I didn’t set out to be a creative agency. “Genderless Agenda” actually started in 2014 as a punchy little Instagram account and healthy alternative to biting my nails in grad school. Studying the nuances of gender and international development took me here, there and back again with ah-ha moments coming out of my ears and reflections teeming from my head. My posts became the antidote to my feminist fumblings, allowing me to gripe and grapple whenever needed.
Over time, some themes began to emerge on the page: the dangers of gender stereotypes, the importance of cross-cultural understanding, and the power of visual arts in change processes. All vital signs of an advocacy spirit and agenda that has guided my work ever since. Because whether it’s a social media platform or a purpose-driven nonprofit, my goal is the same now as it was back then: to share the things I’m passionate about and help shape messages t0 unite audiences behind a common cause.
Gender equality benefits everyone, which is why it has been nominated as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) number five. Today, in the US and around the world, we are seeing tremendous backlash against gender activists and major threats to overturn progressive incremental change. At the same time, we are also witnessing a new wave of thinking and successful organizing around the gender issues we care about. Visual arts and communication design have emerged as essential components in this process to engage people to act.
One of the greatest lessons my advocacy experience taught me is that social change doesn’t just happen. It happens because people decide to make change. People just don’t just whimsically decide to change their heart and mind and act accordingly; they are personally moved to do so by emotionally powerful stimuli. Art is that something we can’t quite describe or put our finger on, but moves us nonetheless. Its goal, if we can even use that word, is to stimulate a feeling, move us emotionally, or alter our perception. It has the power to shift culture and evolve the behaviors, norms and perceptions that shape our view of gender, and crucially, the way we treat one another. An organization working to advance gender equality, therefore, depends on its use of impactful art & design to evoke emotion and connect with its audience. This is how Genderless Agenda – the creative agency – was born.
I wanted to develop a concept for a creative service that moved beyond the mechanics and folly of being a “task master” for clients. I wanted to become a creative partner in the movement toward gender equality and use my skills to help powerhouse activists and organizations do good, better. Through strategic planning, creative communications and conscientious design, Genderless Agenda aims to craft important messages and provide people with the content and tools to share with the world.
Our fight for gender equality has a lot to do with with finding new ways to tell an old story. In everything I do, from initial branding and web design to year-end reports and the tell-all stage of evaluation, I’m passionate about creating opportunities to surprise. Opportunities to disrupt people’s preconceived and unhelpful notions of gender and feminism, and people’s predetermined ideas about the messages that activists and organizations are trying to communicate. I believe it’s in these moments of surprise that hearts can be touched and minds reached, ultimately moving people to imagine new possibilities in our changing world.
So, tell me. What’s on your agenda?