Ivana D Monson

Final Show: 3rd - 4th February 2023
MA 2023

Bright. Adventurous. Thoughtful.

As a designer, I am passionate about creating narratives that move people.

After graduating with a B.S. in industrial design and working for the past 10 years as a designer and director, I found strength in my ability to articulate direction and lead teams to success. Aspiring to make a meaningful impact and tackle systemic challenges, I came to the RCA to hone my skills and earn my Master's in service design.

Outside the design studio, you will likely find me exploring the world with my husband Vizal, petting a cat, or tossing a disc with my old college ultimate frisbee teammates.

Final Project

Inspired by a passion for travel and eating, I was captivated by how we might reimagine the future of tourism for those that love learning about traditional food and culture. From a broader lens, I was interested in understanding how gastronomy influences people from different cultures to feel about each other and their respective countries. And how small nations could use gastrodiplomacy, a soft power tactic, to inspire respect and admiration in the international community.

This project studied often neglected rural farm communities in high-traffic tourist destinations and posited connecting them with travellers that would appreciate their unique practice. Focusing on the Croatian hinterland as a case study, I found a rich history of cultural traditions related to food and drink, many of which are at risk of disappearing.  At the same time, a growing market of gastro-tourists gave hope for a new wave of interest in these regions. An intimate exploration of these lands and people gave me the insight and inspiration to develop my final proposal:  Preserves, a platform for gastronomy lovers to organically share stories of terroir and support independent family farmers.

WIP project 2022

The Royal College of Art partnered with The White Eagle Appeal and leading design agency Hellon to expand U.K. services to the Ukrainian refugee community and to help define a system that could be scaled. A team of five co-designed a service concept entitled Context, a digital friend which helps newly arrived families settle in the U.K. 

Context is a browser extension which supports refugees by overlaying crowdsourced cultural interpretations of information onto existing websites. Context was developed and validated through a series of in-depth interviews, workshops and feedback sessions with members of the Ukrainian refugee community at the White Eagle Appeal.

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Hidden Kitchen

My thesis project centres on cultural preservation through tourism and food. Examining how stakeholders in the service industry might expand their offerings to meet the demands of travellers seeking authentic and rich experiences with respect to local communities. Focusing on food as an entry point for such cultural exchange, and the many ways we can experience food beyond just eating at a restaurant. As a part of this project, I will be exploring greater themes of cultural identity, travel ethics, and the hidden contributions of matriarchs in society.

I am currently seeking project partners that are interested in the future of travel.  Do you want to be a pioneer in the advancement of ethical tourism? Let's break bread!

*Pictured above is Maria making poi, educating the audience on this traditional Polynesian staple.