Lydia Hooper is a socially and civically engaged artist, designer, writer, and collaborator. She has partnered with more than 50 organizations and networks, helping them communicate about complex information and collective impact. Lydia founded and co-leads Denver Data Storytellers, a local cross-disciplinary professional network.
Lydia and her work has been featured on numerous blogs, in Photographer’s Forum and USA Today, on Esri’s Story Maps online gallery, KGNU and CPR radio programs, and in planetarium programs at science museums nationwide. She has presented on topics at dozens of events including Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, Collective Impact Summit, AIGA-Colorado and Redline Gallery. She’s also produced custom visuals for numerous events including International Association for Public Participation's North American Conference, TEDxMileHigh, Denver Art Museum's Untitled, Denver Startup Week, Colorado Creative Industries Summit, and Tapestry Conference on data storytelling.
In 2013, Lydia was recognized at the National Conference on Citizenship for leading a cross-disciplinary team to win bronze in the national Civic Data Challenge. Lydia graduated summa cum laude with an interdisciplinary B.A. from the University of Colorado-Denver.
For as long as I can remember, I've been making things. Drawings, lists, charts, stories... The only thing I've liked as much as making is learning. I’ve never shied away from diving into challenging (or, as some consider them, “boring”) concepts and equations. Yet as a child, I discovered that creating things challenges not just my thinking, but my way of thinking. It is a powerful key that continues to unlock doors for me.
As a young adult, I wanted to share this experience with others. I wanted to empower them with knowledge and transformational experiences. So I learned to make the "boring" less so and to become a trusted ally. For almost a decade, I taught kids of all ages in numerous environments, from an orphanage in Russia to a camp in the mountains of North Carolina to a Montessori classroom in Boulder, Colorado to galleries at Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I also studied human physiology and pathology, volunteered as a massage therapist for hospice patients, and wrote ethics questions for the national bodywork certification exam.
Eventually I wove my many interests and skills together into a multi-disciplinary degree. During my academic studies, I came to better understand myself how complex the important issues of our time truly are. I also came to believe that creative approaches are absolutely vital to address them.
The organizations that I have partnered with since, those working tirelessly to address these issues, have shown me time and time again that success boils down to sharing knowledge thoughtfully and intentionally. In my service to them, I have rediscovered that visuals are hands down the most effective (and fun!) tool for both navigating and generating the relationships, ideas, and actions necessary for transformation.
If you are struggling with complexity of some kind - whether it be in data and research or in multi-stakeholder conversations - don't let it stand in the way of your vision. Let’s explore together how we might unlock the door!