Creative Connexions: Thinking about Thinking
Funded by Creative Connexions, Thinking about Thinking is an ongoing project which explores the rich cultural contexts and educational practices of India. The project set out to explore and employ a range of methods to better understand craft and design in India leading researchers to consider new ways of documenting and visualizing information. The i.e. team led by Professor Teal Triggs with Dr Patrick Roberts, Dr Claire McAndrew and Sam Winston, spent time at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, India, in order to gain first hand experience of communication design, its past contexts and possible futures in India. Pete Maloney maintained the London base during the visit and developed the accompanying blog and website which documented the visit.
Whilst in India, i.e. was involved in a knowledge exchange with counterparts at NID resulting in formal talks to students and staff, a set of filmed interviews with colleagues and students, photographic documentation, site visits to the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), the Center for Bamboo Initiatives, the British Council, and setting up a 'data-blog' as a receptacle for posting information and images as the visit progressed.
The final outcomes of the project have included the website, continued dialogue with staff at NID with academic papers. In addition, the typographer and artist Sam Winston responded to the visit by creating a visualisation entitled 'Birth-day' which charts the 100,000 lives that come into being over the period of 12 hours on the planet. Sam drew a circle for every born life in waking day.
The project was funded by Creative Connexions, UK. We are grateful to staff and students at NID who were involved in this project.
A Sense of Place: The Lives and
Histories of Residents from the
A 'sense of place' emerges not only from the physical geography and architecture of a defined area, but more importantly through the people who inhabit these spaces. The main intent of this project is to explore a 'sense of place' as remembered and understood by residents of the Aylesbury Estate, South London. Originally built in 1963 the Estate has a long and varied history. With the new plans for the Estates' regeneration as part of the Elephant & Castle project, this 'New Deal for Communities' estate is undergoing a significant period of change.
The aim is to capture the rich diversity of the Estate as it is and was, by enabling residents to document and (re)present their own reflections, personal memories and historical accounts of life on the Estate. This project is about collecting life stories rooted in the past but creating a receptacle for 'living oral histories'.
The project provides outreach opportunities for LCC student volunteers and local arts-based organisations to engage in the process and learn from these experiences. The project aims to discover what living on the Estate means to its residents and to enable them to contribute to the preservation of its future.
A Sense of Place: The Lives and
Histories of Residents from the
Stage 2 of the Aylesbury Estate Project was undertaken with the assistance of 46 students enrolled on Design for Advertising (DfA) Pathway, BA Graphic Media Design, London College of Communication. i.e. was, in this case, the client for an oral history and community engagement project which asked students to come up with a campaign to be situated on the Aylesbury Estate and would raise awareness about the larger i.e. oral history research project.
The project provided students an opportunity to work with gatekeepers on the Estate in learning about its history and the plans for regeneration. Students were divided into three groups: oral history; context and history with a smaller group as designated podcasters working with i.e. member Monica Biagioli (whose research was funded as part of a clip cetl learning and teaching project). Students documented each stage of their research and learning processes through video, sketchbooks, photographs and drawings. i.e. members Linda Sandino and Teal Triggs provided practical based seminars on oral history techniques using footage of interviews with a group of residents previously videotaped by the podcasting group under their guidance.
Final solutions resulting from student collaborations were 'pitched' to i.e. staff and the college widening participation officer. Selected awareness raising campaigns are under consideration for implementation. In addition,examples of the research process undertaken by students feature in: The Aylesbury Estate: A Student Project, edited by Teal Triggs and published by i.e. and the London College of Communication.
Our special thanks to the residents of the Aylesbury Estate and staff of Creation/New Deal for the Communities for assistance in this project.
The Aylesbury Kaleidoscope:
'As the Aylesbury Estate moves into a new phase of redevelopment, this project will harness the creativity and skills of its residents to create a beautiful collection of arts, crafts, music, food, poetry and more to reflect the memories, hopes and talents of the community. As residents realise they have a story to tell and opinions worth hearing, we believe their confidence will grow, enabling them to have a greater say in shaping their own future.'
— Richard McDermott,
Director of theCreation Trust.
Creation, along with partners InSpire, Media Citizens and the i.e. Unit (London College of Communication), secured funding from UK Government as part of a 'learning for pleasure' innovation spearheaded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The Aylesbury Kaleidoscope project (October 2009 – March 2010) involved taking residents from the Aylesbury Estate on a learning journey. The intent was to capture a cultural kaleidoscope that celebrates this wonderfully diverse community.
Through a series of training sessions, people learned to express themselves and acquire new skills in three key creative areas: arts and crafts; poetry and the spoken word; and oral histories, or telling your story. It is this last area in which the i.e. Unit has played a significant role. Residents were encouraged to reflect upon their shared memories and their hopes for the future through the sharing of life histories. This was achieved through a series of co-participatory workshops, which culminated in an ongoing blog site for the resident's life stores.
Exploring Wellbeing, New Media
and Community Spaces:
'There is a growing view that the success of good social policy should not be measured by economic gains but by improvements in wellbeing and happiness of citizens' (Layard 2005).The two-day workshop brought together different stakeholders from industry, local government and academia to investigate opportunities for visually ‰¥ã based innovative media to enhance wellbeing and health within 'community spaces'. The emphasis was to develop a context-based design approach where the use, design and evaluation of visual technology in relation to health and wellbeing can be socially co-constructed around and mediated by human communication and interaction.
The intent of the workshops were to:
1. explore the opportunities and relevance of developing visually-based digital technologies for the understanding of wellbeing and health within 'community spaces'
2. investigate methodological opportunities for increasing the understanding of appropriate context based design processes necessary to develop and apply effective visually-based digital technologies for wellbeing and health.
The two-day event was divided into three multi-disciplinary workshops where the group engaged with a set of propositions initiating debate around digital media and issues of wellbeing and health in 'community' spaces. The three workshops were based upon our main areas of interest, clearly defined by 'place' and by 'technological form': New Media and Convivial Urban Spaces, Gaming Linking Inside and Outside Spaces, Social Networks and 'Online' spaces.
Findings of the workshops were presented by Triggs and Prendiville during the Innovative Media for the Digital Economy Springboard Event held at the Commonwealth Club, London, 26 – 27 March 2008. This was event is funded by the epsrc and Innovative Media for a Digital Economy Research Cluster, Oxford University e-Research Centre.