POST TEN: Reflection and Proposition

Original proposition recap: My design proposition is to present a number of people with the photo of a homeless individual and allow them to draw on, annotate and respond to the image.

Reflecting on what I learnt in discussing my proposition: 

In sharing my idea with someone else it immediately became clear that I had not responded to the situation in a sensitive enough manner. Including the image of a homeless person and their story for the audience to interpret dehumanises this individual and doesn’t consider the life or story of this person. I hence quickly determined that it would be better to get the respondents to react to the physicality of the space in which they have erected temporary dwellings.

I had originally just thought I would have all respondents react to the same image however my colleague suggested it might to be interesting to include more than one and to know the story behind the image, which might be revealed at the end of the process.

Overall, it was benefit to talk through the idea with someone else as with a fresh perspective and can suggest improvements that might have been overlooked in brainstorming process. It was particularly important to have my attention drawn to the lack of sensitivity in my initial proposal as; the social issue of homelessness deals directly with the individuals themselves.


REVISED PROPOSITION –

project title. I am here because…

practice type. generative and data visualisation

the issue. the public perception of homelessness. The project directly responds to a comment made whilst I was collecting data through the interview process. “If they can’t afford housing, they probably can’t afford a phone.”

the possible change. Educate the public to consider some of the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding homelessness.

design action to support the change. I propose to present a number of people with photos of places where homeless people are living. The respondents of the target audience, 18-24 yrs old, will be invited to draw on, annotate, and respond to the image in any way they see appropriate. At the end of this process they will write a rationale as to the taken action. The responses will be documented in a book or website format.

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ANOTHER REVISION!

the possible change. Educate the public to consider some of the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding homelessness, perhaps more directly related to invisible homelessness.

design action to support the change. I originally acted under the assumption that respondents would react negatively towards the homeless person, however it is likely that respondents may be empathetic to the homeless situation. 

I hence propose a three-part installation in which upon entering there will be a shelf on the wall with an image of the environment a homeless person is living in. The attendants will be invited to draw on, annotate and respond to the image in any way they see appropriate. On the opposite side they will fill out the following information:

I have been living in a __ bedroom apartment/house (please circle) in _______ (suburb) for ____ years now.

These responses will be submitted into a letter box and put onto the exhibitions website.

They will then be directed into a space in which the reality of living on the street is mocked up in the gallery space – look, feel & smell all being considered. The audience is asked to sit in one of these spaces at attempt to understand the realities of living on the street.

At the end of this process the audience will be given the story of the homeless person living in one of the spaces shown in the first stage.

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POST FIVE: Interview and Probe

This post will underscore some of my key findings from the conducted interview and probe. The questions were centred around general conceptions of homelessness and technology in the homeless sphere.

INTERVIEW KEY FINDINGS:

How would you describe homelessness? Someone who doesn’t have a home, is living in on the street, in an area that they do not identify as their own. The degree to which a person is homeless is dependent on whether they are living on the street, car or friends couch. 

I found it interesting that the respondent immediately identified the phenomenon of ‘invisible homelessness’ – living somewhere other than the street. In starting out this process it wasn’t a term or idea that I had originally considered. Perhaps my preconception doesn’t align with the population on a whole.

How do you react when you see someone living on the street? First reaction is shock, then empathy. Not really sure how to react; should I be helping them or should I be ignoring them? The social norm is to avoid eye contact and walk quickly past despite feeling bad doing this.

I think this reaction is fairly unsurprising as much of the stigma towards homelessness generates the idea that they can’t be helped.

What do you see as the biggest causes of homelessness? Financial, can’t pay their rent, familial situations, personal issues. 

Could these causes be a threat to anyone? It is harder for people from a wealthy family to fall into homelessness. 

Many of the respondents answers align with my misconceptions about the homeless space before I started this research project. I was of the naive belief that being homeless was a choice. I have since learnt that a lot of my early misconceptions about homelessness are shared by the population at large – an education process is essential in solving the homeless crisis.

Have you ever considered the importance of technology in the homeless sphere? The general social perception is that if they can’t afford a home, they can’t afford technology. However, occasionally I have seen homeless people with little devices. 

With government resources being primarily online, how important do you think technology would be to you if you were homeless? I would want to be accessing the services but this might simply not be possible. Because the homeless community is a minority, it would most likely be harder for the government to accommodate to them. I wouldn’t see needing to access internet and technology as an essential if I were homeless. 

It was interesting to hear that the respondent placed technology to a lower importance than housing. In a lot of my research technology is largely considered to be a life-line for people living on the streets. Technology forms yet another point of misconception to individuals living on the streets.


 

CREATING A DESIGN PROBE:

Probes weren’t a design response that I had initially known much about. Coming up with a probe at a moments notice was hence very difficult and I wasn’t happy with my original idea. Originally, I asked the respondent to record the ways they use technology for navigation and finding food within a week. I quickly determined that this wouldn’t yield particularly interesting or pertinent information.

My altered design probe requested the respondent to watch the following video and record 10 words that immediately came to mind:

The respondent wrote the following ten words: sick, sad, disgusting, surprising, heartless, insensitive, ignorant, solutions, choice?, community. 

It was interesting to see that she wrote ‘surprising’ as the homeless are not generally well regarded in common society. Additionally ‘choice?’ was interesting as it is rather ambiguous and might align with my original thoughts that homelessness is a choice.

Whilst some of the words she responded with were interesting, many are quiet generic and to yield more interesting results in future, it might have been better better for her to generate a statement on homelessness following the video.

In conclusion, I really liked generating data first hand and think this would provide some interesting conclusions to map and visualise research.

 

POST NINE: Collaborative Brainstorming

ANNABELLA GRIEVE

Collaborative brainstorming was a kick start to further considerations about our individual projects. At this point in the research process I found myself rather overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of researched that we had digested. It wasn’t immediately clear how this research should be transformed into a design response and brainstorming ideas as a group provided a start. Sometimes when overwhelmed with where to start it is easy to procrastinate and avoid making any progress. Hence, with the support of the group it was easier to begin this process. I would say this is one of the most significant strengths of the group brainstorming process.

Some other strengths were;

  • brain power. More minds at work to a problem are simply more able to generate ideas and create a starting point for further thought and development.
  • shifting focus. Thinking about someone else’s project shifts your focus from just one point of view, possibly sparking more ideas for your own project.

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Some of the weaknesses in our brainstorming were;

  • overlap. Many of the group members were dealing with a similar problem of societal stigma towards the homeless population and it was hence difficult to come up with new and exciting ideas as we shifted throughout the group.
  • note taking. Not all members collaborated on the butchers paper, instead writing their ideas in small, personal note books. I think this was a shame as butchers paper can be a great way to get even the silliest or most unrefined ideas onto paper. These ideas can then be quickly dismissed or actually be the gateway to something more exciting and concrete.
  • preparation. As we were somewhat thrown into this brainstorming process, it might have been effective to undergo two brainstorming processes. I.e. come back to the group with some initial ideas and workshop these further together or see if any more ideas could be generated from this process.

 

POST EIGHT: A Design Response

ANNABELLA GRIEVE

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Individual Brainstorm 

Much of my research was geared towards the digital sphere in relation to homelessness.  However as I continued this process and undertook more and more research I became drawn to the misconceptions of the general public towards homelessness. Social media scraping identified that the population as a whole simply doesn’t understand the homeless condition. Admittedly, before undertaking this research I wasn’t particularly empathetic towards the homeless, seeing it more as a choice than a situation someone finds themselves in. I aim for this project to break some of the stereotypes surrounding homelessness.

 

5 possible design responses: 

  1. Mapping the physical and technological barriers a homeless individual faces in Sydney. Overlay these maps to pull out ‘homeless hubs’, underscoring yet more of the ways in which a homeless person is isolated from the larger community.
  2. Design a probe which underlines some of the difficulties a homeless person faces each day. The audience could then experience this first hand and gain a stronger understanding of the path and reality of living without a home.
  3. A game or app in which the audience can make a series of everyday decisions in which they will ultimately become homeless in the game or not. This will outline that it is not always poor decisions that lead to people becoming homeless but more likely unforeseen circumstances.
  4. A series of data visualisations  in which similarities are drawn between 18-24 homeless people and the same age group in the larger population. This would look at the unjust stigma placed on the homeless population when we have a lot more in common that originally expected.
  5. A campaign revealing the truth and myths about being homeless. A series of posters, screen printed to cardboard with shocking statistics.

Draft Proposal (3B):

The starting point or inspiration for this proposal draws on a quote from my interview on homelessness. “If they can’t afford housing, they probably can’t afford a phone.” This is just one misconception about homelessness of many I discovered throughout the research process. Misconceptions about the homeless population are stopping the population from helping and leaving these individuals on the street.

My design proposition is to present a number of people with the photo of a homeless individual and allow them to draw on, annotate and respond to the image. They will also complete the phrase “they are there because…” The responses and stereotypes extracted will be mapped as part of 3A. This process has been inspired by earlier research methods; image analysis and design probes. All responses will be documented in a book or website format. The true story of the homeless individual will be revealed at the end of the process.

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This form of documentation and analysis is inspired by Sophie Calle’s project, ‘Take Care of Yourself’. The project was born when she received a break-up email. She didn’t know how to respond and hence asked 107 women of different professional skills to interpret the letter.

POST SIX: Data Mining

ANNABELLA GRIEVE 

In scraping the web for data I opted to look at twitter, not using or being familiar with twitter myself, I thought this would be a good chance to get acquainted with this popular medium of social media.

What I Now Know About Twitter. 

Twitter is a free social networking service in which users are limited to 140 characters to express a thought or idea. Twitter’s mission is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

Twitter is different to other social networking sites as you can follow anyone on Twitter without approval. Tweets are posted onto the Twitter website, they are permanent, searchable and public.

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Some of the more interesting findings. 

I began my process of research by generating a spreadsheet of tweets that include both “homeless” and “technology”; 357 tweets were returned.

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141 of these tweets were regarding the free Wi-Fi kiosks in New York City, most were retweeting the news articles about the benefits of these kiosks for the homeless.

However, more recently, I searched ‘NYC Wi-Fi Kiosks’ and the tweets surrounding these kiosks have shifted completely.

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Unfortunately, the kiosks were misused and used to stream porn on the streets – the homeless population of New York were labelled as at fault for these incidents and the kiosks have since been shut down. Whilst, a lot of my earlier research discusses the positives of technology for the homeless; this incident underscores that technology can also engender negative actions and consequences.

I then used the advanced search option to look at ‘homeless digital divide’ in which many of the returned tweets were from organisations working to close the digital divide in want of a better future for the homeless. Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 4.55.12 PM.png

Similar results were returned in searching ‘homeless digital inclusion’.

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These findings were interesting as clearly work is being done to respond to the digital divide the homeless population faces. However, these tweets are relatively factual and don’t show a lot of passion behind the issue. A lack of empathy has been a common theme across this research process.


 

Potential For A Design Response 

We so often map physical spaces; defining spaces and representing possession. The homScreen Shot 2016-09-19 at 6.11.12 PM.pngeless population is without the security of the physical space a home provides. Additionally, they are largely excluded The homeless are both without this physical space and access to technology. Essentially, they are locked out of two space denoting a home. In considering a lack of access for the homeless, it might be interesting to map these two spaces; perhaps one map detailing the physicality of Sydney and the second map detailing access to free Wi-Fi throughout Sydney. Inspired by Ewan David Eason, pictured on the left, who has layered maps of Paris, London and New York, this design response would show the complexity of what is the digital homeless sphere.

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?

POST TWO: Technology in the Context of Homelessness

ANNABELLA GRIEVE

In investigating how technology can help the homeless stay connected it was argued that this is now a basic need for survival (Hendry et al.). I examined the concept of technology in the homeless sphere using two academic sources; one detailing the situation in the US and the other in Australia. Many common themes emerged.

The Digital Divide is a challenge facing the homeless population globally. Initially a homeless person must gain access to the technology mobile phones provide. In Sydney and Melbourne 95% of the homeless population own a mobile phone, 77% with a smartphone. In both cases this is a higher percentage than the national average. Whilst such a significant portion of this group own a mobile phone, this is not indicative of their affordability but rather their degree of importance and the priority given to them. However, digital inclusion is not just a question of getting hold of new technologies, new problems emerge such as internet connectivity and digital literacy.

Digital literacy was discussed in both the circumstances of the US and Australia. Often if the homeless individual has not had adequate schooling or a tumultuous upbringing they do not have the same skills as the rest of the population in engaging with digital technology. This theme was also underlined in the research of Justine Humphry in blog post one; there is a clear issue of homeless individuals actually connecting with society once they have a mobile phone.

Interestingly, the US journal article for the Children and Youth Services Review detailed a solution to the digital divide; something the Australian journal articles disregarded. Drop-in centres, community based organisations that provide critical services for enabling young people to survive and escape homelessness have realised the importance of technology in the lives of the homeless and have begun to integrate this with the services they provide. These drop-in centres not only provide use of the technology but they provide classes to learn the skills required to effectively utilise this technology in a positive context, for communication with society’s institutions, sustaining constructive, protective relationships and finding employment.

All of the articles that I examined were fairly unanimous on the statement that technology is an essential in preventing a marginalised, stigmatised way of life. However, technology can bring good and bad. Some service agencies have created profiles on Facebook, unfortunately alongside these benefits, social networking sites can also become tools for further ensconcing youth into street life because they offer additional means for strengthening relationships amongst peers on the street.

Overall, from the articles studied, the importance of technology in the homeless context cannot be stressed enough, reaping a multitude of benefits:

  • Social connectedness, identity management and instrumental purposes suggested that homeless populations are becoming increasingly reliant on technology in order to remain connected to family and social peers. This is extremely important for their psychological and social wellbeing.
  • Invaluable in gaining access to employment opportunities, housing as well as support infrastructures.
  • Potential for mobile phone and social networking technologies to reduce the incidence of HIV infections, incidences of depression, and levels of addiction.

References 

{image}  Paul Harrison, Chris Kantola and Jess Angles, scrounging for bitcoins outside a public library in Pensacola, Florida, 2013, photographed by Spooneybarger, M, Wired, viewed 8 August, < http://www.wired.com/2013/09/bitcoin-homeless/>

Blanchard, M., Metcalf, A., Degney, J., Herman, H. & Burns, J. 2008. ‘Rethinking the digital divide: findings from a study of marginalised young people’s information communication technology (ICT) use’, Youth Studies Australia, vol. 27 no.4, pp.35-42, viewed 7 August <http://academics.hamilton.edu/ebs/pdf/rtdd.pdf>

Hendry, D.G., Woelfer, J.P., Harper, R., Bauer, T., Fitzer, B. & Champagne, M. ‘How to integrate digital media into a drop-in for homeless young people for deepening relationships between youth and adults,’ Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, no.5, pp. 774-782, viewed 7 August < http://ac.els-cdn.com.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au/S0190740910003683/1-s2.0-S0190740910003683-main.pdf?_tid=24a6f466-5c86-11e6-b2c3-00000aab0f6b&acdnat=1470564369_f139a27f52fd7f8d096b3df0c2a74d44>

 

POST FOUR: SKID ROBOT

“The living art project by Skid Robot is an artistic movement that seeks to solve the social issue of homelessness through the power of art, design and technology. The mission is to transform the environment of Skid Row from 2nd to 8th, Los Angeles to Alameda. Art can change a human’s perception of reality, and with this, we can change the world we live in.”

This is the main goal of anonymous Los Angeles artist “Fisher King”, also known as “Skid Robot.”

Skid Robot, a graffiti artist, is using spray paint on the walls of Skid Row (Los Angeles) to paint dreamscapes for the homeless community living there. He describes Skid Row as ‘a third world country living down the street from first class luxuries.’ Whilst there is a sense of community at Skid Row, it is an extremely dangerous place to live. It is defined by violent crime, drug addiction, alcoholism and social illness, all regulated by the “DTG” (DownTownGangstas).

His graffiti dreamscapes take on a variety of forms, whether this be a bedroom, a living room, a dream bubble or a throne is dependent on the individual. His work has received worldwide acclaim and whilst this isn’t a solution to the complex homeless condition, he has started a dialogue.

kcp-095.jpgphoto, concept and art direction by Skid Robert

In the 1000s of dreamscapes he has created and chronicled, ‘Birdman’ is the most famous. After meeting this man Skid Robot and his partner Captain Save-a-Homeless asked if there was anything they could bring him. He asked for lobster, something he hadn’t eaten in over 25 years. They brought this back for him and documented the whole event on film, noting that he enjoyed their company and compassion just as much as the lobster.

From the initial spray paint scene, Skid Robot created an entire living room installation for the Birdman. Transitioning his art into the third dimension was a catalyst for change for the Birdman who cut his hair, shaved his beard and applied for low-income housing. He is now living comfortably in an apartment.

Skid-Robot-The-Living-Art-Project-The-Birdmans-Living-Room.jpegphoto, concept and art direction by Skid Robert 

The project has now expanded out of its graffiti origins, collaborating with Elvis Summers of the My Tiny House Project LA and the Alliance to Solve Homelessness in LA, The Living Art project was born. The Living Art Project’s mission is to raise the funds to purchase vacant land zoned for housing where they will place pre-fabricated container homes to provide shelter to the homeless. The containers would be painted by well-known artists creating an outdoor gallery that the community can appreciate.

Skid-Robot-The-Living-Art-Project-Urban-Farmer.jpgphoto, concept and art direction by Skid Robert

Skid Robot has remained anonymous throughout the project ensuring that the message is solely about the art and not his identity. He uses “Fisher King” as a pen name inspired by the Robin William’s film ‘The Fisher King’ where he plays a homeless professor.


I was inspired by this project as Skid Robot has used something as simple as graffiti as a catalyst of awareness for the homeless epidemic in SkidRow, Los Angeles. Many other artists and agencies have generated campaigns to create awareness but haven’t taken this further to find solutions. In commencing this project, Skid Robot or Fisher King has been able to collaborate with others to create the Living Art Project and begin to find a viable solution to homelessness. The simple tool of ‘spray paint’ isn’t expensive and shows that anyone can make a difference in helping the homeless population.

References

{all images} Skid Robot, <http://skid-robot.com/>

Maleszka, J. 2016, ‘Art as Activism: Skid Robot Draws Attention to L.A.’s Homeless Crisis’, Mass Appeal, March 24, viewed 16 August 2016 <http://massappeal.com/skid-robot-the-living-art-project/>

Pardes, A. 2014, ‘This LA Graffiti Artist Incorporates Homeless People into His Pieces’, Vice, October 14, viewed 16 August 2016 <http://www.vice.com/read/skid-robot-104>

Waronker, L. ‘The Homeless Have Found A God’, Frank151, viewed 16 August 2015 <http://frank151.com/fisher-king-aka-skid-robot/>

POST THREE: Generating Awareness

ANNABELLA GRIEVE

Mapping the Participants

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Initial Mapping of Stakeholders
IMG_1006.jpgMapping Human and Non-Human Stakeholders (blue = non-human, pink = human)

 

IMG_1008.jpgMapping Stakeholders from LEAST to MOST Powerful

Image Archive

“Everyone is just a bit numb to the [homeless]. We’ve become so hardened and so oblivious to their situation.” – Kathy Delaney, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

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Google images was my first port of call to get an idea of the typical homeless stock photo. A significant majority of images were photographs in black and white which immediately creating a sombre atmosphere, deep seriousness and sadness. A lot of the images also show the homeless asleep on the street underscoring the stereotype that this is the reality for all homeless people.

As I began to investigate further I found some powerful imagery directly related to projects dedicated to raising awareness for the homeless community.

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Jennifer Blau and Angela Pelizzari

The exhibition ‘Acknowledged to Sydney’s Homeless’ showcased the emotionally charged photographs of Sydney’s homeless population shot dramatically in black and white. The photographs were taken to challenge the negative perceptions and depiction of the homeless – they were given the rare opportunity to direct the way people see them, notably, outside of the street atmosphere. In the simple act of taking a photograph they allowed their subjects to feel acknowledged.

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Justin Doering

The 50 Sandwiches Project, the brainchild of Justin Doering, is a cross country book project designed to provide the public with a rare peek into the lives of America’s homeless. This photograph shows the feet of an anonymous individual with an 18-year old daughter at Boise State. He hasn’t spoken to his daughter in sometime because he is so embarrassed to have found himself homeless after living a typical middle-class life.

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Mikael Theimer

This project, inspired by Humans of New York was launched in Montreal and aimed at humanizing the homeless population who are often reduced to statistics and figures. Whilst this began as more of a documentation process, the more involved he got and the more time he took to begin to understand these individuals and their needs. In sharing their needs, the way they like their coffee he began to foster potential relationships. The image above shares the story of David and his dog Diamond; David nursed Diamond back to life and lost his apartment in vet bills. After telling his story, an Indiegogo campaign raised over $6000 in donations for David and Diamond. They are now living in an apartment, and David has a job at an auto body shop.

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Lee Jefferies

As seen in the projects above, Lee Jefferies has used photography to capture the portraits of people we pretend not to see. Shooting exclusively in black and white, each shot showcases so much raw character and depth that you find your eyes constantly returning to the eyes of the subject.­

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Ian Todd

The Urban Type Experiment created by Ian Todd was born out of Chicago in July, 2014.  The project was inspired by his move to Chicago where he noticed an abundance of homeless people on the streets and a general lack of acknowledgement for these people. Working as an art director, Todd decided to use his skills in communication to give a voice to the visibly invisible, the homeless. Each week, he introduced himself to a different individual and then spent the week hand-lettering them a cardboard sign. The following week he would track down the homeless person to determine if there had been any changes throughout the week as a result of the new sign.

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Fanny Allié

‘The Glowing Homeless’ by Fanny Allié uses neon lights to represent a homeless person sleeping on a bench in New York City. She has created a warm glow with neon tubes attracting the audience to observe the figure and hence reversing the normal reaction of avoidance.

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Raising the Roof

This advertising campaign released by Raising the Roof in Canada follows the mentality that potential can be found in all things and people. As has been the trend in a lot of these images, there are many misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding homeless. Hence many of these campaigns are centred around the idea that we must not ignore the issue and instead foster understanding and empathy as a society.

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Raising the Roof

Another campaign released by the Canadian agency ‘Raising the Roof’ was a series of posters in places where one might find homeless people sleeping. Again, this project is designed to draw the audience’s attention to something we ignore.

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Spring Advertising

In collaboration with RainCity Housing who provide housing and support services to the homeless in Vancouver, this awareness campaign came to fruition. Installing these modified park benches they were able to both create awareness and provide a temporary shelter for the homeless in desperate need. When the roof is up Rain City’s housing address is indicated along with the message ‘find a home here’.

 

Saatchi and Saatchi Wellness

This project was created by Saatchi & Saatchi Awareness for the New York City non-profit Crossroads Community Service to call attention to the everyday battles against hunger of a homeless person. In order to illustrate this, they turned everyday potholes, puddles and garbage in a vehicle for awareness by illustrating chalk-drawn faces around them.

References 

{Image one} Acknowledged: Sydney’s Homeless – Di & Paul, 2013, photographed by Blau, J., Sydney Homeless Connect, viewed 11 August 2016 <http://www.sydneyhomelessconnect.com/acknowledged/>

{Image two} Anonymous – Boise, ID,2016, photographed by Doering, J., 50 Sandwiches Project, viewed 11 August 2016, <https://fiftysandwiches.com/2016/03/17/anonymous-boise-id/>

{Image three} David & Diamond, 2014, photographed by Theimer, M., Humans of the Street, viewed 11 August 2016, < http://humansofthestreet.tumblr.com/post/96998967485/david-and-diamond-o%C3%B9-les-croiser-where-to-meet >

{Image four} Tony, 2011, photographed by Jefferies, L. Lost Angels, viewed 11 August 2016, <http://leejeffries.500px.com/>

{Image five} Ulysses, 2015, photographed by Todd, I. The Urban Type Project, viewed 12 August 2016, <http://urbantypeexperiment.tumblr.com/>

{Image six} The Glowing Homeless, 2011, Fanny Allié, viewed 12 August 2016, <http://fannyallie.com/glowinghomeless.html>

{Image seven} Campaign for Potential, 2012, by Leo Burnett, Canada, Raising the Roof, viewed 12 August 2016 <http://www.raisingtheroof.org/what-we-do/public-education/campaign-for-potential/>

{Image eight} Look Down, 2011 by Leo Burnett, Canada, viewed 12 August <http://www.leoburnett.ca/our-work/>

{Image nine} RainCity Housing: Bench, 1,2013, by Spring Advertising, viewed 12 August 2016 <https://springadvertising.com/raincity/>

{Image ten} Cross Roads Community Services, 2015, by Saatchi and Saatchi Wellness, viewed 12 August 2016 <http://www.saatchiwellness.com/work/>

 

POST ONE: A State of Homelessness and Social Exclusion

ANNABELLA GRIEVE 

In looking at homelessness and social exclusion across a range of media sources I determined a lot of common themes including; the cost to the government, Sydney’s housing crisis and a primary factor in youth homelessness being familial violence. I was hence drawn to articles which looked at the issue from an alternative point of view. The three main areas I looked at being; invisible homelessness, homelessness at a direct result of PTSD and technology in the homeless sphere.

 

The Other Face of Anzac Day

The article, ‘The Other Face of Anzac Day’ written by Sydney-based journalist, Mark Savnokonoko was printed in the weekly newspaper ‘The Saturday Paper’. He is a freelance journalist and this is his only contribution to the Saturday Paper.

The Saturday Paper is a relatively new publication, launched by Schwartz Media, it is a weekly newspaper dedicated to narrative journalism covering current affairs, culture and Australian politics. Launched in 2014, when a majority of news sources have stepped away from print and moved towards the digital; a much faster and cheaper way to get content to the reader, Schwartz’s move to create a predominantly print newspaper was often labelled as crazy. Going against the odds, The Saturday Paper would need to provide interesting and cutting edge journalism to create a following.

‘The Other Face of Anzac Day’ centres around the story of a wife who suffered greatly from her husband’s PTSD, ultimately leaving the family homeless. The dramatic telling has been used to entertain the audience, a sensationalist quality that Savnokonoko uses in many of his articles. He cannot be considered an expert in the field, this being to only article he has written concerning homelessness.

There is a definite stance against the Australian Government and their treatment of defence force and veterans, labelling them as ‘discarded and forgotten.’ Whilst there may be truth in these statements the article doesn’t provide substantial supporting evidence, instead using generalisations such as ‘multiple sources interviewed by The Saturday Paper.’ Furthermore, they later quote ‘Homelessness NSW estimated that as much as 12 per cent of the NSW homeless population were veterans.’ This quote can be found elsewhere suggesting some truth, however an estimation may have been used to further condemn the Australian Government. I do not disagree with Savnokoko’s argument but do believe it could be better researched and supported before making such strong accusations.

 

Homeless People Are Sharing Their Stories Through A Dating App

This piece was written by Buzzfeed News Reporter, Lane Sainty. She is a regular contributor for the site having written over 500 articles, the majority of which discuss the rights of the LGBTI community. This is the only article she has written discusses homelessness indicating that she definitely could not be considered an expert on this social issue.

Similarly, to other articles written on homelessness, the article details the personal accounts of real individuals in order to illicit an empathetic response from the audience. Interestingly, this is the technique that the dating app Happn as used to raise awareness of homelessness in Australia. Users will get a notification with one of six stories when they pass by a location where that person was homeless. Particular emphasis has also been placed on invisible homelessness; where the individual may be sleeping on a friend’s couch or in a car rather than on the street.

The article is for the most part factual, simply detailing what Happn has been doing to raise awareness of homelessness. They do however mention the uncertain fate of homelessness funding with the federal government’s $115 million National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness due to expire in June 2017. This suggests that the article was written to raise awareness of the issue, pushing the agenda of the Council of Homeless Persons. The article suggests, that Sainty, the author is in agreement that funding is a necessary government expense of which I also agree.

 

How do we stop people falling through the gaps in a digitally connected city?

This article was written by Justine Humphry for The Conversation. The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community. Their team of editors works with universities and research institutes to make researched content more digestible for a wider audience. They can be considered as a highly reliable source of information.

Justine Humphry is a lecturer in cultural and social analysis at Western Sydney University having also received her doctorate from the University of Western Sydney. Specialising in digital cultures, she was worked extensively as a researcher of digital media and consumption across a wide variety of user groups. In her research funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Network she worked with homeless young people, families and adults to study their access and use of mobile phones and the internet. Due to her role as Chief Investigator in this research which was funded by a government organisation, I would consider her an expert within the field.

This article is extremely well researched on the subject of the homeless population not having regular, reliable and affordable access to technology. Interestingly this is something other articles have glossed over, simply stating that 95% of people experiencing homelessness have a phone without going into the practicalities of the mobile phone functioning. One of the essentials of a functioning mobile being access to internet. Whilst it is quite easy to gain Wi-Fi access in the city centre, a lot of the homeless population has been pushed west to Blacktown and Penrith where there is barely any free Wi-Fi.

In addition to rigorous research, Humphry conducted research into finding solutions to the digital divide through a series of participatory design workshops to guide the innovation process. Searching for an answer to ensure connectivity for the homeless indicates that this is a subject area that she is passionate about and is looking further than the surface information.

 

The Muslim Group Helping Sydney’s Homeless

This article was written by Manny Tsigas a reporter and presenter with SBS World News. SBS is a generally well trusted news source, working to provide diversity and a different point of view from other journals.

Tsigas hasn’t written about homelessness before and therefore couldn’t be considered an expert. He does often report on multicultural outreach perhaps after his time as editor for Australia’s leading Greek newspaper, Neos Kosmos.

This piece is largely factual, reporting directly on the work done for the homeless community by the ‘Homeless Run’ group. They frequently mention throughout the article that the group is Muslim and that they weren’t immediately welcomed by the community. The article therefore has the dual purpose of improving the reputation of the Muslim community in Sydney in addition to an emphasis on a national level on the importance of solving homelessness.

 

‘I use my iPhone to hide that I’m homeless’

This piece, written by Jenny Powers for the New York Post steps outside of the Sydney local context and discusses homelessness in the US, particularly New York. Despite being outside of the local sphere, I saw this article to be relevant as technology and homelessness are global as well as local themes.

The New York Post predominantly writes to entertain the audience, capable of telling the real story but in some cases embellishing the facts. In this circumstance, many of the events have been confirmed to be true in the personal blog of the interviewed homeless New Yorker. The article is very much editorial, grasping the audience’s attention through the stories of two homeless New Yorkers. It is researched in that she interviewed two individuals to discover their perspectives. Both individuals spoke generally on the homeless community, however they cannot be considered as reliable sources on the entirety of the situation as the stories of the homeless population are so individualistic.

Powers was inspired to write this article as a direct result of her extensive volunteer work at a men’s shelter in New York where she interviewed her two primary subjects on how they survive using the internet. This is the only piece she has written for the New York Post but she has again written about the subject of homelessness for the Huffington Post after she spent one evening a month doing the overnight shift in the men’s homeless shelter in her neighbourhood. However, in the piece she wrote about how it made her a better communicator and networker – essential for the business she founded ‘Running with Heels’, New York’s Invitation Only Event Society for on the go, in the know women executives and entrepreneurs.

The article maintains a neutral stance throughout, not taking any judgment on the situation, simply chronicling how two men use internet and technology as their lifeline.

“My electronics are the centrepiece of the illusion that I’m like everyone else. If someone pulls a gun and demands my computer bag I already know, I’ll die before I’m giving it up. It’s more valuable than I am.”

This quote has become to catalyst to my further research of technology in the context of homelessness.

REFERENCES 

  1. Humphry, Justine. 2016. ‘How do we stop people falling through the gaps in a digitally connected city?’ The Converstion, 15 February, viewed 7 August <https://theconversation.com/how-do-we-stop-people-falling-through-the-gaps-in-a-digitally-connected-city-53810>
  2. Powers, Jenny. 2016, ‘I use my iPhone to hide that I’m homeless’, New York Post, 22 June, viewed 4 August <http://nypost.com/2016/06/22/homeless-goes-high-tech-how-the-internet-is-changing-the-game-for-people-on-the-street/>
  3. Sainty, Lane. 2016, Homeless people are sharing their stories through a dating app, BuzzFeed News, 28 July, viewed 5 August <https://www.buzzfeed.com/lanesainty/homelessness-happns?utm_term=.sw7aXKoa5N#.enX4Vm04KR>
  4. Saunokonoko, Mark. 2015, ‘The other face of Anzac Day’ The Saturday Paper, 25 April, viewed 7 August <https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/defence/2015/04/25/the-other-face-anzac-day/14298840001798>
  5. Tsigas, Manny. 2016, The Muslim group helping Sydney’s homeless, SBS, 3 January, viewed 5 August <http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/01/03/muslim-group-helping-sydneys-homeless>
  6. (IMAGE) Lendof, Emil. 2016, Photo Ilustration, New York Post, viewed 4 August <http://nypost.com/2016/06/22/homeless-goes-high-tech-how-the-internet-is-changing-the-game-for-people-on-the-street/&gt;