The third team of MA Narrative Environments first year students worked with Numberfit to introduce primary school children to two inspiring mathematician role models, Alicia Nahmad and Dr. Bongumenzi Sithembiso Nxumalo (Menzi to his friends).
Alicia Nahmad is an architect who integrates technology and sustainable materials in her designs. She grew up in the Mexico but is originally from Syria. Addressing the challenges of cultural alienation, gender discrimination and miscommunication that Alicia overcame in her career, the MA Narrative Environments student team designed an online character profile, an interactive object and a role play game.
They made a beautifully packaged, customisable ‘art’ robot made from carboard and a vibrating mechanism, that children assemble to create artworks. In the role play, the school children find themselves in a situation based on a childhood experience of Alicia’s when she witnessed a woman managing a building site in Cancun. This inspired her career.
Role Model Menzi is a geo-archaeologist studying rocks and the earth to understand how people lived in the past. The webpage recounts Menzi’s background, family expectations, financial challenges and the racial discrimination he faced growing up in South Africa and studying for his PHD at Cambridge University.
Referencing Menzi’s archaeological work, the MA Narrative Environments team designed an audio-reactive story map, based on geological strata. It symbolises the significant places in Menzi’s life and inspired by GIS, a data and maths-driven story mapping tool, it is responsive, enabling different rock pieces to change colour as they are placed on the map.
Set in a dining hall at Cambridge University, through interactions directed by a series of character cards, the role play game, based on Menzi’s life experiences helps children gain insight into the communication issues and racial discrimination he overcame to pursue his career.
Emma Brohan, Lilly Marshall, Mariella Hilton, Gracia Mutombo, Winter Willoughby-Spera