KUCD MFA SPOTLIGHT: Meet Bill Starkey, 2018 cohort

Why did you decide to go back to grad school for your MFA?
I wanted to explore different methods of storytelling, different processes of story creation, and a different perspectives on subjects and topics relevant to design and its expressions that over 20 years of working in the agency world doesn’t necessarily afford. The thought of having the freedom to research new things and explore and experiment without the fear of failure was also refreshing. This exploration and experimentation will in turn set me up for my ultimate goal – teaching at the university level.

Tell us about your KUCD MFA journey thus far.
My journey to date has me looking inward – trying to find things in me to add to my work; whether it be things about myself or unexplored interests leading to different ways of telling stories which I’m curious or passionate about.

What has been your favorite project to date.
It really changes daily. There are different parts of each exploratory that I enjoy, even some of the ideas that never came to fruition (I keep a running list of all of the ideas that didn’t quite make it to the proposal stage of any project). At this point, my favorite was a project where I took a traditional form folk art and reimagined the stories that the work could tell through the artwork. I used Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs) as a means to explore a little more about my heritage, modifying and inventing new symbols traditionally used on the eggs to highlight specific happenings, people and history of a country.

Each semester we meet for Journey week, the in-person first week of the semester before going online. Please describe Journey Week for someone interested in the KUCD MFA.
Imagine the most intense, soul-searching, eye-opening, mind-blowing-yet-sleep-deprived experience imaginable, where the only thing more powerful than the feeling of paralysis by uncertainty is the pull of curiosity. That’s pretty much Journey Week. And after the first one, it will be hard to wait for the next.

Fun fact about Bill
I’m about half way through my “see every continent” list.

I hear you have exciting news to share!

Yes! I had my project titled Roger accepted for presentation at the University College and Designers Association’s (UCDA) annual Design Educator’s Summit at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee. The project was founded in the course Contemporary Topics and delved into the experiences, and neglect, of older users of tech. Here’s a small excerpt from the presentation: “Have we alienated, and are we continuing to alienate, older generations when it comes to the design of technology and interfaces? As designers and educators, we are responsible for bringing beneficial technology to the masses. We must ensure that the products we build are useful to everyone, including an aging population with an ever-broadening range of abilities, interests, and expectations; a fact that is sometimes forgotten by designers, including younger designers, tasked with creating for an older generation with an understanding of technology and skillset that differs vastly from their own.”

Thanks Bill!