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about

Designer and artist interrogating societal, historical and institutional forces against individual and collective identity.



Zainab Aliyu (Zai pronounced /zā/) is a Nigerian-American designer / artist / cultural worker based in Brooklyn, New York. Her transdisciplinary practice leverages critical pedagogy, contextual inquiry and the human side of technology to interrogate societal, historical and institutional forces against individual and collective identity. She seeks to use speculative storytelling and thoughtful interventions to catalyze resilience, resistance and radical hope within communities.

current engagements Facilitating community (de)programming to heal generational trauma and the collective consciousness at Black Girl Magik · designing creative tools for identity expression on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp · publishing an anthology of one-act plays about identity and anonymity in digital and physical realms recent listens
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    Curriculum Vitae
    education

    Carnegie Mellon University

    BFA with Honors, Communication Design & Human-Computer Interaction

    May 2017

    Panels, Workshops & Talks

    "Diversity in Tech Panel: On Ethical Design" Microsoft x HackFest, New York, NY, April 2019

    "The Future of Community Healing for Women of Color" SXSW, Austin, TX, March 2019

    "Black Solidarity Conference" Yale University, New Haven, CT, February 2019

    "In Convo with Collectives" Powrplnt, Brooklyn, NY, January 2019

    "Transcending Time: Open Research Studio" Powrplnt, Brooklyn, NY, January 2019

    "The Hack That Made ___," University of Southern California - Iovine & Young Academy, Los Angeles, CA, October 2018

    "Intro to Visual Design Workshop," University of Southern California - Iovine & Young Academy, Los Angeles, CA, October 2018

    "Mobile App Design Summer Bootcamp" Facebook x Inneract Project, Menlo Park, CA, June 2018

    "Design for Non-Designers," Facebook & Instagram, Menlo Park, CA, December 2017

    Group Exhibitions

    "Our Stories: Returning Home" Junior High Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, June 2018

    "I Live, We Live: What Did We Miss?" Center of Life, Pittsburgh, PA, May 2017

    "Power and The Soul" The Frame Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, January 2017

    "F.O.C.U.S. Friends Only Cause Ugly Sketches" Miller ICA, Pittsburgh, PA, December 2016

    "Lunar Gala: Strain" Carnegie Mellon University Lunar Gala, Pittsburgh, PA, February 2016

    grants & awards

    100 Women List of 2019, OkayAfrica, March 2019

    Girlboss Foundation Grant, Girlboss, May 2018

    Lee Goldman Scholarship Award, Carnegie Mellon School of Design, May 2016

    Students to Watch, Graphic Design USA, February 2016

    residencies & fellowships

    Powrplnt Winter Residency: Black Girl Magik, Powrplnt, Brooklyn, NY, Winter 2019

    Interaction Design Fellowship, Betti Ono Gallery, Oakland, CA, Spring 2018