Celebrating female creatives #IWD22

March 8, 2022

This year’s International Women’s Day campaign encourages us to break biases and champion women that are forging paths in their chosen field. To celebrate the work of women creating innovation through technology and design we sat down with some of the people that make up the beating heart of creativity at Clear Horizon.

Coming from a data background, Clear Horizon Consultant Adriana Mendieta has a drive to find meaningful solutions that weave together stories and insights from data. She is delighted to see more women joining the ranks of data specialist across the board.

“When I was drawn to work in community development, gender equality was a big part of it. There is a lot of growth in this area. In community development, we used to talk about applying a gender lens in our work in the past, but that is no longer just a gender lens but rather a gender, equality, and social inclusion (GESI) lens that encompasses more intersections.”

Clear Horizon Graphic Designer Yuanita Moore sees International Women’s Day as an opportunity to reflect and make a commitment to do our part to create an equal future for all women.

“I’m proud to be a woman surrounded by strong women at home and at work. It’s a privilege that I don’t take for granted as it’s not the case everywhere.”

The pair work together to create visually striking ways of presenting data to better communicate impact and help drive social and environmental change. In a recent project, they developed real-time interactive data dashboards for the Connected Beginnings program harnessing captivating colour and content, which was a finalist in the 2021 SIMNA Awards.

“For Connected Beginnings, we went for a playful style to reflect data representing children and their journey towards starting school. We play with colours and icons, wanting the look to be something that the communities can feel ownership over. Not being Indigenous artists ourselves, we have a responsibility to not appropriate while designing.” says Adriana.

“I looked to the pieces already connected to the Connected Beginnings program to find icons and colours that complement them, leaning on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) guidelines for incorporating Indigenous art when needed.” says Yuanita

What does the process look like when you start building something like the Connected Beginnings dashboards?

“We ask ourselves what data is meaningful and useful when we start the dashboard process – these two words are the beacon of light that we follow” says Adriana.

“Looking at the program’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) framework, we boil it down to a dashboard mock up and do several rounds of testing with stakeholders to know we are settling on something that makes sense to them.”

Yuanita points out that context is key once the mock-up dashboards land on her drawing board.

“Once I knew what the story was and the purpose of having this information available to the communities and to government, I could start creating a storyline with the illustrations.”

For the pair the rewarding end result is to know that they’ve brought something to life that gives communities a clear picture of local progress supporting decision making where it matters most.

“These boards will continue to develop as the program grows and changes – that is one way that digital solutions can really fit into the measurement, evaluation and learning process and mindset” says Adriana.

Is there a woman that inspires you in your work?

Adriana: “Ellise Barkley (Acting Group Director, Clear Horizon) inspires me. She leads our team and is a powerful woman with an amazing ability to subtly guide and stay anchored in community for all decisions – she coaches you with encouragement to be creative in our approach.”

Yuanita: “For me it’s Alison Lester. She is an Australian author and illustrator of children’s books who creates warm stories with visuals that brings you a sense of belonging in childhood memories.”

Funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), Connected Beginnings supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children and their families to be school ready, aiming to close the gap in social and educational outcomes between First Nation children and non-Indigenous children.