So, what’s Project Naptural?
Project Naptural (nappy+natural) is the result of a design research thesis that studies in what ways design can assist in overcoming the negative perceptions Black women come to know about their naturally afro-textured hair. Project Naptural is an initiative for awareness, connection and the overall empowerment of Black women with naptural hair. This cultural issue has been brought to the forefront with the Natural Hair Movement (not just a fashion trend) and combined with primary research (interviews, focus groups, surveys, etc.), Terresa Hardaway, MFA has found a need for free knowledge about the many aspects of caring for and styling Black naptural hair. She has created a connective system in which this free knowledge may exists and empower Black women to live life napturally in both a physical space (The Nap Network 1.0: The Art Exhibition) and coming soon to a cyber space (The Nap Network 2.0: The Mobile Application).
About the Researcher
Terresa Hardaway is a professor, community empowered, visual communications designer, fashion designer and naptural hair enthusiast. She graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and minor in African-American Studies from the University of North Texas in 2008. In 2009, Terresa was selected to be a part of the apparel and graphic design department at MTC Marketing, Inc. in Dallas, Texas where she lead the women’s and children’s sportswear categories and designed promotional materials for licensed product on behalf of NFL, NHL, and NCAA for over five years. She completed her Master of Fine Arts in Design with a concentration in Design Research and a minor in Anthropology from the UNT in 2015.
Currently, Terresa helps to positively affect the lives of young men and women interested in design and design/marketing as an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her design research interests include; Black natural hair, empowering marginalized communities, socially conscience design, racism in graphic design, police brutality and rewriting denigrating social narratives. She includes these interests in her classroom by assigning projects that allow students to explore their interests and use their uniques voices as designers to affect positive change in communities unlike their own. She continues her own research on these topics by working individually, with a number of academics across the country, presenting at conferences and by connecting with surrounding organizations that represent people of color to use design as a means of opportunity for communities that might not otherwise have one.