POST 10 – A Fair Go: Collectivisation could be key to social betterment

James Meland-Proctor

In class I spoke with Nathalie about her proposal for her issue, which focused on the pay gap and gender imbalances in workplaces. She explained that certain industries are either feminized or male dominated and that perhaps mentoring was a way to address that. Her proposal was for an app, which networked employers with people for mentorships in the hopes to focus on women more, but overall address gender issues in the workplace head on. While she maintained that women did not have their fair share of work opportunities, she was hesitant to make it a solely female focused issue – with her desire to help male teachers and nurses, whilst still providing a means to give women a leg up in important business roles. If there is one thing I have learnt from my colleague is that my design solution is not something that will end the issue all together, rather just lessen the effects of a small facet of that issue. It becomes difficult sometimes to remind yourself of this, but at least when focusing super close on a small part of the problem, it creates traction and leads the path for other innovations and ideas. This was especially evident through idea sharing in class as my own design proposal improved after my peers heard about it.

Earlier this year in September, Falzon (2016) wrote an article titled ‘Australia does not have a welfare problem’. Now that title aptly summarizes my positioning on social inequality in Australia, in that every year the gap between rich and poor Australians widens with certain groups of people being disproportionately affected by these changes. It has been overall a growing global phenomena that the level of opportunity in developing countries is not as good as it used to be. In Australia particularly, we see this through the privatization of tertiary education, the rise of graduates trained in areas where there are few jobs, and politicians attempting to welfare services and public money where they can. Honing in on social welfare as a response to addressing a very large problem, I have envisioned why it is there are problem surrounding welfare payments and why it is so easily overlooked by politicians and the public. There exists the perception that people who take welfare payments are somehow bludgers and scammers. The main reason I have deduced for why this is, is that because while corporate welfare for businesses, hourly rates, salaries and bonuses are all things that are determined by the market while welfare is taken from tax payer money. Understandably, people may disagree with how their taxes are spent, however a study showed that more money was spent giving money to corporate welfare over lifting people out of poverty.


In deducing the reasons for stigma surrounding welfare, I thought that what if there was a welfare system which instead of being government and tax payer funded that it was entrenched in the market. There exist hundreds of insurance, superannuation, and other companies which work to invest and make money for their stakeholders. By empowering young people on youth allowance or single mothers on Newstart to take an active participation in their financial situations, you are starting to remove the stigma and even dissolve the ideas around social welfare payments as being a cop out. The service would still act as a way for people to pool their resources, but like people on these payment systems they are not getting resources for free, they still have to work to make what they would ordinarily earn from a lower income job. While I am still figuring out how exactly the service would work.

  1. You would pay a fee, the business then trades with other business and earns a premium/profit for themselves and then doles out payments to people when you need them
  1. You join, you purchase a scheme that is right for you and your needs, the businesses harnesses the buying power of all members, and offers things like health insurance and other deals (OurGo, 2016)
  1. People come together to use their collective purchasing power to negotiate and unlock things that were inaccessible to them individually, such as housing or certain medical and health procedures.

In this sense, financially marginalized individuals are taking their economic futures into their own hands by participating in market systems together like an institution.



Falzon, J. 2016, Australia does not have a welfare problem. We have a poverty problem | John Falzon, the Guardian. viewed 27 September 2016, <;.

OurGo | Join a new campaign to help young Australians take back their economic future 2016, OurGo. viewed 27 September 2016, <;.



What are we talking about? The Language of Homelessness

Post 10 By Alice Stollery

Reflection & Revision

My colleagues raised a number of issues with my initial draft proposal. Being my first attempt, it was quite rough and I had not given enough consideration to the requirements of the brief.

My colleague could not see the link between my proposal and the required 18-25 year age bracket. And she was right, I had got so carried away with my research that I had lost sight of this requirement. She questioned whether this issue of language had come out of this age bracket or whether I was attempting to target 18-25 year olds with my design proposal. Reviewing this point, I will use tweets that have come out of this age bracket while contrasting their misuse of language with facts and statistics that focus on homeless youth within Australia. I also aim to target the 18-24 year old age bracket through my design proposal, by basing the exhibition at the UTS campus or other university campuses. I would like to target this age group, as I believe it is important for them to be empathetic towards this issue as they are the next generation of leaders, teachers, politicians and by starting with them, I will be able to instigate change in the future. Their views on this issue are incredibly important.

Concerns were also raised with the location or geographical nature of my data. Am I able to tell where tweets are being tweeted from and whether this issue of language is an issue that occurs within Australia. Reviewing my data, I have found that terms such as tramp or hobo are geared more towards an American context while misusing the term homeless occurs within Australia. Therefore I have narrowed my focus to the misuse of this term. I have also experienced the misuse of language in my daily life long before this assignment, throughout school, work and university. It is not unusual to hear someone describe themselves or their friends as looking homeless. However, it was not until I saw all of these comments collated on a spreadsheet of tweets that I was able to recognise language as a key barrier in solving the issue.

Another piece of useful feedback included the form of my response. I was told not to limit it to a book so I have given further thought to how this data could be represented. I have decided to create a public installation or exhibition that could possibly include posters, flyers or brochures as well. I will elaborate further on this in my proposal below.

The Issue (From research)

The misuse of language is a significant barrier in tackling homelessness. Insensitive, and politically incorrect terms such as hobo, tramp and bum, and the casual misuse of the term homeless to describe ones appearance, have seeped into the common vernacular. Dehumanising those affected by homelessness through this passive misuse of language takes away from the real issue, meaning wider perceptions of homelessness are less empathetic and communities have become detached from sufferers.

Through research into homelessness in the mainstream media, journal articles, social media platforms, image libraries and brainstorming sessions, the misuse of language and terminology around the issue has emerged as a negative actor that is creating a barrier between those in need and those with the power to help. We talk about homelessness in reference to appearance, rather than experience. In short, we no longer seem to be talking about the actual issue.

Possible Change

A design response that tackles this wider problem of perception and language will create influence rather than direct action. This will be an attempt to create internal change in those that misuse these terms, in order to create empathy, and ultimately to generate positive outcomes, enabling more people to engage with the issue rather than offering an immediate solution.

Design Action to Support Change: Data Driven Design

An exhibition titled “What are we talking about?!”  that aims to juxtapose the the misuse of the term ‘homeless’ in everyday conversation with the real issue and experience of homeless youth. Ultimately highlighting the disconnect we are currently experiencing between the two. The exhibition will be a visualisation of data collated from twitter and online statistics on youth homelessness collated during the research process. It will be a contradiction of meanings within the same issue and will highlight how language is acting as a barrier in our ability to help the homeless.

Sketch of the exhibition space depicting alternative perspectives of the issue.


I will design the exhibition, mapping how the audience will move through the space as well as designing the look and feel for the exhibition, including collateral such as postcards and posters. The exhibition will be a series of hanging posters that enable you to see both sides of the issue. Looking in one direction you will be bombarded with the misuse of language as you see tweets that misuse the term homeless, for example “OMG I look so homeless today” or “That moment you look at a new pic of your ex and wonder how you could have dated him. #whatwasithinking #lookinghomeless” while the other side will contradict this with overwhelming statistics about youth homelessness such as “How can we still call Australia home when 32,000 young people don’t have one?” or personal experiences of sufferers such as “My friends don’t know I’m homeless”. The idea is that while you are looking in one direction at the language we use, you are unable to see the real issue  on the other side of the posters and as a result you are unable to empathise with sufferers. If you choose to talk about homelessness in this way, you are unable to be empathetic and to understand what sufferers are really going through. Visualising and organising data in this way will enable people to see both sides of the issue, one at a time and will hopefully generate internal change within the audience without publicly shaming those who have used this language in the past.


{post 10} the road to homelessness.

design response. generative system. refined proposal. judith tan.

(Tan 2016) The title for the project is derived from the common phrase ‘all roads lead to Rome’, meaning that whatever road you take, it will eventually lead you to the same destination. While this is not necessarily true in life, I wanted to create an inevitability in the design response to highlight the ease at which one can become homeless, and how hard it is to escape from it.

Continue reading “{post 10} the road to homelessness.”

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

– Maria Yanovsky 2016


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.


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, <;.

post 10: design proposition


After explaining my design proposal a number of questions were raised on whether my idea was ethically suitable for what I was trying to achieve. My concept revolved around diminishing the idea of judgements, assumptions and stereotypes through the use of choosing an option that would inform the user whether or not the story was relating to a homeless person. Thus creating a realisation for the user that their initial thoughts are not what they seem. In doing this, the design of the proposal puts the user on the spot and judges them as well, not keeping in mind the homeless person being judged also. As this was not my aim, I took a different turn with my interaction.

One thing that was not made clear through my proposal was the interaction process to reach to a result. I was advised to take a further look into the interaction process of how the design would work and how it can be further designed to be a generative design.
After listening to my groups proposals I felt that my idea was lacking what I was originally trying to achieve. Even though are ideas may be different in regards to context the outcome of what we are all trying to achieve are similar.

To further push my concepts, my group suggested to continue to research into homelessness on digital platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, online articles/stories) that can inspire me to push through my idea.

draft design proposal

I initially started researching how to prevent homelessness amongst. Gradually, my research led me to notice a strong trail of misconceptions and the harsh realities of homelessness. At this point it was a scary realisation that the world views homeless in such negative and hopeless way. My research took a turn in paths after we did the data scrapping. Through this research it further conveyed the misconceptions and little knowledge that the public had on homeless people. Finally I took an interest into how society relies of face value to determine if someone is homeless or not rather than having an open mind and look deeper into their situation.

project title.
Its not what it seems

practice type.
Generative Design

the issue.
In today’s society the youth of the public have become desensitised to social issues while keeping themselves at first thought. This has resulted in members of society to have misconceptions about homelessness and take it for face value. Factors such as appearances, assumptions, media, film, and first impressions play a major part into how society perceives the homeless community. The first thing that enters a persons mind upon passing a homeless person is the stereotypical thoughts that this person may have a drug and alcohol addiction or they haven’t showered or groomed themselves in a long time. But what people don’t know is that these people are humans just like everyone in the world. Some of which are educated, have a job but are not in the best situation at the moment. Complex issue

possible change.
 To break the stereotypes and multilayered assumptions the youth have on the homeless community by keeping an open mind and view complexities of a situation that it is not what it seems.

the design action to support the change.
 An interactive board will be erected in well populated areas where the youth are likely to thrive (university campuses, shopping centres). From this the board will consist of an image library of real homeless people who may look successful and financially stable but are struggling with their lives. The user will be unaware of their situation until they take a closer look into their lives. It will continue showing a slideshow of images until the user has picked a photo to view. Here the user will take a closer look into the life of the current persona chosen in the image. For example, two friends are shown in a coffee shop, one of which is homeless. In order to get around her daily life she is couch surfing at her friend’s house with a history of domestic violence. In addition, she’s a migrant and is not eligible for any housing. From this users are able to see that homelessness is not what they think is it. Appearance plays an important role with how people view and judge homeless people.

further feedback

Upon refining my draft proposal and receiving feedback from my group, there were some points to take a closer look at. These are as follows:

  • My tutor Simone, pointed out that the user is very passive by only clicking things and suggested that things need to be interactive in order for this design to work
  • I needed to create an active presence and discover other ways to reveal the stories in a positive and engaging way
  • They also suggested trying to imagine engaging with the design and how it can be shifted in a space
  • They also pointed out that maybe an interactive board was not the best option to achieve my design proposition

From this I was able to veer into a different path to create a physical interaction rather than using an interactive board.

design proposal

Behind the Curtain

project type.
Generative Design

In today’s society, the youth of the public have become desensitised to social issues while keeping themselves at first thought. As a result, misconceptions about homelessness have been taken out of context and is viewed by first impressions lead by the current stereotypes. Factors such as appearances, assumptions, media, film, and first impressions play a major part into how society perceives the homeless community. The first thing that enters a persons mind upon passing a homeless person is the stereotypical thoughts that this person may have a drug and alcohol addiction or have put themselves in that position and aren’t doing anything to remove themselves from their current situation. But what people don’t know is that these people are humans just like everyone in the world. Some of which are educated, have a job but are not in the best situation at the moment.

possible change.
To break the stereotypes and the multilayered assumptions the youth have on the homeless community by keeping an open mind and view the complexities of a situation that it is not what it seems. As well as having a better understanding about the issue, users will develop empathetic feelings towards homeless people in the hopes to take action and make a change in the homeless community and how they generally perceive homeless people. This will also generate a sense of hope that will be reflective from their experience.

the design action to support the change:
A seating arrangement situated in a university setting where an individual or a group of people converse with someone (homeless participant) who is behind a curtain. A set of instructions will be laid out on the table and a set of rules on how to participate with this design. It will prompt them to have an open mind and must solve a riddle to continue forward. Playing on the idea that there is more than what meets the eye, the user will have a normal conversation with them that leads to the revelation that they are conversing with a homeless person. Once the curtain is pulled away they are given a chance to see each other and reflect on their thoughts of their first impressions. Can the conversation between the user and homeless participant change their perceptions before looking at them? This will be followed with a written entry of what they’ve learnt from their experience, that will be displayed for other people to view.

image of how the user will interact with the design
image of how the user will interact with the design – the big reveal. 

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.


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.



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.

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.


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.



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.