Village Works

Merit Award

Village Works: Photographs by Women in China's Yunnan Province

Village Works is an exhibition of a photo project documenting life in a remote Chinese province, with photos taken by local women. Designing the show meant dealing with issues of how to appropriately show the photos in the context of an art museum. Sealing them off in frames would signify them as art and possibly obscure their immediacy. Also, there were no original prints to show; the photos had been scanned and existed digitally.

To present the work, the photos were digitally output on paper or silk and stretched and hung on plywood and steel kiosks. Staying away from classic images of village life such as pagodas, the designers used the forms of written Chinese characters to suggest cultural context. The kiosks were arranged to invoke the clustering in a village marketplace or town center. From certain angles the kiosks read as specific Chinese characters; for instance, the central kiosk forms the character for "woman." Others are more suggestive and only readable from above.

Jury Comments: 

"The jury appreciated the uncluttered design approach in the creation of this exhibit environment. The texture of the materials used, the variety of scale in the graphic elements and the simplicity of the kiosk structures allow the photographs an appropriate context where they can "speak" on their own terms. Although not immediately noticeable in the photos, printing the images on silk adds a subtle texture that fits the subject matter."

Design Firm: 



The Davis Museum and Cultural Center

Location City: 

Wellesley, Massachusetts

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 


Design Team: 

J. Abbott Miller (Principal in Charge), James Hicks, Jeremy Hoffman





Related Links: 

New Member Offer

Click to access the 2020 "Never been an SEGD member before" $185 sign up offer

Upcoming SEGD Events

2023 SEGD Academic Summit
2023 Wayfinding and Placemaking
2023 Experience Washington D.C.