Radiant Equity

I recently had the pleasure of attending the DML 2015 conference, which is sponsored by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and is supported by the MacArthur Foundation. Kim Douillard and I were there with Doretta Winkleman and Tanya Baker to give a presentation on the Intersections research project that the San Diego Area Writing Project completed in partnership with the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.


Our presentation went well, and the conference was exceptional. I learned a lot from the keynote speakers, plenary presenters, and panelists—and the Ignite Talks were energizing. By the end of the third day I felt empowered, inspired—and tired.  I didn’t know it, but I needed a creative outlet.

I headed to the #CLMOOC-style Mini Make Cycle workshop hosted by Anna Smith and Kim Douillard who shared a simple but engaging activity. Each participant was given a pair of dice and a two-column chart with six words listed in each column. After rolling the dice, we matched the numbers to the list of words. I rolled a 5 and a 1, which made my two-word phrase radiant equity.

dice game I was stumped. I had no idea how to use the random craft items displayed on the table to interpret radiant equity. In my frustration, I grabbed sheets of blue, green, and purple construction paper and a pair of the decorative scissor and started cutting.

IMG_9504 Without a plan, I cut three almost identical spirals that I connected and placed on a white background. When I stood back and looked, I thought that the design was pleasing and felt that the intertwined spirals could adequately represent both radiance and equity. In fact, a woman passing by the table noticed it and said, “Cool!” I politely thanked her, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Original Spirals

I took a photo of the spirals and began experimenting with iPhone apps. I decided to overlay the words radiant equity on the spirals using WordFoto, but my first attempt was a failure. The words appeared on the white background—not just on the spirals as I had imagined.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_2015_06_30_22:41:45 It didn’t take me long to realize that I should try inverting the colors using Photoshop Express in order to make the background black. When I uploaded the inverted image into WordFoto, it worked. The words radiant equity appeared only on the spirals!


I tweeted it and thought I was done. I didn’t know that I would return to those words and that image several more times.

For my initial CLMOOC 2015 introduction before the first Make Cycle even began, I decided to post the radiant equity image again. Deciding not to make something new seemed lazy, but I was proud of it and felt that the design expressed something about me as a person and a maker.

When Make Cycle 1: Unmake Intro, was underway, I started playing with radiant equity again. I opened the original in Photoshop on my Mac and adjusted the colors and repeated the pattern in spirals of different sizes. I added a border before copying and pasting the image to make a quilt-like effect. It was eye-catching, and I mistakenly thought I was done with the design.

radiant equity quilt As soon as I saw the email for Make Cycle 2: Re(MEDIA)te With Me , I thought about re(MEDIA)ting the design even further. I wanted to add movement, but I didn’t know how to animate an image. I starting researching and quickly discovered makeagif.com, which was easy to use. However, once again, I wasn’t satisfied.

Radiant_EquityAs I was considering additional transformations, I realized that I could make radiant equity into a positive statement about the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. I wanted to use the words radiant equity with my spiral design as a “fill” for the font, but I couldn’t remember how to do that complicated task in Photoshop. Luckily, I found a tutorial from PhotoshopEssentials.com that was easy to follow, and I was able to convert the font fairly quickly—but I still wasn’t satisfied.

radiant equity TEXT I changed the colors and filled the background with black. I then copied, pasted, and adjusted the hues in order to make six rows of radiant equity—the number of colors on a rainbow flag.

radiant equity flag And finally, I was satisfied.

When I rolled that pair of dice and received the words radiant equity, I didn’t know that the phrase would be so phophetic. No one at the “Equity by Design” conference could have possibly predicted that our nation would be celebrating a landmark Supreme Court opinion with wedding bells just a couple of weeks later.

My original design has become more meaningful to me and radiant equity has even more significance than I initially realized. I have played with the spirals and words and have morphed them into new forms. In the end, the graphic expresses my joy that love and equality have prevailed.

Re(MEDIA)tion is powerful, and equity is radiant.

This entry was posted in Creating, Creativity, Equity, Making, Teaching, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Radiant Equity

  1. kd0602 says:

    I’m so glad you are blogging again Janis. I always enjoy reading your writing! I love how this “make” has continued to morph and add layers of meaning as it intersects with new ideas, new media, and current events. Radiant equity indeed!

  2. dogtrax says:

    See? THIS is the kind of blog posting and writing that I love so much … taking us into the creative process of the make itself … and all the paths along the way … wish more people would do that … when we think of our students as learners, this is what we want to see … right?

  3. Are you sure you are finished? 😛

  4. This was so lovely! I thought so much about iteration, about what gives us permission to step outside of our comfort zones, and what nudges us to keep coming back to something yet unfinished.

  5. Love the product and your sharing the process; I have been stumped on this all week and think this is a really helpful post chronicling what you did and why. Thanks!

  6. Pingback: Make Cycle #2: ReMEDIAte with Me! Reflections and Connections — CLMOOC 2015

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