Pat MacKay Diversity In Design Scholarship Winner: Joss Green

video and media designer Joss Green

A video and media designer from Chicago, currently working toward a BFA at Carnegie Mellon University, Joss Green works primarily with appropriated cultural imagery and media design for theatrical productions and installations, exploring issues surrounding marginalization. Green hopes to pursue a career in concert media design and content, and most recently was the media designer for Chasing Elevation (2019), a show by the queer youth theatre ensemble, Dreams of Hope, and presented a Mainstage video, lighting, and sound collaboration project at the 2019 USITT Conference in Louisville, KY. Green is one of the six winners of the inaugural Pat MacKay Diversity in Design Scholarships.

Live Design: Why did you apply for the Pat MacKay Diversity In Design Scholarship?

Joss Green: I applied to the Pat McKay Diversity in Design Scholarship because I think it is incredibly important that the world of theatre design includes and uplifts diversity, specifically racial diversity. Programs and scholarships like this are very important to me, and when interest is shown for them, more diversity driven initiatives are formed and offered to the public. 

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LD: What made you interested in the field of lighting, projection/video, or audio design?

JG: Before I got to Carnegie Mellon, I was sure I wanted to do lighting design. Because the program features a year and a half of generalized tech theatre study, I was given the time to learn a little bit about all the design areas. When I went to my first projection crew call, I realized that media was what I had always been interested in but never had the words for. I appreciate the universal nature of video work and the way it can be so easily used to subvert the popular cultural narratives that are engrained in us from birth. 

LD: What are your career goals?

JG: I have always been incredibly drawn to music. I hope to work in the area of concert video design, as well as lyric and music videos. 

LD: How can the industry better serve underrepresented communities?

JG: As an industry, we need to do a better job talking about diversity. There is a misconception that a singular person can be diverse when they are in a room all by themselves and that misconception fuels a lot of hatred from people who are not considered "diverse." The truth of the matter is that people bring diversity to spaces because they bring different life experiences. We have to start looking at diversity as a necessary step to well-rounded storytelling. 

LD: What are your influences, albeit people or events?

JG: My strongest influence is the community I grew up in. I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, and I find my work reflecting my city and some of the more specific experiences I had while living there. I also use a lot of my work to contemplate Blackness and the struggles and joys that come with it.  

LD: Are there particular challenges you have faced? 

JG: The largest challenge I have faced is the significant amount of gender bias I have experienced. I am frequently the first nonbinary person that a lot of people I have worked with have ever met. I spend a lot of my energy teaching people to use my pronouns properly and correcting them when they make mistakes. 

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