The Rainbow Connection

D. Villella
Exhibition and Experience Design

About this Item

The Rainbow Connection
Contributor Names
Villella, D. (Author)
Cowan, Brenda (Thesis advisor)
Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Exhibition and Experience Design (Degree granting institution)
Degree Information
M.A. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York 2023
Department: Exhibition and Experience Design
Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 85-08
Advisor: Brenda Cowan
Committee members: Paul Melton; Christina Lyons; Peter Hyde; Theodore Nordlander; Sara DeAngelis; Christina Ferwarda; Margaret Middleton; Scott A. Kraemer
This document is arranged in two sections. Part One explores theory, and Part Two outlines the application of this theory in a project.
Part One studies the issues affecting connectivity in the Queer community, and considers the opportunities dialogic exhibitions present in forging stronger bonds between Queer individuals and Queer social groups. The theory stems from research on gentrification, urban development, and psychology. The exhibition homes in on the power of feeling welcomed in a place, and how feeling welcomed impacts Queer people from several facets. Building awareness of the self and of the struggles of others, and then facing those struggles through interpersonal dialogue with other Queer people begins to wear away the generally false notion that some Queer people are not welcome in many Queer spaces. Fostering awareness in this manner builds on psychological research that shows how identifying the struggles of others and relating them to your own builds empathy for that individual or group. Creating opportunity for dialogue to take place and to continue creates new bonds and creates opportunity for them to be cemented.
Part Two demonstrates how social and emotional mechanisms can be deployed in dialogic exhibition, in an environment that openly welcomes all Queer people: first, by creating a welcoming environment that embraces all identities, and then by allowing visitors to explore their own Queerphobias, building a basis for them to overcome them. The next stage focuses on oppression and explores it from political, social, and economic perspectives, and how it relates to broader acceptance of Queer people. Following this, dialogue is activated between two individuals through a curated experience and continues to the final stage where more social conversation can take place, and where individuals will have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences. The applied project includes all elements of exhibition content development; sourcing of artifacts and objects relevant to the narrative, or facsimiles thereof; interior and spatial design; the design of graphics, audio visual elements, and fixtures; the specification of finishes, furnishings, and lighting; and fabrication detailing documentation.
Keywords: Psychology, Connectivity, Dialogic exhibitions, Queer social groups, Queer individuals, Queerphobias
Gender studies
Social integration
In Copyright
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FIT Repository ID: etd_000964
pqdiss: 30988836
URN/ISBN: 9798381448818
Related Materials
Also available from ProQuest
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses,


Villella, D. (2023). The Rainbow Connection [Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York]. FIT Institutional Repository.
Villella, D. The Rainbow Connection. 2023. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, Master's thesis. FIT Digital Repository,
Villella, D. "The Rainbow Connection." Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2023.