Design Process









Design Research, Storytelling, and Entrepreneur Women in Rural Costa Rica: a case study 

Maria Gabriela Hernandez 

University of Houston

Keywords: visual storytelling; rural ecotourism; design research; empathic design


This paper describes a project exploring design research practices and empathic design to produce context-specific knowledge to inform and facilitate visual storytelling, in collaboration with the Women’s Association of Chira Island, a rural ecotourism association from the Pacific of Costa Rica. While their pioneering ecotourism projects have gained national recognition, its members have faced multiple challenges, including reassessing gender and social roles and furthering their capacity to support development in the community. Their experiences and stories became their most valuable asset, triggering the need to communicate them to benefit similar populations. The contents of this project were developed during three field research visits and two years of collaborative design work, employing “ time,” “space,” and “voice” to contextualize the stories. This investigation resulted in printed materials and videos designed for mobility and easy reproduction to be used by the association as tools to inspire women in similar rural areas. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Hernandez, M.G. (2016). Design Research, Storytelling, and Entrepreneur Women in Rural Costa Rica: a case study. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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