Bree A. McMahon
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences
Bree McMahon attended Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin where she received both a BA in Art History and a BA in Graphic Design. Curious about the intersection between design, history, and culture, she began her career in print journalism. Her time working at a newspaper facilitated a growing interest in designing for community engagement. Consequently, she began working with start-ups, small businesses, and non-profits, primarily focused on designing strategies that connect brands with their communities.
After five years as a graphic designer, she returned to graduate school and earned her Masters of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University’s College of Design. There, she established a research agenda that explores designing conditions for collaborative conversations within professional and student studio settings. She is driven by the discovery of accessible and innovative pedagogical methods that foster connections amongst design students. Concerned with how design can be used to both solve and discover problems, Bree has presented, participated and had work featured at conferences (nationally and abroad) and in various publications pertaining to design research.
At the University of Arkansas, Bree teaches classes in graphic design as well as Foundations studios with BFA applicants. She is currently working to develop a new History of Graphic Design course to be incorporated into the BFA curriculum during the Spring 2019 semester. Bree also serves as the faculty advisor for the student AIGA group.
Currently, Bree is working with her research partner, Rachael L. Paine, a fellow designer and educator, to explore methods for disrupting traditional approaches to design pedagogy. Together, they develop and facilitate workshops for design students that examine complex topics through dialogical project prompts while incorporating opportunities for student conversations that encourage critical perspective and learning.