Post 10: Changing the Face of Homelessness : Urban Directory for the Homeless

– Maria Yanovsky 2016

Reflection

There were several key insights I gained from asking my peers to review my draft proposition. On a positive note, the collaborative process between both human actors (non homeless people and homeless people) facilitated the creation of “solidarity to each-other” as picked up by my Tutor, Simone, which is an important aspect of my concept. However, several students and even the tutor picked up on how complex the process is, which would over complicate the effectiveness of the overall message being communicated. There are a few things I need to work on to narrow down the complexity of my proposal.

Firstly, I proposed that participants would receive a bundle of stories that demonstrate a breadth of emotional stories sourced from homeless experiences. It was noted that this experience would dull the experience and make the interaction feel almost chore like which would not encourage people to contribute to the experience.

Secondly it was noted that receiving a blank space of paper (especially at the size I was proposing), is too daunting for anyone, even creative practitioners, which is another barrier to the success of the proposal. It was suggested that I set up more parameters. After re-evaluating the brief, I believe it is possible to create some sort of manual generative illustration system to facilitate simple creative practice. However this is a critical point as members of my audience may not perceive themselves as creative practitioners.

Thirdly, it was mentioned that getting my participants to send back the paste-up posters takes the experience out of their hands and that it might be more interesting and fun for them if they got to paste up their work in the streets themselves. This piece of feedback reminded me of the (failed) Kony project which also sent out Guerilla Campaign packs to interested (paying) participants.

This leaves me with a few interesting avenues I can go along. Taking into consideration my audience, I can move any written content into an online platform such as a website which the user may choose to visit. I feel as if this would round off the service design aspect  of my proposal.

 

Design Proposition

Community Collaboration – “It’s people helping people. Human being working with other human beings to build trust, to find the root problem of their and develop specialised individualised plans for that person. Its people respecting people, acknowledging that we are equals.”- J.Hunt, 2014

Project Title:  Changing the Face of Homelessness : Urban Directory

Emergent Practice: Hybrid of Generative Practice and Service Design

The Issue: Within contemporary society, homelessness is a “swept under the carpet” concept despite how common this problem is becoming. Extensive stigmas and negative perceptions are large inhibitors for creating positive change, as interactions between non homeless and homeless residents is often met with negativity, hostility and most in concern, invisibility. To a struggling, marginalised group who are already experiencing a plethora of issues, further marginalisation can entrap a sense of hopelessness and a decreased sense of self worth. This is one of the largest barriers to entrenched homelessness. which does not help to engender a sense of hope within homeless community.


Proposition:

To create a sense of hope, understanding and community collaboration through a service design based Guerrilla Street art project in the form of a mailable package where participants will receive a designed poster which they can colour and populate Sydney’s Urban landscape themselves supported with a campaign website. Colour, can go a long way in creating positive tone and emotions, through creating vibrancy and friendliness which are core themes at the heart of this project.

Generative Design/ Collaborative Component

Participants will be sent a Paste Up package, which will include 1 A2 Paste up sheet (design included) and a small booklet that will explain the collaboration, how to make wheat paste, and how to paste up participant creations. The branding will be strictly black and white typographic and vector illustrations, to allow all colour and any form of expression to be generated by the participant. The design of the poster content will be based off experimental drawing styles so that members of the homeless community do not feel exploited through clear expressions of recognizbale personalities, this also provides a prescriptive guideline for participants to interact with that removes the daunting nature of a blank sheet of paper. There is no set colour palette or colouring style, all of that will be left to the pleasure of the participant. The project aims to act upon the misconception that homeless means “living on the street” through the incursion of the posters into the urban setting. The ephemeral nature of Street Art will also assist in the generation of new content, as the posters decay, the campaign can be updated with more illustrations, more contributions more stories. Keeping the project relevant.

The Service

The entire campaign aims to tie in generative design practices for Guerrilla styled advertising of service related hashtags which will be pasted into Sydney Urban landscape. The project aims to directly bring a directory of useful hashtags to anyone within the extensive homeless community an array of useful hashtags in which they may seek further assistance on their own accord. These posters will also aim to capture the curiosity of any passers by so they may to, curiously research the project and the hash tags generating further understanding, empathy and down the line, a greater sense of hope from increased participation in the project and testimonials from members who have benefited from the campaign. To ensure that early participants gain some sort of understanding, the service will be tied in with a website which will provide stories sourced from interviews, blogs, forums and Talks which match the initial design. The website will also explain the campaign, provide testimonials, provide additional downloadables in the event printed packages are lost as well as provide a project aim.

This design response targets several patterns of behaviour, it targets viral trends where especially within the target audience, digital media is easily accessed and exploited through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, where hashtags run rampant as a promotional tool. It targets the current fad of adult, therapeutic colouring in books and it targets the search of social services for the homeless. The most important important behaviour this interaction considers is the need for privacy among both of the human actors, who may not always want to make their motives or issues known to everybody for judgement especially at face value.

For the non homeless actors, this contribution will aim to develop a greater understanding on the concept of homelessness as well as a sense of creative charity hopefully making the actor feel comfortable that they don’t have to make a financial or face to face contribution to help out a marginalised group within Sydney. For the homeless actors, this contribution will aim to create a sense of cheer and hope through the artistic expressions being pasted up in their “un-homely spaces”. The design proposal thus aims to give non direct assistance to homeless people. The use of bright vibrant images generated by non homeless is to provide “the catchy hook” so that attention is drawn to the supporting hashtag directory of social services that homeless people in Sydney can use.
For non homeless actors. there is no linear direction of touch points. A non homeless person can be informed of this service by simply walking in the street and seeing examples, or when they perusing online where initial examples can be used to promote the service. Facebook, Instagram and twitter are effective tools for quickly communicating the existence of any ephemeral material. Another key touchpoint is the website, which will feature the crux of the design project. It will contain stories, paste up instructions, and generative design instructions as well as a downloadable version of the printout that will be mailed. It will also feature details about the project to well inform any member of the human actors of the significance of this project. The final touchpoint, is the paste up kit that will be sent to participants. This will include a full scale, ready to use paste up, a booklet with generative design instructions, and paste up instructions (including how to make environmentally safe wheat paste) in a branded envelope.

 

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(Image Sequence, Design Proposal Mocks. Yanovsky,M. 2016)


Hunt, J.  Published on Oct 04, 2014, ‘How Can I bring Dignity to the Homeless?”, Viewed September 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-g3x_cuK5SM&gt;.