Arts and Humanities


Child labor is an issue that affects an estimated 168 million children globally. Though attention is often given to Asia in regards to the use of child labor, Africa, in fact, has the largest population of child laborers. Within West Africa, roughly 25% of all children are forcibly engaged as child laborers. Few countries in the region are more intimately associated with the issue than Ghana, where almost half of the child population works in what the International Labour Organization defines as the “worst forms of child labor,” that is, “work that is mentally, physically, socially, or morally dangerous and harmful to children and interferes with their schooling.”[1] This type of work can include prostitution, slavery, forced recruitment for armed conflict, and, as seen prominently in Ghana, trafficking and forced labor.[2] Many children are trafficked and forcibly employed in the fishing industry in the Lake Volta region. During their “employment,” they typically work from dawn to dusk in dangerous environments with violent overseers for no pay. The Ghanaian NGO Challenging Heights works to combat the presence of child labor in this industry by rescuing and rehabilitating the young laborers and educating communities about the consequences of this system.

My project explores and educates about the practice of and resistance against child labor in Ghana’s fishing industry. Specifically, it focuses on the trafficking and use of children in the Lake Volta region and the response by the NGO Challenging Heights. This is accomplished through the format of an exhibition design proposal. The design is structured so as to theoretically be constructed in the Grand Valley Art Gallery space. Many in the Grand Valley and surrounding Grand Rapids community share a passionate for the issue of trafficking and therefore the information presented in the exhibition will allow these visitors, as well as those with little familiarity on the topic, to both connect with and learn more about the issue. The exhibition will be photograph-intensive with several objects included.

The report that follows details the rationale for the exhibition as well as the object selection and physical layout of the proposed exhibition space. The script provides the exhibition’s narrative by describing the central focus and goals, while the vision outlines the anticipated learning, emotional, and behavior objectives for visitors. The layout provides a blueprint of the exhibition’s design and where objects will be placed. The implementation explains how my design and object selection choices support the exhibition’s script and vision. The object list and justification section lists the objects that will appear in each exhibit as well as why they were selected and how each supports the script. The section labels provide the factual background and context necessary for visitors to understand and appreciate the content of each exhibit. The object labels describe and create context for each individual object and allow visitors to better understand the narrative of each exhibit and the exhibition as a whole.

Additional Files

2 Object Referral List.docx (10292 kB)
Object Referral List

3 Layout PowerPoint.pptx (164157 kB)
Layout PowerPoint

4 Presentation PowerPoint.pptx (2727 kB)
Presentation PowerPoint