Meet the SFU Public Square Team: Nola Mellon

Mon, 13 Mar 2023

Gabrielle Parent
Communications Lead, SFU Public Square

In late November 2022, SFU Public Square welcomed Nola Mellon to our team as the Design Coordinator. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, they have a BA in Visual Communication Design and a Diploma in Graphic Design. With a passion for continuous learning and unlearning, Nola is drawn towards projects surrounding social justice and community engagement. At the start of their fourth month at SFU Public Square, we sat down with Nola to discuss their impressions so far and the projects they are most excited about.

Gabrielle: What drew you working with SFU Public Square?

Nola: I really admire the work being done by Public Square as it creates spaces for change by hosting difficult and important conversations and knowledge exchanges with the community. I wanted to engage in meaningful work – to continue my own learning and unlearning – and I believe working with SFU Public Square is a perfect way to do that! 

What led you to pursue an education/career in design?

I always loved to draw as a child! My friends would come over to play and I would always want to draw together (which strangely wasn’t their idea of fun...) Later, when I was in high school, I had a temporary work placement with a graphic design agency, and for the first time I realized design was a job that I could and wanted to do. Since then, I have never looked back! While studying design in university, I gained hands-on experience and began using design as a tool for social change and community connection. These guiding principles continue to impact me today in my career. 

You have mentioned that you are drawn to projects surrounding social justice and community. How do you think design supports communication with audiences and community engagement?

I think art and design have always been used to engage communities with social issues. I’m very interested in the history of zine culture and its use within underground political activism and community-building. By sharing the stories, ideas, and experiences of marginalized voices through self-published and usually handmade zines, communication was accessible and quickly distributed throughout various communities. In my opinion, those types of design practices can ignite real change.

We're excited to have you on our team and bring your skills in design! What are you most eager to tackle this year?

I am eager to get involved in projects that engage the community in important conversations on topics that are both wanted and needed. Given the current state of the world – with multiple health, societal, and political crises happening at once – there are so many essential discussions to be had within our community.  
What podcast are currently listening to?

I am currently listening to adrienne marie brown and Autumn Brown’s podcast How to Survive the End of the World - it’s incredible. They recently finished their Love themed season, with each episode inspired by different sections of the book All About Love by bell hooks. I have learned so much from the Brown sisters and highly recommend their podcast! 

Outside of work, what's been keeping you busy these days?

Recently, I’ve been learning how to do handpoked tattoos, which has been very fun and challenging. It has become a great creative outlet for me and I’m hoping that by learning this new skill, I can work through some of my Virgo Sun perfectionist tendencies!

Please join us in welcoming Nola to the SFU Public Square team!