Module 2. Brief 3. Week 10.
Society & Purpose
This week I am continuing to look into how graphic design can bring about change.
Start to raise my own project relating to social and political questions relating to my locality. This can range from small areas in my are to the largest problems that face modern society today.
The lecture this week will help me with this as it looks at how service designers have solved problems relating to a locality to improve the way we live. This will give me advice on how I should tackle my own project.
This week I will be identifying a problem in my area. This may be common or something specific to my own area. Focusing on my own experience or those around me that I can interview.
How did you end up working in service design? His first project after university was with the Welsh Space Campaign.
Cosmic Colliery Project. While working as a service designer with the Welsh Space Campaign he was writing a proposal for a project that took off. He then left to work on this. He then realised while working on this that by going in and interviewing people and working with people and then leaving is not good experience. Asking questions such as, ‘what happens when the designer is no longer present?’
How did you engage in this project? What questions, subjects or issues came out of that process? Proposal to a community, which was to work with a group of people to reimagine the coal industry in that area. The point of this was to reimagine it as an astronaut training facility. This was a ridiculous, unattainable, surreal idea allowed the area to have some inspiration. This was the last coal mine in the country, it was an area that had little democracy.
What methods did you use to engage people in the project and what difficulties did you face? One approach was just spending time having long conversations with people about it. He created situations where people could sit and talk about the topic without having a voice, just being a guide in the conversation.
When no longer present or directly involved in a particular project, what do you leave behind? Introducing people together who wouldn’t have before met and leaving these connections behind for people to continue these conversations. People will project their own ideas and they cannot be managed due to high paced project but they should all be considered. You need to consider them rather than control them.
Can you talk us through your process of ‘participatory speculation’? Taking a traditional method and seeing how we can use that in a different industry, pushing it out of its comfort zone. A pitfall he faced was that it was a way to reflect not to help plan future projects. Really important to take a local practice and reimagined it, but if he took it forward he ‘needs’ it to be rethought, where in reality you can’t plan these things. A model emerges out of a location or the people not from a model itself. so it is difficult to plan these things.
What role does visual play within your work? It speaks about where its shown, who sees it. Having visual assets allows these ideas to become real, allowing people to participate in these ideas and add to them. During Cosmic Colliery the method he used was filmed.
What advice would you give to students engaging with participatory work for the first time? Rather than thinking, we have this. Allow interactions to give responses to questions that are asked. Be honest with myself, what I’m comfortable and what I am interested in. Instead of focusing on people, look across different scales of involvement and its involvement. Negotiating with people and being comfortable with people to ask what they are willing to discuss and release to us. Listening is key and letting conversation lead me and my ideas.
How do you negotiate issues of power and hierarchy when working within community settings? We will always be in different power roles, we have to question why we are doing something. Noticing how it is affecting our actions. Ranging from deadlines, what’s happening with family, to who is funding the work.. There are a range of contributors. It is never going to be perfect, but noticing what it is and being aware of it.
How can you identify, reveal and communicate the core challenge of the problem facing your community or user group prior to a design phase?
I believe that to identify an issue in your community or locality, you must look at issues that affect yourself personally and those closely around your or issues that you or others around you are currently working on resolving. To discuss a topic that affects your locality, it means you care enough about it and have lots to say for it. This means research will be easier and making those connections will not be so difficult. Even if it is a topic that affects people globally, if it also affects you or those around you, this will make the challenge easier to tackle.
1. Research and discover issues that relate to your locality and post them on the Ideas Wall. Direct engagement and potential collaboration is encouraged to engage with relevant local communities to identify issues.
1. Keeping fit during the quarantine.
Initiatives such as Farnham Falcons Fitness Leauge. During the COVID-19 pandemic https://www.farnhamrugby.org/teams/75401 The team have been working hard to boost the morale of their team as well as inspiring family, friends, and fans to participate in a Fantasy Fitness league where you compete by working out from home, going on walk or runs, or doing workout videos or yoga or even doing some stretching. There are a lot of people at the moment promoting physical exercise to promote positive mental health. Globally we are seeing many sports, fitness teams, personal trainers, or people generally interested in physical activity starting ‘live streams’ or recording free workout videos to help people get inspired and join in to help spread positivity.
2. Feeding the NHS.
Surrey Drive is a voluntary drive that my work has started working with our clients in the events and catering industry. They are feeding the staff at Royal Surrey Hospital with hot home-cooked meals. With the access to large preparation kitchens, large stock of food and ability to distribute food to large quantities of people, we are running a drive-thru for NHS staff to pick up free cooked meals after their shifts. We launched this on the 27th of March and 3 days later, on the 29th we had raised £1418.72. £100 makes 60 meals, so we have raised over 886 meals already and it is continuing to grow. Around the nation, we are seeing people come together to do so much to support our NHS who are saving hundreds of thousands of lives daily. At 8pm on Thursday the 25th we saw people across the nation standing outside their homes or out their windows clapping and cheering to thank them for everything they are doing for us right now.
3. Keeping/making friendships while working from home.
This is something that is done before the pandemic of COVID-19, however, people are now experiencing it globally and starting to realise the effect it has on people to not have tangible human connections. Keeping the moral of a working environment alive while working from home. My company is one of the many that are now moving online to work from home, as a marketing agency, this is very easy to do. Realising that the business can go on in a digital way, we are even questioning if we need our office space and if we should continue to work from home after all of this has blown over. If this is the case, the only thing we would miss is the morale of connecting with co-workers. Having coffee and lunch breaks together, being able to discuss personal life, and making real connections. Currently, we are using Google Hangouts for work meetings but also to combat loneliness by having at least one person on a voice or video for the majority of the day to feel you are working as a team. Even working in silence with someone at the end of the line is comforting. However, what other ways can we make these bonds real?
2. Distill your research to identify one issue you would like to resolve and reveal through a visual outcome.
Keeping/making friendships while working from home.
I believe that all three of these issues are important. However, due to the current climate and the situation that I am currently in with my business trying to decide whether this is something that could be permanent moving forward, it is crucial for mental health and a positive work environment to be able to form these connections. This is something that won’t help our current situation but this pandemic has highlighted the issues with a system that is used across the globe for so many businesses.
3. Write a short 200-word project brief that reports on the issue to be solved.
In a physical working environment, there are a number of reasons why relationships with your coworker can have positive effects both for yourself and for your work output. You spend a lot of time with your coworkers on a daily basis, becoming friends with these people is only natural. You end up enjoying work more when you know you have the support from your friends. You have a support system, someone to talk to that understands what you are going through. It makes you feel part of a team or for some smaller companies a family. Reduces the feelings of loneliness, which encourages motivation and productivity. You end up caring about your work more as you want to support your colleagues. Finally, this also helps your communication and interpersonal skills.
Bridge the gap of making real-life connections with coworkers while working from home. People are working from home all around the globe at the moment but this is something that is commonplace and has highlighted faults in the system. For this brief, I want to propose a method for both continuing and forming relationships with coworkers for businesses that have staff that work from home. This could be a proposal for a new digital tool, a new way of using tools that we already have, a campaign to encourage informal communication or another method to encourage healthy relationships.
4. Design and produce a visual summary to contextualise your issue and project brief. Your summary can be a digital, print or moving image, but it must be succinct, to enable third party viewers to quickly understand the requirements, needs and challenges.
To tell my brief I wanted to represent it in a clear way that related to the topic itself. Working from home there are a number of tools you use to communicate. I initially tried writing this as a message trail. I was then going to simply write it as an email. However, I thought the best way of doing this is through the method we are all currently using to communicate quite heavily, video communication. Zoom calls are one of many different ways of communicating and presenting the brief in this way was very successful.
This weeks research has given me a deeper insight into how I may go about gaining information thanks to Hefin Jones lecture. From how I would interview and ways of collecting information. I have also found that the best way of identifying problems that need to be solved for such projects are the ones that affect myself or those directly around me as this will allow me to have more knowledge on this topic and empathise more with the subject. In turn, making the project more successful.