Southern Futures

An Activated Archive to Highlight the Untold Histories of the American South


Carolina Performing Arts




  • UX Design
  • UI Design
  • Content Strategy
  • WordPress
  • Modern Librairies & Tools

Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) needed a digital archive of Southern Futures, a collaborative network within the University of North Carolina set to reimagine the American South. We built CPA’s platform with WordPress to highlight its projects and artists while providing resources as a teaching tool. We brought these insightful stories to life with a cohesive design featuring thoughtful animations that encourage endless discovery.

Why this project was a success

  • 1

    Prioritized discovery sessions to thoroughly organize and structure the multifaceted network of information.

  • 2

    Developed a custom WordPress CMS for added simplicity and flexibility for administrators.

  • 3

    Created thoughtful animations to strengthen user navigation and highlight CPA’s powerful content.

A Longterm Partnership With Carolina Performing Arts

Plank has been working with Carolina Performing Arts since 2019 when we redesigned their website and integrated Tessitura TNEW. In 2022, planning began on a minisite for Southern Futures, a set of residency performances within Carolina Performing Arts. After a handful of working sessions, it was decided that this project, with its depth of information and content, would be best as a standalone site to focus on telling the stories of its artists and projects.

Southern Futures sought to showcase their work and bring a fresh perspective to the art scene at Carolina Performing Arts. They curated a collection of content during their residency aimed to be used as a set of lesson plans for students from kindergarten to grade 12.

Centering the Untold Stories of Southern America

The Southern Futures project started with four discovery sessions with key stakeholders to explore the complexities of the project. A diagram was created to map out all its content and organize it into groups to better understand how the pages should be structured. The main priority was to focus on telling the story of each project and highlighting the artists behind them.

For the user journey, it was important to allow users to explore the site with endless opportunities for discovery. As users navigate through the site, they will gradually uncover the extraordinary work and thought put into each project. To ensure the user journey flowed well, we worked closely with the Carolina Performing Arts and provided them with various content guidelines and recommendations.

Creating a Cohesive & Flexible Design

When approaching this project, it was important to differentiate Southern Futures from Carolina Performing Arts’ main website while also keeping a lot of the same brand elements. The typography and brand colours remained the same while new graphic assets and animations were created to bring life and movement. Our approach for these visual elements was to allow them to be applied and reused cohesively throughout the site.

Taking inspiration from the organic nature in which each project was created, we designed an arch animation that can be found on several pages. Their smooth transition between sections represents how these projects are continuously growing and evolving within the community. They were also strategically placed to highlight all the projects and artists that make up Southern Futures at CPA.

About the client

Carolina Performing Arts was established in 2005. The organization collaborates with dynamic and compelling artists from across the globe to create novel, mission-driven performing arts experiences in partnership with their community. Southern Futures is a collaborative network for students, scholars, creators, and community leaders doing extraordinary work to reimagine the American South. Southern Futures works for equity, justice, and possibility, using the arts and humanities to imagine and create positive change for Carolina’s home region.

Like what you see?

Don’t be shy, we’d love to hear from you.

Contact us