Blog post 10: The ‘Task 3’ Journey

Based on my research journey I had a very distinct idea of the area of my topic I wished to explore further coming into task 3. My research had led me to question something that had appeared in my task from the very first blog post.

I wanted to explore this idea of language and how we selectively choose language, which more subversively shapes our views. Language is also extremely powerful in how it creates these verbal boundaries between people such as us, them or alien. This carefully curated language is what starts to dehumanize a group that is removed from us an unable to tell there own story.

It is almost as opinion leaders like the media and political leaders start to define boundaries through language that the general public becomes more complacent with such language adoption and therefore the subversive meanings of grouping and separating people. From reading the news articles, statements by politicians and discussing this topic with people from opposing sides of the arguments surrounding asylum seekers that you can start to differentiate the language that shape bigger ideas. This plays into ideas of how we associate of a human level to asylum seekers, there right to our land or the right to come to our land.

Originally with task 3 I wanted to attack the problem head on and this idea of the rumor mill where half-truths develop into truths. I wanted to address the misconceptions and half-truths that develop at their source. With this challenge my goal was to create a twitter bot that analyzed isolated language and replied to tweet correcting misused language such as illegal alien in an effort of help re-humanizing asylum seekers. After discussions with Tom left the conclusion that a twitter bot was to clinical and detached making my aim of humanization counteractive.

From here I went back to square 1. Really analyze what I was trying to express in language. This is what brought me back to the articles and an observation I had made about evocative and descriptive language.

Through sound data visualization I have chosen key stakeholders that have played a pivotal role in shaping the public opinion of asylum seekers. These people include Tony Abbot, Peter Dutton, The Australian and The Herald. Creating a database of all language and its frequency used by each individual stakeholder will be recorded. This will be the basis for a verbal iteration; in which the data will be read out. The words will be ranked in order to their isolative and both negative nature. Through a motion graphic using faces of asylum seekers each piece will be labelled by its maker, for example Tony Abbot. With each word that is spoken the face will be visually stroked out with a black line connoting the idea of redacted text which it about the censorship of language. The message of this piece is a representation of how the voice of the asylum seekers is not heard but their story and the media and politicians have shaped who they are which help shape these misconceptions.

In particular this project is about creating mindfulness through awareness of language and its subversive power in shaping opinion and therefore is aimed at being an accessible public piece.

Caitlin Kerr

Post 10: Concept on Concept


Since presenting my draft proposal and my other ideas last week to both the tutors and my colleagues, it was great to get feedback and be able to be steered into a clearer position for my proposition.


Initially, I had a handful of ideas and not much to go on from there. From speaking to my colleagues and showing them my key points, they preferred the ‘Borders’ idea in testing 18-24 year old’s knowledge of where key locations regarding refugees were. Example questions would include: Please point to where you believe Manus Island is/Nauru/etc., and see how educated our youth are by going past the surface of the issue. I recorded their feedback in dot points:

  • Further draw on the ‘Border’ idea on what is open, and what is not
  • Look up the Passport Index for design example where it shows you what countries you can visit and receive a visa, from high to low. Syria, Iran and Afghanistan have the fewest opportunities to travel.
  • Research on who is permitted through the borders of Australia
  • Manus Island and Nauru plot example
  • Point out how little we understand on this topic
  • See how terminology usage has changed and developed over time. E.g. ‘migrants’, ‘asylum seekers’ and ‘refugees’

Their feedback was great and although I loved their preference to the Borders concept, I felt like it could be pushed further also. I also took the chance to go back and read through all my blog posts, pick out key points and reoccurring themes to reflect on what I gravitated to with the issue of Refugees and Asylum Seekers. This included themes associated with education, children and stereotyping. From there I did another brainstorm, this time keeping the 18-24 audience in mind, to see if I could create anything further along with the ‘Borders’ idea.


I came up with a new concept that I will propose in class this week. It relates quite well with my previous blog posts and draws on my perspectives and passions for this issue. I’ve named it ‘Cut & Paste’ which will look into Service Design Practice, and focus on informing  the youth and reminding them to choose their news sources wisely as their education is a choice from the age of 18 – whether or not they decide to enrol in tertiary study. The strong bias held within news media in Australia and social media news sites can seem to steer from the real truth of refugees and Australia. From this project, the ideal outcome would be to highlight how news media sites have control over perceptions of a range of topics – along with refugees. There seems to be some sort of gap between the public’s perception of refugees; with both political parties, and the Australian public, polarising the issue.

Design action would start by surveying the 18-24 audience and asking what their main source of everyday news is, from a range of newspapers to social media sources. From there, I will analyse the most frequently visited websites and analyse their perceptions of refugees from previous articles, as well as pull keywords and recurring themes from the stories to construct a refugee persona.

I’m not too sure if this idea is too complicated as the ‘Borders’ idea sounds a lot more simpler and easier to survey, but I will present both to the class and see what they think. Reflecting from this and my previous posts, it has been really insightful being able to research this topic for a full semester and drawing your own perspectives and interests into this project.

BLOG 10 — Reflection & Proposal 

Poppy Rodrigues 


Discussing my revised proposal to my colleague today was definitely a helpful task in raising issues which I had not yet come across. There were still a few areas in my revision which were a little hazy, however, talking about these clarified some doubts that I had and allowed me to define my idea a little more. I came to the realisation that I need to remember that I am targeting a young age group…it was easy for me to trail off from this one or two times. Due to this I also need to review how I target 18-24 year-olds in todays society, a clear direction would be social media yet in my case I still need to determine how I target those who are uninterested in refugees to better educate them so I get my message across. Another point made was to think about using hashtags to reach a wider social platform; this is something to re-evaluate once I refine the final proposal. I also need to keep in mind that I cannot rely on providing facts as research shows this does not always change peoples mindsets and I think with such strong divides on the topic this is a major consideration I will have to make.

Revised Proposal:

Project Title — Undecided at this point in time.

Practice Type — Generative System

The Issue — An increasing number of Australian’s are backing the rejection of refugees and asylum seekers and more recently are voicing their views in being anti-muslim. From my research it is evident that the opinions of these people come from those uneducated about the religion and are only willing to accept the negative. It all comes down to fear.

In a new polling released Wednesday 21st September 2016 found “that 49 per cent of people support a ban on Muslims coming to Australia, compared to 40 per cent who oppose a ban. (The remaining 11 per cent weren’t sure either way.) Young people aged 18-24 were the most likely to oppose a ban on Muslim immigration. Fifty-eight per cent of young people opposed a ban, compared with 28 per cent who supported it. Respondents of the 1000-person survey, undertaken by polling company Essential, were most concerned about Muslims not integrating to the Australian way of life or failing to share Australian values. Just over one in four who support a ban were also worried about terrorism.” (Shalailah Medhora 2016)

The Possible Change — To adapt a generative system which combines those with anti-muslim views and refugees living in Australia, particularly those of muslim decent to create either an indirect or direct connection which educates those with negative outlooks and aims to show how the integration would be of benefit to Australia.

The Design Action to Support Change — The aim of my generative system which is also an experimental process is to identify the fear that Australians hold against the muslim culture and develop a system which can better educate the religion to de-generalise the notion of fear within these people. This may mean breaking down islamic society in its simplest form.

By using social media analytics to track down the people that use key words and phrases which are negative, pop-up advertisements will appear and display factual information to hopefully shift the perception of these people. I can also include analytics and flash cookies from pages such as patriot sites which track the target market. Once the desired audience have been targeted and the advertisements are displayed, the user can click onto a link which will redirect them to a website. This website will be the platform in which negative users can discuss diplomatic opinions and  more importantly, a place where muslims can share their stories (videos included) to hopefully enlighten the negativity and support change.


Shalailah Medhora 2016, One in two Australians want a ban on Muslim immigration, poll finds, Triple J Hack, viewed 23 September 2016, <>

Post Ten Reflection and proposition

Being the final project , I wanted to create something that really creates awareness in the refugee issue which we are facing in Australia right now. From all the reading and research that I’ve accumulated so far, I have decided upon creating a calendar. 

From the social media research I have gathered that people only take a few seconds scrolling through different topics and only stay on the topic and trends which interest them, from this we can assume that 80-90% of the social media users would not take more then 5 seconds on “refugee” related topics, I don’t blame them , why read about actual problems where you can watch a cat video right? 

This got me thinking if the average attention spam is only at around a few seconds, then I need to create a product that targets that kind of a mind set and use it to my benefits. I have decided to create the traditional “Rip Off” type of calendar where you have to physically turn the day or rip the page off at the end of each day. 

I want to tell the story of refugee through day to day short sketches, the problems they are facing and the solution which could solve the problem. being a day to day colander it gives me 365 individual pages to create the story. maybe the 1st few pages might not really make any sense to the user. but one months into the year the user will gain more awareness and eventually looking forwards to flipping the page and know more about the refugee. 

Just a few seconds a day , the time it takes to pull a page off the calendar will have a tremendous impact at the end, after all few seconds a day x 356 days = 30 mins + of viewing time. this resulted in a much higher view time then any other media. a short animation would only take 1 minute , a poster might take up to 30 seconds of viewing time, but regardless of what media you choose majority of the viewer would forget parts if not all the relevant information of what you were just being subjected to. 

I believe that continues small dose of information is a more appropriate way of targeting today’s audience. 

Blog Post 10: Drafting my draft final proposal (draft)

Reflection & Proposal
In our last lesson I ran through the initial stages of my final proposal. With assistance from my classmates and tutor I managed to finalise a problem statement and the direction for my final project. I got positive feedback regarding my area of interest and have thus begun thinking about how to visualise the project. My issue is centred on promoting the voices of people in offshore detention, emphasising their narratives using original content from social media platforms and in turn, enforcing a sense of connection and tangibility to these narratives. To maintain a focus on the stories of people in offshore immigration centres, the piece will focus on language, in particular through unadulterated and self-directed refugee stories. I will contrast these stories with mainstream media narratives and official statements given by the Australian government. This lends itself to a generative printed project resolved using typographic detailing. It was suggested that I might want to use older projects from last year to influence my resolve, for example the book TL;DR. Using this idea of a publication design, I’ve furthered the resolve into a newspaper format, reinforcing notions of the media and how it influences public perception.

Revised Proposal

Project title: Voices in Manus

Practice type: Poetic Generative Data

Problem Statement:
Since the early 2000s, the Australian government and the media have politicised refugees and asylum seeker issues. Our government and legal system have engendered a societal complacency on these issues, through the introduction of mandatory offshore processing, an effective media blackout within the detention centres, and other measures that place the plight of refugees outside of the public spotlight. Our media, often depicting asylum seekers as ‘swarms’ and ‘masses’, has successfully alienated their experience from Australian society, to the point where the majority of Australians believe that they are unworthy of our help. If racist attitudes towards those seeking asylum aren’t challenged, these attitudes will continue to proliferate and become further normalised amongst a larger proportion of the community.

Possible change:
In my project I hope to shift public perception and attitudes towards refugee and asylum seekers by focusing on refugees’ subjectivity, recognising and acknowledging the sense of identity that has been robbed from them. To achieve this I will be exploring ways to visualise and compare the stories of people in offshore immigration detention with official statements and comments from prominent members of the Australian government, who have shaped this issue in the past few decades. The resolve will be in the form of a publication design. I will be exploring how to visualise key messages through various typographic techniques, and a range of materials. The power in this project lies in creating a sense of tangibility to the experiences of refugees, who are too often overlooked and sidelined. It therefore aims engage an audience that might otherwise be disinterested or disengaged from the issue.

Image Reference:
Wallman, S, A Guard’s Tale (2014)

Post 10: Hope and determination

By Erland Howden

Design proposition

Title: Hope & determination

Practice: Data visualisation and generative design

Issue: Asylum seekers and refugees

Possible change: Targeted at changing Australian attitudes toward asylum seekers and demonstrating to decision-makers, such as the Immigration Minister, that significant support exists in the Australian community for a change to more welcoming and compassionate policies around asylum seeker claims and resettlement of refugees.

Design action: A poster series to be distributed to local pro-refugee organisations that highlights one person or family each who has resettled or is claiming asylum in Australia. The posters would display an image representing the asylum seeker and an aspect of the person’s story chosen to engender compassion and empathy in the audience, with a clear message advocating a change in asylum seeker policy.

The scholarly research I conducted has strongly influenced this design proposal. One paper in particular investigated determinants of attitudes to asylum seekers and suggested that, “encouraging people to adopt a macro justice perspective may be a useful addition to community interventions.” (Anderson et al 2015) With this in mind, the policy change messages for the poster series would be designed to prompt a macro justice perspective. For example, they might include phrases along the lines of, ‘everyone deserves a chance to live in safety.’

The posters fit into the emergent practice of data visualisation in that they apply designerly thinking to visualise the data of asylum seeker stories, which have been collected by organisations such as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and GetUp, or published by news organisations such as The Guardian. Further to this, there is another element to my proposal that brings in an aspect of generative design – the poster series would also incorporate a template design that local pro-refugee organisations could use to highlight the stories of refugees and asylum seekers they are directly working with. In this way, the design proposition becomes something that applies research to create communications more likely to change attitudes, while being localised and as relevant as possible to the audience.


In discussing this proposal, the key feedback I received was around fleshing out the generative aspect of the proposal. Originally, I just wanted to create a strict template and guidelines for the poster, but since discussing the proposal with my group, I’ve been exploring ways to make the generative aspect more open and able to accommodate more diverse outcomes. For example, rather than creating a strict guide for photographic portraits, I was thinking that space could be created for a variety of images that might represent the person whose story is being told, like an artwork they created or an alternative photographic treatment. Additionally, rather than a strict print poster series, which might have limited uptake from under-resourced community organisations, I’ve been considering a digital template which could be used on websites and social media that delivers the same outcome in different media.


Featured image: US Department of Defense 1975, ‘South China Sea’, US National Archives / Flickr, viewed 27 September 2016, < >.

Anderson, J.R., Stuart, A. & Rossen, I. 2015, ‘Not all negative: Macro justice principles predict positive attitudes towards asylum seekers in Australia’, Australian Journal of Psychology, vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 207-213.