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.


POST NINE: Collaborative Brainstorming


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.


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



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 9} the visual documentation & reflection of post 8.

collaborative process. visual documentation. reflection. judith tan.

Visual documentation and reflection on the collaborative brainstorming process as discussed in post 8.

{group brainstorming}

(Yanovsky, Grieve, Dakkak, Stollery & Tan 2016) We all wrote down our individual ideas for each other’s propositions onto one sheet of paper, as our focusses, objectives and goals were quite similar.

Continue reading “{post 9} the visual documentation & reflection of post 8.”

{post 8} the process of arriving at a design response.

collaborative process. design response possibilities. draft proposal. judith tan.

(Flatau 2016)

We came together as a group to brainstorm possibilities for design responses to our focuses for the issue of homelessness. My objective, what I wanted my design response to achieve, was this:

To shift/change (even slightly) the public’s perception of homelessness (e.g. how easy it is to become homeless, etc.). This would cause the public to be less judgmental and more understanding, help them refrain from jumping to conclusions, be more willing to help and more informed in how to help. The shift in perspectives and attitudes would benefit the homeless and also the organisations seeking to help them.

Continue reading “{post 8} the process of arriving at a design response.”

{post 7} the process of mapping.

mapping process. reflection. judith tan.

(Julie 2016)

Before I scraped the web, for over a period of two to three weeks, the homelessness collaboration group I am working with went through several brainstorming sessions to write and map out what we had individually learned thus far. The purpose was to gain different and broader perspectives from each other’s research and points of view.

Continue reading “{post 7} the process of mapping.”

POST 9: Reflections

James Meland

The academicising of design into a thinking practice is something that is so new and living that when in class, we are adding to the rich practice even when we are discussing ideas casually and in all honesty not know where it is going. As much as design itself is a conversation, we as practitioners must be able to converse both visually and verbally and be able to act as a translator and mediator to solve problems beyond the need for a skin.


I found one of the excersices useful because we started the mind mapping with an investigative framework to track our process and extract useful information. In that sense we applied a logical basis and proper though flow to a facet of the issue that even without approaching with a proper framework would be a convoluded and wicked problem in itself. Though as helpful as one of the excercises was, I found the second to not be as useful. Whether it was a factor out of my control, or the type of excerise – I just found that we were stating things that I already knew. I suppose in retrospect I found it unhelpful because we were discussing things that already existed and they were supposed to be a way to come up with other kinds of solutions. I can see how that might be a useful approach, however listing things like online democracy and youth parliament – things that have already been proposed, I just wished that I had come up with it myself!

map 2.jpg


POST 8: Proposal

James Meland

Within class, I have a unique positioning within the context of issues because of the topic I chose being social inequality. So while social I am grouped within the feminism issue space, my scope very much parallels theirs and we mutually enrich each other’s perspectives. In comparison, I have focused in on certain profound political and social problems head on, while my peers have sided with a certain aspect of social inequality. However it becomes irrelevant after a while as we evolve our concepts within the set framework – I myself have jumped from focusing on financial disparity, then on political extremism and trying to pull strings at other social phenomena. With my Facebook news feed finding news and reflecting more and more of what I seek in everyday discourse, and the amount of conversations that I have which compare the utopic Scandinavian and the unjust US, we get closer to creating a form.


After extensive group discussions regarding the role of institutional bodies, groups of people and objects, I have come to forming five possibilities to launch my own agenda.

  • We need an app system to push and vote on certain agenda
  • We need to have generative design to promote online democracy to remove barriers in the way of expressing ones voice
  • We need an information visualization design for political donation and transparency
  • We need a generative system or even a game style design to let people be aware of welfare services they may need
  • We need an information visualisation which explores social welfare vs. corporate welfare

In this time I realize that it is all well and good to say that legislation and policy are the only way to cement freedoms and push for social betterment. However in an age where apps like UBER and Foodora threaten other conventional with obsolescence, in the same way we can push for certain ideologies through modern design and emerging practices to provoke response from other stakeholders.






Mind Mapping Ideas: The Strengths & Weaknesses of Group Brainstorming

Post 9 by Alice Stollery

Collaboratively brainstorming and mind mapping possible design responses had it’s own set of strengths and weakness. As a group, we spent 10 minutes on each person, first listening to their problem statement and then collectively coming up with ideas for possible solutions or responses. Each person was responsible for documenting their own issue, taking note of ideas they thought had value.


As I have learnt in previous group work and blog posts throughout the semester, this process provided me with a good basic understanding of possible directions my design response could take. I found it to be a good starting point, as the ideas that came out of this session were quite vague and needed further individual development. The ideas from this session end up sparking thoughts and tangents in my mind that enabled me to think of responses I may not have come up with on my own. The process definitely helped when I sat down on my own at home to further refine the ideas and to draft a proposal. As a result the task seemed less daunting.


There were however, a number of weaknesses within the process. As four out of five members of the group had a very similar focus area, it became difficult to continually generate new ideas on the same topic over and over again. The quality and detail in the ideas seem to reduce as we moved around the group. There were also times where there was not a lot of idea generation happening. I think, overall, as a group, we put too much pressure on ourselves to come up with complete and clearly defined responses. Therefore there were times when we had nothing to say, unable to articulate a complete response. In hindsight, we should have been a bit more playful and relaxed with the process, which may have generated more creative responses.

The Misuse of Language: A Mind Map of Ideas

Below I have included the mind map I generated while the group discussed possible responses to my issue of terminology and the misuse of language. As you can see there are a number of tangents and areas that do not make a lot of sense. I have noted some points down that are not exactly design responses but points I found interesting during the process that I thought could possibly inform my direction at a later stage.


The Role of Language in Homelessness: A Design Response

Post 8 by Alice Stollery

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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. 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 empathy, engagement and as a result generate positive outcomes, enabling more people to engage with the issue rather than offering an immediate solution.

In recent weeks, through research into homelessness in the mainstream media, journal articles, social media platforms, image libraries and brainstorming sessions, this misuse of language 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.

With this in mind, I recently took part in a group brainstorming session to generate possibilities for a design response for this problem of language and its misuse. The process created a good basis of ideas for further individual development and enable me to articulate both my problem statement as well as how I want my design response to make my audience feel. I would like to generate feelings of compassion, empathy, and respect towards the homeless, so my audience can realise, reflect and become purposeful. Below, I have listed 5 design responses that came out of this session..

Five point summary of possible design responses
  1. Intervention: To intervene when the misuse of the term homeless or its derogatory counterparts, hobo, tramp or bum are used online. This would be in the form of a twitter bot that responds to such tweets, highlighting the misuse by either providing a link to information on the issue, providing personal stories of those affected or by simply pointing out their lack of empathy. However, this type of response would not have the desired affect on the target audience and I do not think it would generate a sense of empathy towards sufferers. I do not want to create a design response that is self-righteous and that could be seen as shaming a person’s lack of empathy towards the issue.
  1. A Dictionary of Homelessness: A dictionary of alternate meanings that fade in and out. This would be based on the various meanings that homelessness takes in everyday language such as a lack of money, poor appearance etc. It is an interesting concept I would like to look into, as it is still quite vague at this stage. Another possibility could be to juxtapose the misuse of language with images or information on the real issue. For example, I may take a tweet that states “OMG I look so homeless today” with an image of a homeless person and their story. This juxtaposition of alternate meanings would make those misusing this language feel uncomfortable with their flippant or casual use of these terms without directly pointing the finger at individuals.
  1. Mapping the relationship between language and sufferers: This would aim to visualise the relationship between our misuse of language and the number of suffers in a particular area. I would map the use of terms such as hobo, bum and tramp by geographical location while also mapping the numbers of homeless people in those areas to see if there is any correlation between language and homelessness numbers. For example the term hobo may be used more so in Sydney than Melbourne and it would be interesting to see if homelessness numbers were higher in Sydney due to this casual lack of empathy and resulting desensitisation.
  1. My name is..: this response would be a data visualisation or geo visualisation of those suffering from homelessness categorised by first name. It is a known fact that we all like to hear our own name and this could be a way to overcome this desensitisation and stigma and to create familiarity. This response would aim to create connections between sufferers and non sufferers, highlighting things they may have in common. It would attempt to change the way we talk about people experiencing homelessness. As the misuse of the word homeless has diluted its meaning and emotional impact, calling homeless people by name would change our perspective of them, make them more relatable and hopefully generate more empathy towards them. This map would aim to humanise them through the use of their first name. For example, the map may depict that there are 100 Simone’s in the 18-24 year old age bracket that are currently suffering from homelessness. This creates a personal connection and enables people to think about the issue from a more empathetic angle. Suddenly they are able to see that those suffering from homelessness are just like them.
  1. I saw a homeless man today and felt…: This response would take the form of a data visualisation. I would survey a number of people to ascertain their feelings when they see a homeless person. I would then organise this information to communicate relationships and to ascertain how the youth of today feel towards homelessness. This could be conducted in the pedestrian tunnel at Central Station, as there are a number of homeless people in this area and a high volume of foot traffic in the 18 to 24 year old age bracket. Once students have walked past a homeless person, I could ask them how they felt when they saw the homeless person. This could generate interesting results however I am not sure how it would tackle the wider issue of perception beyond simply highlighting the presence of stigma.

What are we talking about?!
Draft Proposal, Visualisation

Twitter is a social platform that allows dissemination of random thoughts, ignorance and public opinion. With 313 million active global users recording and sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences, twitter is a real-time source of information and a perfect tool for researching public opinion and scraping the platform for data.

It was through this scraping of data that I first became aware of the magnitude of the misuse of language around homelessness. During my previous web scraping blog post, I found over 10,000 posts that contained the word hobo alone.

Through this design response I aim to create a play on words, juxtaposing the different meanings of language used around this issue. This idea is based on point two above, The Dictionary of Homelessness. The design response will highlight the alternative meanings of the word ‘homeless’ through the juxtaposition of the ways in which they are used. For example.. stories of the homeless and their daily struggle may be juxtaposed with tweets stating that a celebrity looks like a hobo. This type of response would be like the urban dictionary vs the oxford dictionary, highlighting how the word homeless has evolved overtime, changing the meaning and resulting in desensitisation.


Mullet Initiative. 2016, ‘The last time I tried to cut my hair resulted in me looking homeless”, Twitter post, 11 September, viewed 19 September 2016,<>.

POST SIX: Data Mining


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.


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


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.


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.



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 8: Changing the Face Of Homelessness

Brainstorming Possibilities for a Design Response.

– Maria Yanovsky 2016


Before reading this post, I implore you to watch this particular TED talk. It is one thing to hear this discussion from global speakers, but there is a resonating power, hearing Orsini’s point of view as a part of the contemporary Australian youth. It is predominantly to the ideas that she is expressing (alienation, stigma, negative assumptions, mistrust, invisibility, stereotypes) that I wish to design to. To understand the crux of homelessness and why I am designing what I am designing, this TED talk is on point the results all my previous posts have been exploring.                 


“If you’re not apart of the solution, you’re part of the problem”- Maurice Young, 2015

From newspaper articles to essays, to social experiments to data mining social media. To analysing images and countless brainstorming. What does this all sum up to? Within my understanding of the core roots of homelessness this entire process has given me clarity into the heart of the issues that drive alienation and dehumization of marginalised social groups such as the homeless. These answers may seem bleak, however the potential for positive change is fruitless. This next post will aim to examine an angle in which I would like to take a design proposition, predominantly focusing on the dehumanisation of Homelessness through stigma; specifically, alienation  which occurs through discourse and voluntary and involuntary human actions. In order to come up with a clear problem statement and draft proposal it was pertinent that I examine the five w’s to narrow down all the research and my thoughts into a concise paragraph.



  • Homeless people are at the pinnacle of this issue, as it both involves and affects them. However, this is such a broad term, there are homeless kids, adults, migrants, mothers, mentally ill people and many who are experiencing many kinds of homelessness which including sleeping on the street, couch surfing, staying at a friends place or in shelters. The term focusses on displacement of the concept of home.
  • The general public and passers by, pedestrians on the street who have a lack of empathy or understanding which can cause a negative reaction and the circulation of stigma with general discourse
  • Support workers, whose resources are stretched thin that devote their spare time to helping homeless people
  • Businesses (with charitable intentions), who despite common discourse and stigma devote a fraction of their hard owned funds to giving back to the community for the sake of the community.
  • Businesses  who on the tip side of the coin take advantage of these negative perceptions to demonstrate “their helping hand of god” to help their own reputation grow as opposed to the benefit of the homeless
  • Urban youth, who misuse language and terms within discourse further perpetuating negative stigma.
  •  Corporate bodies (fashion, technology, media) that peddle the importance of consumerism, shifting the focus off charity and onto the consumption of material goods generating a look and feel for societies to follow



There are several boundaries to the issue of stigma towards homelessness. Linguistic terminology and identification is amongst the most damaging in terms of alienation and stigma, where through discourse terminology is used either ignorantly without an understanding of the terms roots or for the lack of empathy of the emotional impact to those affected by these terms and labels.  Barriers in linguistic can be passive as well, where discourse generates disparaging terms directly associated to those within the affected social group.

Representational barriers such as negative imagery within Television and film (predominantly serial shows and cartoons)  perpetuate existing ideas in societies who are influenced by an often inaccurate and often uncomfortable representation of people from the homeless community which subliminally and through repetition cements stigma.

Through this boundary comes a deeper psychological boundary where instinct drives an incomparable fear. These stem from the psychological where people are told that the homeless are not safe from a young age thus the idea burns on as members of society grow into adulthood. This is where people feel a sense of discomfort from behaviors, appearance or smell. Psychological boundaries also exists in  an almost Darwinian frame of thinking where people shroud the issue with a proverbial blanket rendering it invisible due to the fear that this could possibly happen to “you”  creating an ignorance barrier stemming into a Structural problem of “Us v.s Them” mentality which is further perpetuated through labelling in attempts to discuss and in a way, understand the issue.

Lack of awareness and understanding is one of the most serious barriers to this issue. As demonstrated within my examinations of articles and representation the concept of homelessness is not a considerably heated topic. Limited discussions happen within politics which means even less filters down into society. This generates a lack of empathy as people begin to “sweep under the carpet” an issue that is commonly encountered within urban environments. This barrier comes from a lack of the other three factors listed above as well as a lack of education within institutions which do not specifically highlight homelessness as an issue, rather focus on bullying as a whole.


This sort of stigma happens all the time through various physical and online interactions. On the street this sort of alienation can occur in simple occurrences such as when a member of the homeless community walks passed people in public spaces and people are repelled by their smell or appearance. Stigma occurs when pedestrians walk past members of the homeless community who are sleeping on the street or who are stared at while they sleep. On the obverse, this issue occurs when homeless people are ignored when begging for money. This issue also occurs in shops and restaurants where a member of this community are refused service because they do not fit the standards of social norms. Stigma and alienation occurs (more ignorantly) online with the misuse of labels and terminology when discussing one’s own appearance or physical state and in the rarer instances when discussing those who are affected by this issue directly. Terminology such as this has seeped into social media such as twitter, where fashion bloggers detach terms such as “hobo” in the descriptions of their products.


This problem occurs in both physical and online spaces, within conversation and in print. This problem can be seen walking around densely populated urban areas where members of this community would find a higher concentration of people and resources to help them. In Sydney for example this problem often occurs along George St, in City CBD street corners where people often ignore beggars and buskers at Belmore Park where many people feel it is unsafe to walk at certain times of the night because of a small homeless camp that resides there, in fast food places where members of the homeless community go to buy a cheap meal and at train stations like Central  where many members seek warm, protected shelter. The problem occurs often in passing if either a pedestrian is walking by or a member of the homeless community, generally as indirect contact, however it can occur directly if more direct interaction is made in say for example, a conversational instance where a member of the homeless community is asking passers by for money.

This issue also occurs online in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram) as well as online forums where the continued misuse of terminology is more commonly found due to the internet’s power of invisibility where users can say what they want without fear of judgement.

Stemming from this, the problem occurs in conversation both physical and online where experiences are shared and discussed. This happens in Blogs as well such Reddit, however it can be as seemingly harmless as people discussing the latest “hobo” bag or how “hobo” they look today.

Homeless people are often denied any assistance or have compassionate gestures withheld upon first-glance because people are repelled by uncomfortable smells and disheveled, tattered appearance. This reaction is not only physical but ingrained through common discourse in which their state of homelessness is pinned to affirmation that they “fucked up” by “going down the wrong path” and therefore don’t deserve “or hard owned help”. People of the homeless community may have issues within their lives however they are still part of our community. People have enough issues in their lives and some of the members of the homeless community carry heavy cases of mental illness. On their road to finding a solution to their problem or recovery, the last thing anyone needs is to be treated like filth, teased, sneered at and judged. Through the interview conducted in one of my previous blogs the participant said they need to be able to help themselves. Through social exclusion, it is very hard for anyone to even want to help themselves. Through a simple change in attitude there is the potential of a cost free solution which will require no intervention from the Government.


Homelessness is a blanket term used to describe a state of being homeless. It is a highly misconceived term. From the examination above I have come to the conclusion that there are several key issues that are involved with the perpetual dehumanizing and alienating stigmas towards homeless people. This includes:-

  • Resentment
  • Lack of understanding.
  • Lack of empathy.
  • Natural Instinct, where a natural discomfort occurs.
  • Ingrained negative perceptions subliminally bombarded through visual media.
  • Desensitised and passive use of language.


As you can read, these causes are all negative. To create effective change, it will be important to flip these perceptions and feelings into a more positive sphere to engender optimism and confidence that the solution isn’t exploiting any parties in a tense economic climate. In post 9, I will further demonstrate how I have structured my emotive foundations.


The problem statement

Within modern urban societies one of the largest issues faced in motivated personal problem solving associated with practical and positive life choices comes from the dehumanizing and alienating factors associated with perpetuated stigma. This is a clear case within Homeless societies across the world, who generally make clear cut attempts to create positive personal change but are knocked back by negative societal attitudes and perceptions. There is a lack of hope, and a lack of optimism generating a sizeable wedge between effective solutions and the willingness to implement these solutions.


  • A sense of inclusiveness, removing any us and them barriers by creating a positive image of the excluded society group engendering a sense of hopefulness from the target audience.
  •  A “churn in the gut” feeling to create a sense of realisation that terminology is being used incorrectly and insensitively through possibly a twitter bot that will retweet stories sourced online from homeless people to people on twitter who use the term “hobo” or “bum” distastefully.


Collect the data from the twitter bot and create a mock installation room for an exhibition. The room can contain objects however every aspect of the small room must be covered in tweets that exemplify the idea of stigmatism towards homeless people or show that terminology is to being used incorrectly. This will aim to create an uncomfortable, invasive space. Outside there is to be a document compiled with sourced experiences and stories from homeless people taken from articles, blogs and forums to tie in with the experience and create a churn in the gut feeling.

  • Create a sense of empathetic understanding through immersive, empathetic experiences that may demonstrate that the state of homelessness can happen to anybody with the current global financial climate, highlighting that youth are most at risk to falling into a cyclical homeless cycle.
  •  Create a sense of understanding from non homeless people to find or contribute to a system that then engenders  either a sense of hopefulness and positivity from the homeless community, this would be done through some sort of service design or potentially a hybrid service and generative system design which would incorporate elements of both practices to come out with an outcome suited to 18-24 year olds.
  • Create a sense of frustration, irritation and loneliness by creating an empathetic experience that simulates the process of getting a spot to stay in a homeless shelter for a night.


Draft Proposal

Due to a lack of empathetic and knowledge based understanding instinctual precepts, stigma and alienation towards the marginalised group – the Homeless, runs rampant within contemporary urban societies. To create effective and long lasting change, these negative perceptions need to be shifted to achieve “help me to help you” attitude to ensure that members of the homeless community can retain a sense of hope to continue attempting to create their own solution.

I propose to pitch a hybrid design that crosses generative design and service design to educate both key stakeholders (non-homeless people and homeless people) within current urban spaces to perspectively achieve a depth of knowledge and a sense of hope. I would like to design a pack of Paste Ups which would feature an A1 black and white picture of an empty picture frame with space for the user to fill in with their own artwork. Included in this pack will be a carefully curated selection of stories from members of the homeless community to give the participant a greater insight into homeless life. The participant will then be asked to decorate the blank space in response to the material that has been read, send their posters back, which will be turned into a Guerrilla Poster series accompanied with Paste Up hashtags of services linked with the stories sent to the participant. The project will set up a system of conventions and steps the participants need to follow to achieve an outcome, but the outcome will rest solely in their own hands .

The project aims to create an outcome for both parties involved within this issue by taking into consideration the importance of an urban wall as a non human actor within the scope of homelessness. Brining a communal project to create hopeful, positive works to invade the often bleak and uninspiring urban spaces in which the homeless often reside (especially in Sydney). This would chef rom the power of colour on the human psyche as well as the “olive branch” metaphorical gesture these works present as an attempt by a non homeless person to make a difference to a homeless persons life.

Participants in turn, would gain better insights to what it is like to be homeless, thus creating a knowledge based empathy.This project will then aim to translate into a collaborative generative design in which the participant will be guided into creating bright, vibrant artwork to contribute to the “urban directory” of hashtags creating a positive link of contribution between both stakeholders. The final product pasted in the street, will parallel the feel of a decorated homely item and will aim to “brighten up” the bleak world of someone who is homeless weather they are on the street or are in transit from whatever shelter they may be living in. The addition of service related hashtags aims to extend a directory of options to homeless communities giving people options if their internet access is limited or if they are unsure of where to start.

Street art activism, is a youthful and creative response to various social issues that youth across the globe can get involved with and enjoy. Inspired by projects such as Kony (the idea behind it not the manipulative execution) as well as the “Anti Cancer Paste Up” campaign by J. Walter I aim to engage the ages between 18-25 to taking a less monetary approach to helping the issue of homlessness.

Young, M.  Published on Nov 12, 2015, ‘Homeless by design?”, Viewed September 2016, <;.
Orsini,B. “The Unexpected face of Homelessness” TED x Macquarie University, Published on Dec 3 2013. Viewed in September 2016. <;

POST 9: Visual documentation of the brainstorming session


Filling in the Blanks


– Maria Yanovsky, 2016


Group brainstorming session, which in my opinion was not a great success. Not because the method was wrong, but the group collectively lacked clarity and drive. (Brainstorm, Homelessness and Exclusion Group, 2016)



Unfortunately, collaborative work is not always a success. For the proposal brainstorming session, there was a lot of confusion within the group as to what needed to be done. Because of a lack of clarity, the map itself is quite bare.

Initially the group attempted to write down solid ideas for everyone’s problem statements where four out of five members were dealing with an aspect of stigma towards the homeless community. This lead to numerous overlaps, stagnation of ideas and overall exhaust of creative thinking. It was not until towards the end of the session where a tutor approached the group, clearly noticing the struggle to populate the sheet of butcher’s paper that we realised the ideas we were generating did not need to be solid at this stage, and could be as bare as pinpointing the emotions we wanted to draw out from our proposed outcomes. These words of wisdom were a touch too late as the session was at an end and members burn out. However the session laid the foundations for post class creative thinking and brainstorming.

The one key aspect that this session did demonstrate was that a majority of the group wanted to highlight on the negative stigmatisation towards people in the homeless community. After much reflection, I felt that it may be intriguing if I explored this issue in a more positive angle. This meant I had to fill in the cracks of my research which had not yet fully looked at the issue from that perspective.

TedTalks are a valuable resource of gaining anecdotal reflections on issues. I had gone through numerous talks from people who had a part to play with the issue of homelessness within their community or were they themselves, homeless.

Key insight list created while watching a playlist of TED Talks  (Yanovsky.M, 2016).

During my small research session, I reflected on one or two key insights from each of the Ted Talks speakers. Optimism, hope and positive change were recurring themes. The most influential driver to the direction of my brainstorming came from the talk “How can I bring dignity to the homeless? “ by  Joel Hunt who said

“We can approach people with respect for themselves, we can offer a handshake, a smile a hello- their reception to our action isn’t our responsibility but as a person you tried. It’s about how we as a community of individuals can come together to bring hope.Smiles. Dignity can be restored through hope.”- J.Hunt 2014.

It was through this, I began to feel that shaming and blaming may not generate an effective positive reception from the target audience of 18-25 year olds as the message of the design may fall short from the scalding, condescending and potentially mocking tone some of the potential design responses could engender. I personally would’t listen to a twitter bot if I was misusing language in relation to homelessness.

From this exercise, I brainstormed a scope of emotions I may want to generate from my design proposition and began ideating in accordance with emotions that I felt may generate a stronger, more meaningful outcome all the while keeping in mind of my human and non human stake holder map.

From the brainstorming and further research I generated a list of roughly 9 ideas. For the sake of blog I have split up where I have placed some of these ideas, some are located in my blog post 8. From this list I picked a few that I thought could make for interesting design propositions then broke them down into examinations of their category, making sure to examine stakeholders and emotion as well as purpose. My two favourite options (shown above) are on polar ends of what I would hope to achieve. Focusing on emotional impact was an effective way of zeroing into my thoughts and generating unexpected ideas, either of which I would be more than happy to make.

Hunt, J.  Published on Oct 22, 2014 ‘How can I bring dignity to the homeless? TEDxSaltLakeCity’, Viewed September 2016, <;.