POST SEVEN: Collaborative Issue Mapping

ANNABELLA GRIEVE

Following earlier mapping exercises detailed in Blog Post 3, we continued the group mapping process in week five. We began this process by listing the a series of words that we associated with homelessness. Across the five of us we began with about 250 words. It was interesting to see that whilst many common themes emerged across our selection of words, there wasn’t too much overlap in the words themselves.

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After collating our words we selected 5 words that resonated to us personally. I selected, shame, remnant, criminalisation, stigmatisation and displaced. The idea of stigmatisation was popular for our group with 3 out of 5 selecting this word. I believe this is a direct result of our research and new understanding of some of the intricacies surrounding the homeless problem.

IMG_0983.jpgHaving previously mapped the power of the stakeholders in the sphere of homelessness, we looked at the five words we had selected and associated them to each level in the hierarchy. Interestingly almost every word could have been used at each level of the hierarchy but dependent on the group the particular word would have an entirely different connotation.

For example; shame.

a loss of respect or esteem; dishonour 

Many people in the homeless community feel a sense of personal shame having fallen into their position.

However, the community and government might feel a shame in not being able to pull these individuals out of their plight.

Another exercise that I found to be particularly interesting was mapping a series of key words from more factual to more emotive. What was particularly fascinating in this process was looking at the ‘flip side.’ (At the start of the day we wrote antonyms to our initial words on the opposite side of the paper.) Looking at the opposite side it was immediately even more clear that almost all  of words we had associated with homelessness were negative. In improving the homeless situation it is important to change the general perspective of homelessness.

 

As a group we also created a controversies map detailing what we saw to be the biggest debates surrounding homelessness. This generated much discussion within our group as we didn’t always agree on the biggest controversies surrounding these issues.

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IMG_1046 (2).jpgAfter creating a controversies map with the group, I created my own version of the map. I selected the words that I

thought were the most pertinent which led me to further question each area and consider new perspectives within the controversies surrounding homelessness.


 

Conclusion 

At the start of this mapping process I was somewhat overwhelmed in looking at the entirety of the homeless space. Continuing the mapping process across a period of a few weeks was beneficial as we weren’t aware of the complexities of homelessness at the beginning of this process. With more research, understanding and getting to know our group members better we were able to flesh out the intricacies of the issue more effectively. Working as a group brought out different perspectives and it was extremely helpful to bounce ideas off one another. We gained insights as a group that we simply wouldn’t have if we had only mapped the issue individually.

In beginning with the bigger picture and then breaking down the issue into smaller topic areas we were able to gain a more detailed understanding of homelessness as a whole and some of the issues the homeless population faces. Whilst I am still interesting in looking at homelessness in relation to the digital divide, one of the most interesting findings that came out of this process was the connotations of words. Perhaps this could be incorporated into the context of technology?

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