University of the Fraser Valley

Lieutenant Governor’s Medal: Frankie Fowle believes storytelling creates discussion

Lieutenant Governor’s Medal: Frankie Fowle believes storytelling creates discussion

Lieutenant Governor’s Medal winner Frankie Fowle.

UFV student Frankie Fowle believes misunderstanding springs from not being aware, and storytelling is a powerful way to foster understanding. That’s the philosophy which carried her through four years of university and it’s the reason she’s the 2024 winner of the Lieutenant Governor’s medal.

The award goes annually to a student in a certificate, diploma, or degree program who has made outstanding contributions in support of inclusion, democracy, or reconciliation, on or off campus. Fowle found out she’d won the medal after answering a phone call from James Mandigo, UFV Provost and Vice-President, Academic. She says it was unexpected.

“I was surprised, and I feel super honoured to win that award.”

Fowle, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Graphic and Digital Design program, is a visual storyteller who searches out projects that focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity.

“One thing I worked on was designing the branding for Fraser Valley Pride Festival, which was nominated for a Cultural Diversity Award,” says Fowle, who identifies as part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. “I look for projects that create opportunities for discussion because I feel like people don’t always understand what it feels like to be part of a minority community.”

Fowle is also a parent of a teenager, and says she’s fueled by the desire to create a more welcoming community for the next generation.

Discussions her work sparks can be difficult, and she welcomes that. Fowle prides herself on listening to different perspectives, even if she disagrees with them.

“I’m a firm believer that when you take the time to listen, it opens the door for critical thinking and fosters empathy,” she says.

Fowle’s capstone project was all about inclusion as she designed an accessible board game for people with visual impairments. She was inspired by her father-in-law, a board game enthusiast who is colour blind and has trouble discerning pieces.

“He often asks, ‘What colour or pattern is this?’” she explains. “He was helpful during the design process. Even when I thought the colours I used were accessible, he told me he still couldn’t see them, and there wasn’t enough contrast on the board. He was pivotal with his input, and it helped me create a much better version of the game.”

Fowle presented the board game on Student Research Day, March 28, and it won the Humanities Award.

WATCH: Hear from Frankie firsthand about the board game she designed and created:

Next up this fall is the transition to Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, where she plans to continue her story-telling ways. She’s in the process of trying to secure funding to produce a documentary on queer history in the Fraser Valley, and she says UFV has prepared her well for what’s ahead.

“My teachers were always open to discussions around harder topics, and they were OK with me challenging their ideas,” Fowle says. “I found it to be a great experience. I feel I’ve made great relationships and connections at UFV that I’ll take forward into the next step in my journey.”