CPHI Seminar Series Kickoff: We Are All Homeless

Seminar Partner: Harnwell College House

Tuesday, September 13 5:00-8:00pm 

Harnwell College House Roofttop Lounge 




Willie Baronet has been buying and collecting signs from people on the streets since 1993. What began as a way to deal with discomfort and fear around seeing and connecting with people on the streets, turned into the realization that "there is no us and them. There's just us." Baronet now uses the signs in art installations in hopes to raise awareness and compassion, and to start conversations about the many causes of homelessness.

Last year, Dr. Rosie Frasso, from the CPHI, heard an interview with Baronet on NPR. He spoke about his collection of signs, and about his curation process. He explained that he had signs from across the US and he noticed the messages on the signs varied by city. While this was an anecdotal observation, Frasso thought it would make sense to treat the signs as data and explore Baronet's idea that the signs showed geographic content patterns. She reached out to Baronet and together with Moriah Hall, Al Golinkoff, and Caroyln Cannuscio, all from the CPHI, conducted a qualitative content analysis of the messages on almost 300 signs from Baronet's most recent trip across the US. Results from this study and rationale for cross-disciplinary collaboration will be published this fall in the American Journal of Public Health. 

Join Willie Baronet, Rosie Frasso, and the panelists for this not to miss exhibit and discussion. 


Speaker Bios: 

Willie Baronet, MFA has been buying and collecting homeless signs since 1993 as part of a long term art project titled "WE ARE ALL HOMELESS." In 2014 he began a 31-day cross country trip to buy signs in 24 cities, and began filming a documentary about the process (Signs of Humanity, due out Spring 2016). This project has been featured in dozens of international and local media, including Yahoo! News, NPR - All Things Considered, The Hufngton Post, BuzzFeed, Al Jazeera America and Fast Company’s blog, posted by Katie Couric.  An UpWorthy video about the project that was uploaded on August 31, 2015 has been viewed over 6.3 million times. 

Willie Baronet was the owner and creative director of GroupBaronet from 1992-2006. In 2006 Willie sold his advertising company to long time employee Holly Mason, and the company changed its name to MasonBaronet. His design and advertising work has been featured in Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, New York Art Directors, The One Show, Print Casebooks, Annual Report Trends, The Type Directors Club and Annual Report Design: A Historical Retrospective 1510-1990, organized by the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design, and TRUTH TO POWER in Philadelphia as part of the DNC (the installation was sponsored by HelpUSA). In 2013 he was given the AIGA Fellow award, the highest honor an AIGA chapter can bestow upon one of its members. He has spoken to various business and creative organizations over the years, including TEDxSMU, and has judged many creative competitions including the prestigious Communication Arts Annual.

Willie graduated with an MFA in Arts and Technology from UTD in 2011. His art has been featured in a number of group exhibitions including the 15th Annual “No Dead Artists” at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans, LA, “INVASIONEN/INVASIONS” at the Galerie Carolyn Heinz in Hamburg, Germany, and the “500XPO 2012” at 500X in Dallas. He has also had a number of solo exhibitions (Texas, Pennsylvania, New York), and is currently a member of the art collectives “In Cooperation With Muscle Nation” and “CircleWerk.” Willie is a 1982 graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He has taught advertising design at Brookhaven Community College, Texas A&M at Commerce, TCU, and has served as visiting faculty for the MA Program at Syracuse University. Willie was recently named the Stan Richards Professor of Creative Advertising at SMU's Temerlin Advertising Institute where he teaches classes related to creativity and portfolio development.


Rosemary (Rosie) Frasso PhD, MSc, CPH is the Director of Education for Penn's Center of Public Health Initiatives and the MPH program. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Public Health program, School of Nursing and the School of Social Policy & Practice. Additionally, Rosie is a qualitative methodologist in Penn's Mixed Methods Research Lab (MMRL). Rosie, an alumna of The University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy & Practice, was awarded a PhD in 2011. Prior to coming to UPenn, Rosie earned two Master’s Degrees at the Harvard School of Public Health (one in Maternal Child Health and the other in Society, Human Development and Health).

Rosie has extensive experience in the healthcare setting and has a clinical and administrative background. Additionally, Rosie worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on projects related to improving access to mammography for women with disabilities. Rosie's research focuses on health disparities, health literacy, and the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods in projects designed to improve access to physical and mental health services for vulnerable populations. Rosie provides consultation and oversight on qualitative projects for faculty and students across Penn and for outside clients, including the VA Medical Center and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Rosie has been teaching a course on the use of qualitative methods in public health and social work research for several years and she directs the CPHI Winter Institute on Qualitative Methods, a four day mini-course for researchers.