MA Narrative Environments

Numberfit Role Models Alicia Nahmad and Menzi

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).

image showing the webpage design featuring Numberfit Role Model Alicia Nahmad career trajectory through a portrait photograph and icons related to her work.
above: webpage for Numberfit Role Model Alicia Nahmad.

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. 

image of the packaging for the customisable 'art' robot object.
above: image of the packaging for the customisable ‘art’ robot object.

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.

Image of the 'art robot' made from a perforated cardboard base with pens inserted in it, drawing on white paper.
above: the ‘art’ robot in action.

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. 

image of the webpage layout for Numberfit Role Model Menzi's featuring a portrait photograph, and a  map with symbols representing places and significant moments in his life on a pink background.
above: webpage for Numberfit Role Model Menzi.

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.

Image of the audio-responsive story map design on a purple board with geological data and interactive blocks to place on the map.
above: the audio responsive story map of Menzi’s life and experiences.

Student Team: 

Emma Brohan, Lilly Marshall, Mariella Hilton, Gracia Mutombo, Winter Willoughby-Spera