be related to the problems caused by cultural differences. These learnings further shaped the design challenge to "handling cultural differences" instead of "learning English". The long-term participation also provided the researcher with a holistic view of the social practices of older Chinese immigrants.

The design intervention was informed by these two kinds of...


Silver in Magazine & Newspaper Design for Social Change 2022, Freelancer

Bronze in Integrated Graphic Design for Social Change 2022, Freelancer

Created by:


Tianyi Qi