Upon entering the Writing and Digital Communication (WDC) program at Agnes Scott College, I was excited to try new means of creative expression. Fresh off an intensive creative writing program at the University of London, I was eager to explore the digital side of media production. I knew that I wanted to write for the marginalized, for people like myself; my mantra has been: I represent Black Muslim Women in the South or some combination thereof. This has allowed me to tell diverse stories in front of audiences who may have never encountered them otherwise. I have been able to explore different modes of Digital Design and what it means to see a campaign or idea through from inception to production. Each piece for each class spoke to a different aspect of my goals for my work. The research and critical thinking of Dr. Ivanova’s classes spoke to my Social Science background and desire to understand the theory behind our work; while Dr. Palma’s classes allowed me to develop skills in Content Strategy and Editing that have already been applied to real-world experiences and employment.
As an Agnes Scott Alum, I also anticipated that I would learn and engage in the Social Challenges of producing and writing digital media content. What I did not anticipate, was that my entire perspective on what accessibility means would change. From learning about the public sphere in Critical Communication, to the intricacies of accessible web design in Social Media and Digital Portfolio Design, I have a new point of view on privilege in regards to digital literacy. When creating accessible content, I’ve learned that there is a delicate balance between accessibility and creativity. It takes a lot of hard work, forethought, and execution on the back end to effectively marry the two.
This was definitely one of my biggest challenges throughout my time in the Writing and Digital Communication program. How can I represent the marginalized and adhere to my ethos of #RepresentationMatters, especially for black Muslim women such as myself, without ostracizing another group in the process? I’m grateful to have learned this lesson in an environment such as that which Agnes Scott provides, as it allowed me to create and prototype in order to maximize the effectiveness of any product I would provide for a potential client.
I’ve also learned that the ability to create accessible content often hinges on whether or not the content strategy is clear to begin with. At the end of the Digital Portfolio class, I felt that I had achieved the goals of SEO and Accessibility but had left myself behind along the way. After time away from the portfolio, only checking in periodically, I was able to look at the material subjectively and divine a way to marry the two. This speaks to not only how much thought must go into the Content Strategy for a site, but how, once it has been established clearly, the design elements fall into place.
The Writing and Digital Communication program has allowed me to explore aspects of my intentions for my work in a way that was often uncomfortable but forced me to grow and practice transparency in every aspect of my life.