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  • Manda Villarreal

DNA Test & Grant Proposal

Just a little update!

I have ordered my AncestryDNA test and it has arrived!! I'm nervous/excited to try it out.

I will pick it up Saturday, I get my packages delivered to my parents house in Fenton.

Here's the photo of the package my mom sent me! Lol

I also submitted my grant proposal yesterday for the IP grants. Hoping I get selected for funding! It was my first grant application process, and I'm glad now I have the experience of applying for a grant. It was also a chance for me to really think about how I want my project to be realized, how to clearly describe my project or have my "pitch line", and even manage my budget and think about the supplies I need. Below I attached a copy of my some grant proposal materials that will be helpful for the future with keeping track of budget, timeline etc.


Grant Materials:


In my IP Project, I am creating a hand-crafted book of illustrations, maps, photographs, infographics, etc, in order to explore the background of my family history and my biracial identity. Through collecting family genealogy data, testing my DNA, and conducting family interviews I will be formulating a family tree that will ideally stretch at least 6 generations worth of information. I will then realize this genealogy research in the form of a handmade book that unfolds and transforms into an immersive, interactive book display of endless information, narratives, and family history.

As a graphic designer, personal subject matter is not usually what I explore in my creative projects. Despite this clear concentration in my work, this craft and individually focused project is important for me to complete now because I explore race and identity very frequently in my design work, but not my own race and identity. In this project I will instead turn the tables around and explore my own background and not the identities of the public. Sealing my Bachelor’s degree by exploring my own racial background I believe will in turn justify and spark a greater interest in these themes within my design projects.

This project is significant to others no matter the personal subject matter because it can help others understand the complexity of multiple identities held by the average biracial young American. Having to carry the history of various backgrounds on your own can be overwhelming. In turn this can make you feel unconnected or “not enough” of certain parts of your identity. I myself feel closer to certain parts of my heritage and also completely unfamiliar with others. This can be very discouraging and isolating. This project I see as an inspiration for others to explore parts of their ancestry they’re unfamiliar with so they can reclaim the parts of their identity they may have lost along the way from generation to generation.

As I stated above, I plan to realize this project as a hand-crafted book, or set of books, that include many avenues of bookmaking practices. This includes paper cutouts, pop-ups, illustrations, photography, collage, design, etc. I will use book-binding materials from Hollander’s to bind my own book(s) along with my book-binding experience from the Florilegium course with Cathy Barry to execute. The pages of my book will be mixed media paper I cut and fold myself, and I will use Epson paper to print out the images and graphics needed for the pages. The graphics will be applied to the book paper along with other textures, paper, scrapbook supplies, etc. to intricately craft every page of my book(s). Each individual page or section will represent an individual person in my family and each unfold will lead to a new person for an endless and expansive exploration of my ancestry. The book(s) will expand and stretch completely across my pedestal display, even as far as folding onto the floor like an overflowing glass. The capacity and amount of material will be staggering, but the pace of viewing the information from page to page will leave the viewer feeling wondrous.

My timeline consists of continuously researching my genealogy, building my family tree, and finding sources and similarly artists to direct and inspire my project. The next step will be completing my DNA test, which is ordered and awaiting arrival. Regarding book construction, after finalizing the design concept and prototyping my book(s) ideal form, I will begin the book construction process. This will take up most of my December leading into review and also the winter semester following. It will be the most time consuming portion of this project. Lastly, I will create the book set packaging if needed, complete my written thesis and show at the senior exhibition.


I'm also planning on applying for the artengine grant and the arts at michigan grant in the near future. ArtsEngine is due Nov 22 and Arts at Michigan is due Nov 29th, and now I have the perfect start for my applications.

- Manda V.

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