Designed by first-year student Phuong Anh Nguyen, UNITY is a platform that asks the question, What is a person's cultural identity when s/he can identify with two contradicting cultures? "For users with a mixed cultural background and are confused about their cultural identity," Phuong Anh offers, "UNITY is an app that helps them redefine their identity."
What is a person's cultural identity when s/he can identify with two contradicting cultures?
The app steps the user through a sequence of questions that prompts users to reflect on their own values—choosing from a series of visuals depicting different ways of life.
These value choices are saved in an album-like collection, where users can return to view them anytime they want. Once a set of profiles is created, the user can move on to the UNITY podcast—a curated collection of stories of those who are struggling, or have overcome, cultural or racial issues in their lives.
Podcast episodes cover a range of shared challenges—from the cultural struggle of being in an interracial marriage, to advancing one’s career on an H-1B visa. In each, the UNITY podcast hopes to inform and validate the user’s experiences with real stories from real people.
Finally, UNITY also has a physical extension tying back to the podcast:A pencil set imprinted with provoking prompts displayed at cultural exhibitions such as Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
"Together," Phuong Anh hopes, "the app and pencils encourage users to take in other people's experiences and then reflect them back out through personal note-taking. Here, I'm hoping for a thoughtful redefining of their multifaceted identity."