Lingua Franca: The 2014 D-Crit Conference




Nawar N. Al-Kazemi

Nawar N. Al-Kazemi’s research interest is design education in the Arab States of the Gulf Region. She studied Public Relations and Advertising, with a minor in Graphic Design, at the American University of Kuwait (AUK). After graduation, Nawar interned in creative departments of international and local advertising agencies in Kuwait, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Radius Leo Burnett, and Circus BC. She designed “The White Show,” AUK’s portfolio exhibition of graduating design students in 2010, the same year as she collaborated with designers to establish JDN, a design project dedicated to challenging the status quo and standards of the design field in Kuwait. At D-Crit, Nawar explores the integral role of design education in shaping and solidifying Khaleeji cultural identity in the Gulf countries. As an advocate of design possibilities, she looks forward to working on projects that highlight and discuss the relationship between design and cultural identity.

Lynda Decker

Lynda Decker is creative director of her firm, Decker Design, and works with some of the world’s most admired companies on corporate communications and brand initiatives. Concurrent with establishing her business, Lynda took up surfing, finding renewal in its physicality. Through D-Crit, she has integrated many of her interests, working on numerous multi-platform projects, including podcasting, researching infrastructure in New York City, and scripting a video about a Saturday afternoon in Central Park. Her essay on the idiosyncrasies of working in the building where Edith Wharton was born was published by The Mount, the blog for the Edith Wharton Foundation. Her D-Crit research examines Southern California surf culture in post-war America, and explores myth-making and the influence of regionalism on design—particularly in New York’s nascent urban surf community. Lynda now incorporates critical thinking and writing into her firm’s methodology, to improve the way large organizations approach their design initiatives.

Caterina Francisca

Caterina Francisca moved to New York City in 2011 to study Design Criticism at SVA, after completing her undergraduate degree in Interior Design at Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Turin, Italy. In 2012, she interned with architect and RISD assistant professor Eduardo Benamor Duarte, helping to produce an exhibition project for the international design event “Wanted Design NYC.” In the same year, she was research intern for Domus’ 2012 Design School Guide. Caterina’s essay about contemporary fashion design trends was awarded “Student Notable” in the Writing and Commentary section of the 2013 Core77 Design Awards. She co-presented the paper “The Design Evolution of the Generic and Adaptable Body in Steven Meisel’s and Steven Klein’s Fashion Photography” at the Critique 2013 conference held at the University of South Australia, Adelaide. Caterina is interested in the many ways that design projects impact their audiences, and her current research negotiates between the disciplines of design, science, and technology.

Sandra Nuut

Sandra Nuut’s research focus combines fashion and curation. She came to D-Crit with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from The Estonian Academy of Arts, and experience as an exchange student at Johannes Gutenberg Universität-Mainz, Germany. Sandra began curatorial work while interning at the KUMU Art Museum, Estonia in 2009. With her classmates in 2013, she co-curated an experimental exhibition at The Museum of Arts and Design in New York, “Museum as Plinth: Take One/Leave One.” Sandra gained further exposure to design curating through her internship at Moss Bureau in the summer of 2013. Her interest in fashion led her to organize a lecture by the photography critic Vince Aletti as part of the D-Crit Lecture Series and to develop and present (with Caterina Francisca) a paper on fashion photographers Steven Meisel and Steven Klein at the Critique 2013 conference at the University of South Australia, Adelaide.

Anne Quito

Anne Quito is a design writer and art director. She graduated from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in Visual Culture in 2009 and has spoken at TEDGlobal in Oxford, TEDxPhoenix, AIGA DC, and the CDC about public sector design. Anne was a member of the curatorial team for “Spontaneous Interventions” and organized a celebrated interactive exhibit at the Museum of Arts & Design called “Take One/Leave One” that was featured in The Atlantic.  She is the recipient of the 2013 Maria Popova Scholarship for Homecoming to Purpose and the SVA Henry Wolf scholarship. Her writing has been featured in Designers and Books, Design Observer, Core77, and a forthcoming book of essays published by the Cooper-Hewitt. At D-Crit, she has written about the neon Pepsi sign in Long Island City, a profile on the brand director of the Museum of Sex, and bouts of ontological discomfort at 5-star hotels in Bangkok. She aspires to write the first compendium of national symbols covering all countries around the world.

Anna Marie Smith

Anna Marie Smith is a design researcher with fluency in multiple media platforms. She specializes in social media and has created content for companies including Jola USA and Speak Thunder Films. During her time at D-Crit, Anna Marie’s research topics have ranged from the fashion choices of Swedish pop star Robyn to chickens in Park Slope. Her thesis focused on the architecture of tiny houses in rural America and micro-apartments in New York City. She has conducted research for Metropolis, created a podcast for Design Observer, and blogged for Dwell magazine. She has also received fellowships to attend The Feast Conference and the United Nation Foundation’s Social Good Summit. Anna Marie is currently working on a project that investigates the design of college readiness programs across the nation and is organizing college admission workshops for non-profit organizations. Anna Marie received a BA in Theatre from Davidson College in North Carolina, where she was a recipient of the Staley Scholarship and Dean Rusk grant.

Amanda Vallance

Amanda grew up in New Zealand, and has worked between New York and her home base in Shanghai to accomplish her MFA in Design Criticism. She was the recipient of SVA’s Henry Wolf Scholarship and Silas H. Rhodes Award. While conducting thesis research on the practices of contemporary Chinese fashion designers, Amanda interviewed some of China’s most prominent fashion designers, including Wang Yiyang (Zuczug) and Qiu Hao. Amanda is interested in design and visual culture developments in emergent countries like China, and she promotes and writes about critical fashion design and sustainable fashion design business. With undergraduate degrees in business administration (marketing and management) and the arts (design studies and art history), and an eight-year, multi-national career working in brand strategy, brand design, and marketing communications/advertising management, Amanda aims to continue working in management, research, and content-creation capacities at the intersection of design, visual culture, and business.


6.Previous Conferences