collaborative process. visual documentation. reflection. judith tan.
Visual documentation and reflection on the collaborative brainstorming process as discussed in post 8.
collaborative process. visual documentation. reflection. judith tan.
Visual documentation and reflection on the collaborative brainstorming process as discussed in post 8.
collaborative process. design response possibilities. draft proposal. judith tan.
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.
mapping process. reflection. judith tan.
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.
Post 9: Visual documentation of the brainstorming session
As a continuation of post 8 which talked about the process, possibilities and findings of the brainstorming exercise, this one discusses what I felt were the strengths and weaknesses of the exercise.
While the group brainstorming exercise was intended to generate five different problem statements and various possibilities for those statements, our group ended up creating an overarching problem statement on what we thought was the crux of the housing affordability issue based on the 5 W’s.
The Problem Statement: In 21st century Australia, Generation Y is experiencing difficulties when it comes to buying their first home. Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world and because of the high cost of living, paired with the younger generation’s low to medium starting income, this creates unfair opportunities for them in a housing market dominated by older, richer generations and property investors. The lack of collaborative government support in affordable housing, and a surplus of unsuitable property supply, resulting in a rapid disappearing model of the Australian Dream.
Strengths: Although we didn’t do the exercise as intended, the mapping component helped to paint a clearer picture on what we all felt were the main points to consider in the issue of housing affordability – it was a step that narrowed the issue down and helped put into perspective what we, as 18 to 24 year olds felt were crucial to address. As someone who has significant difficulty with putting words into sentences to accurately depict an idea, I felt that the problem statement we produced as a group is something that I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own. I’ve realised that the way something is worded can help to produce a much more rich, illustrative or emotive image in one’s mind which generates a more empathetic reaction from the audience.
Weaknesses: Even though we did so many weeks of research (which is quite a time consuming process), having to take insights from that research, identify possibilities and actually turn it into an opportunity for a design proposal was a huge strain on my brain. The brainstorming exercise would have been a great way to tune each other into thinking about the issue critically and specifically… had we actually done it the right way. At this point, I felt like there was an overall uncertainty between all my group members as to how we were to put on those specific thinking hats and whether we were on the right track or not so we ended up looking at the problem stating exercise in a very broad manner. This resulting in us mulling for the rest of the tutorial as to what proposals could come out of such a broad perspective, and unfortunately we left class with no answers. Possibly we just needed a nice long study break to break ourselves away from the subject for a little and come back with a fresh outlook on how to go about this crucial part of the subject.
Throughout the last few weeks we have engaged with many different mind-mapping exercises in order to engage with our topics in a collaborative and comprehensive manner.
Mind mapping exercises are a great way to visually organise information when trying to explore and solve complex problems as they can demonstrate relationships between information, a key requirement when looking at interrelated issues and participants. The collaborative mind mapping exercises facilitated in-class discussions and debates around complex issues, allowing us to delve into aspects of these sub-issues that we hadn’t previously considered.
The mind mapping exercise that we completed in class gave us greater insights into our problem statement for assessment task three.
Since completing this map, I have fleshed out and refined my problem statement. In completing the prompts for my mind map, I’ve integrated the areas that I focused on within my research, namely; the effect the media and government have had on narratives related to refugee and asylum seekers issues, the dehumanising portrayal of refugees which has lead to fear and disengagement within the public, and the potential social media platforms (such as Twitter) have to express narratives to that counter those in mainstream media.
My problem statement came to fruition by answering some basic prompt questions, recording them on the mind map and observing some of the interconnected responses. As I had already established a broad area to focus on -restating a sense of identity and humanity amongst refugees to shift public perceptions- my responses were given with reference to that framework.
Who are the primary participants involved in this issue?
As we don’t live in a societal vacuum there are multiple overlapping participants that lie at the core of refugee and asylum seeker issues. It feels impolitic to consider these participants in isolation, as that would separate how each participant proliferates and is influenced by one another. It’s important to remember that the reason refugee and asylum seekers are considered an issue is as a direct result of politicised and institutionalised racism, a situation that implicates everyone, especially our media and governing bodies.
The subject area I’m specifically looking into directly focuses on refugee and asylum seeker narratives and ways to connect this with a public audience. Through primary research I found that a heightened sense of apathy for refugee issues stemmed from a sense of disconnection and isolation from the people and the subject matter. It’s important that the refugee narratives are accessible for the general public and come directly from refugees and asylum seekers themselves.
What are the boundaries of this problem?
The boundaries of this problem lie in a number of structural and societal issues that are in many way interconnected. On a structural level there are issues which affect and are affected by governing bodies; the Australian government, the United Nations, treaties and relations between foreign countries and even international maritime laws. On a societal level, boundaries are a result of miscommunication and a general lack of understanding. They encompass a range of misrepresentations that are perpetuated throughout the media and as a result of censorship laws.
Why should we be engaging in solving these issues?
We should be engaging with these issues as it’s a basic human right to seek asylum. It’s the responsibility of people in other countries to assist when people are displaced as a result of persecution. A denial of these basic human rights is a denial of compassion and of our humanity.
Where are these issues occurring?
Whilst my focus area is around refugees in Australis’s offshore processing centres (Nauru and Manus) the refugee crises is a global humanitarian issue, effecting tens of millions of people around the world. The more abstract issue of racial intolerance permeates our societies around the world, fuelled by governments and mainstream media outlets.
When did this occurred? Is it currently occurring?
The displacement of people as a result of persecution and violence is not a modern phenomenon – it’s been occurring for hundreds of years. In the last 20 years however, this issue has been politicised as a threat to quality of life. It’s in these last 20 years that we’ve seen laws introduced that highlight our societies growing conservative nature.
Emergent practices and design thinking is required for addressing complex issues such as these explored within this subject. With this level of complexity and depth, it’s easy for the individual to become overwhelmed, to feel the issue is too big to make an impact. Over the last few months, I’ve learned the value of in-depth research within deeply complex issues. Discovering manageable focus areas and tangible solutions within design encourages social and attitudinal change from a grassroots level. This exercise was helpful in that it motivated us to collate and organise ideas in order to find manageable and focused design solutions.
Wallman, S, So Below (2016)
It was thoroughly satisfying to start noticing links between the groups’ answers to the who/what/where/when/why sections of the problem statement. Rather than merely jotting down anything that came to mind, this exercise urged us to be more critical of what we were selecting to include. A strength of the process is that it has really encouraged us to consider multiple facets of ‘Generation Y’s’ positioning within the issue of housing affordability. Additionally, the formulating of a problem statement has provided us with a cohesive understanding of the situation which will better inform our design responses.
A strength to the process is that by continuously coming together to brainstorm collectively, we are consistently reminding each other not to neglect the topic as whole. Over the past few weeks, we have all started to narrow our focuses based on our particular interests. In doing so, we risk forgetting to keep up to date with the topic as a whole and/or failure to consider peripheral aspects of the topic, that may be useful to our design response. As we all have different interests, our discussions enrich each others’ explorations of the topic by consistently pushing each other to think from different perspectives. Group sessions allow for other people to suggest possible directions or identify potential problems that I may not see by myself.
A major weakness of the process was that as a group, we tended to generalise what we meant when writing our answers. I think this is because the group has reached a point where we feel like we are repeating ourselves and reiterating the same information that we have been mapping over the past few weeks. Rather than slowing down and feeling demotivated, I think we should treat these mapping opportunities as chances to reveal new insights into our topic.
A strength of brainstorming collaboratively is that it helps people discuss the issue in a colloquial and stimulating manner. I find that this helps me relax and encourages me to come up with more unconventional and creative ideas. Sometimes when I am brainstorming by myself, my ideas can become quite convoluted and stray off the right path. Voicing my ideas to another person helps me determine whether it is practical based on their reaction. It also is a good opportunity to test drive an idea to gauge whether a suggestion is relevant, understandable and enticing.
As outlined in post #8, the individual and group tasks performed helped me shape my understanding of the attitudes towards refugees and how this attitude / perception has been shaped. Outlined below is our collaborating brainstorm, as well as factors involving the activity:
– The ability to start a new brainstorming exercise without having any previous brainstorming sessions together was great, as it allowed for more conversation.
– The lack of diversity between the issues we were facing restricted the conversation a few times. Some things were repeated rather than reiterated.
– While the opportunity to work with new people was going well, our personal views on the issue were different. This created some valid points to put on our brainstorming exercise, but also created some heated discussions, as we occasionally found ourselves defending our views, rather than combining them.
Peter Andreacchio (11768381)
by Jessica Avelina Horo
Throughout the last few weeks, we have been engaged with a lot of different mind-mapping exercises in order to engage and see our topics in a collaborative way. In this week, we were still in the combined class which is much larger and less intimate. However, I sat down with my initial groups and we started the lesson by writing problem statement that we could create after every exercises and researches that we’ve done. We wrote down as many statements as we could, discussed them to other members and gave each other feedbacks. This exercise was really helpful to really broke down such a broad issue; as we are forced to wrote down what,when, where,why and how it affects others. Some of us ended up having similar statements as our concerns, which is also good because we can strengthen our statement in the mind mapping process. It wasn’t long until we decided which statement we will take a chance to explore further. The problem statements we chose are about attitudes toward refugees and about refugees experiencing trauma in detention centre. We wrote everything we could think of, for example its stakeholders, emotions, any words that relates to the issue.
The strength of this exercise is probably because we were dealing with a more specific topic as opposed to the larger maps. Everyone looked confident to contribute their own words to fill out the gaps in the map. I gained a lot of different perspective from this exercise only as I saw how everyone’s putting their own perspective on the same issue. We really enjoyed this process and really amazed by the amount of words we could wrote on this statements in the end of exercises. We also linked words that could be associated with other keywords so that we were able to see the relationships between each words.
In terms of weakness in this process is probably I still don’t know how to approach this issue in a different way and then came up with a design response. The refugees issue is such a complex and broad issue that it takes time to really broke down the issue. Probably the reason why we took so many weeks to brainstorm and do mind-maps of the issue is because of the complexity of the issue. I felt a little overwhelmed as I feel from the start of this project, we talked about serious topic such as refugees without much individual discussion with the tutors. I felt independent by doing all these stages alone and sometimes with my groups but I don’t know where to start my responding stage. It is really hard to choose part of the issue that could be responded with a design response.
Like any process, collaborative brainstorming has its own unique strengths and weaknesses.
In this tutorial, myself and two other classmates joined forces, sharing with other our individual problem statements and then devoting time to brainstorm the associations, themes and actors that came to mind for each one.
Starting with my rough beginnings of a problem statement, we oriented our first mind map around the trauma experienced by refugees in offshore detention. An immediate strength of this process was the fresh sets of eyes offered by my two classmates. Coming from their own unique social and geographical contexts, they brought a multitude of ideas to the fore that would never have crossed my mind.
For example, Lily brought attention to the psychologists, doctors, aid workers and other staff working in the detention camps, encouraging me to see the trauma experienced in camps as affecting more than just the detainees themselves. The ideas mapped by my classmates acted to not only challenge my own framing of the problem statement, but also trigger my own ideas in new directions.
For example, Lily’s suggestion of the effect of detention on a child’s moral code spurred on my own reflection on the ethics (or lack of) being taught by the practice of detention. Whilst putting your unique area of interest under the microscope can be somewhat daunting, it ultimately pays generous dividends. Simultaneously solidifying and shifting the boundaries of my problem statement, each suggestion made by my group members triggered ideas for a possible design response.
Since my two group members had developed nearly identical problem statements, we decided to combine these into a single brainstorming session, oriented around attitudes towards refugees. Inadvertently, this illuminated the close and inextricable links between the two problem statements, with one informing the other. Australian attitudes towards refugees are unquestionably affected by the trauma that those refugees experience in offshore detention.
Inspiring me to reverse this relationship, this brainstorm sparked the idea of harnessing public attitudes in my design response, and employing them to make change to the problem of offshore detention. In revealing this link, the brainstorming session was of great benefit to me, acting as a kind of ‘re-frame’ to my own personal work.
One interesting thing worth noting was the difference in flow between the first and second brainstorming sessions. I have often thought that it is much easier to give ideas to others than to come up with ideas for your own work, and this was certainly confirmed during these exercises. My thoughts flowed much more freely during the second brainstorming session than the first.
Upon reflection, I feel that this is most likely due to the lack of pressure or consequence when working with someone else’s idea, and the freeing effect that this has on the expression of ideas – without the need for prior critical evaluation.
From these sessions, it is very hard to identify any significant weakness to the process of collaborative brainstorming. One frustration, however, does present itself in the ambiguity of the webs of ideas produced by such a session. Never completely exhaustive, a mind map alone cannot resolve a problem, and rather functions as a mere guide for forward motion. It is up to the designer to actively choose one of the resulting ideas or themes to run with and develop further, grappling all the while with the possibility of picking a dead end.
From my own experience, however, I have found that it is in this place of risk and uncertainty that most good and meaningful work begins.
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.
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.
By Basilia Dulawan
Working collaboratively with two other students also working on Gender Equality, it was an interesting process having to explain the specific issue you wanted to explore within the broader issue of Gender Equality. The biggest strength of working collaboratively on brainstorming design ideas was that we had the opportunity to suggest, generate and build up someone else’s idea from fresh eyes. Additionally, being given the IDEO Brainstorm rules especially: Defer Judgement, was something new and when generating ideas for my own issue or for someone else’s I kept that in mind because I find I will judge the idea in my head and never write it down. What this process taught me was to write it down no matter what, filter and sort through later.
The second time I tried this method was at home, I grabbed some post-it notes and set the time for 15 minutes. I found that I was able to produce more ideas in that 15 minutes alone that I was when I had 15 minutes with the group. This could be because I’ve had more time to think about it, or also because I think it can be daunting to be given an big sheet of blank paper to fill up, so working on small post-it’s was less intimidating. I also feel that because I was alone doing this exercise I wasn’t worried about if other people understood my issue currently, or thinking about why they weren’t writing anything down.
This is what I came up with:
When the roles were reversed and I was the one contributing to another’s design ideas, I treated it as if it were my own. I tried to think of as many ideas as possible and even building on what they had written down.
As I sat down in class with my issues group, I knew the inevitable was going to happen. As the butchers paper was yet again spread around the class, my eyes watered. The thought of mapping again put my head in a spin. But, to my surprise, we weren’t mapping. We were brainstorming….which is basically the same thing as mapping.
So, in our issue groups, we helped each other brainstorm possible design responses for each persons particular topic. This exercise helped flesh out my problem statement from earlier in class and also my specific area of interest within mental health, which I have explained further in POST 8. They suggested even more specific areas within my topic, possible conceptual ideas, and current design responses and directions that relate to my issue. This collective brainstorming discussion on each persons topic helped create new perspectives and directions for possible service, generative or data driven design responses.
The first brainstorm was on my problem statement, which I further explain in POST 8. My group and I discussed simplifying communication between patient and doctor in order to create a more comfortable dialogue. One of my group members also directed me to a current medical design response called Babybe which helps regulate the heartbeat of babies. This created another direction of providing care and guidance outside of healthcare for people suffering with mental health issues. This brainstorm provided me with a few avenues to delve into with possible design solutions.
The second brainstorm was based on the problem ownership and control of our state of mind. We collectively brainstormed ideas about analysis of habits and feelings experienced throughout a day, changing perspectives on situations and the importance of mindfulness. In this brainstorm, we began to break off our ideas into the areas of service, generative systems and data visualisation designs. We got more into the process with this mind-map and generated more ideas and discussion.
Our third brainstorm was based around the idea of proactive self help and mental wellbeing. Again, we categorised ideas into the three emergent practice areas at the bottom of the brainstorm. We came up with ideas such as a self help system/ tool kit, motivation diary and a happy graph. Interestingly, this brainstorm incorporated some drawing and sketching as well to better communicate ideas.
If you have been reading my blog posts consistently, you would know my view of mind mapping and brainstorming quite clearly by now. I find brainstorming in a group has its ups and downs. I found it helpful in fleshing out my specific topic and problem statement but when it came to actually brainstorming ideas, we often got stuck or went off track in our discussions. I also think I needed a better understanding of the three types of emergent practices (service design, generative systems and data visualisation) before mind-mapping ideas as I felt like I was flying blind. I think group brainstorming is a great starting point for creating ideas and gaining fresh insights, but it is ultimately always up to the individual to create a final design response.
After weeks spent researching and mapping, both broadly and focused in on the issue of climate change and bird wildlife, it was time to start developing ideas about what aspect to visually represent and how. In order to hone in on one of these aspects, a rapid one hundred idea collaborative brainstorming method was introduced to us, where—as a team—we would fire away ideas in rapid succession, with the intent on getting to a sheet that held one hundred ideas.
Of course, there will always be benefits and drawbacks to any method undertaken. This one hundred idea generation exercise was still overall very effective and opened up many possibilities for ideas that may not have been apparent in a solo brainstorming session or one that was more controlled.
By Basilia Dulawan
While mapping the Polemic: Pay Gap and the emotions and motivations that come along with it (see first image), we realised how everything is connected. We felt it was important to map the emotions of Men as well as Women. Red lines were used to connect anything that refers to Women – they’re feelings and motivations, while the brown lines refer to Men. Although this is only a map of the Pay Gap, a lot of these emotions and motivations would also be used if mapping out the other polemics.
Resonant terms: Feminism, actually meaning Equality, but commonly misunderstood to mean man-hating or only women’s rights.
During this issue mapping exercise, I worked collaboratively with Natalie and we had similar points of views, so while brainstorming and listing things we were able to bounce-off each other and build upon what one person was saying. At the same time, we also challenged each other particularly in the ‘Polemics, Emotions and Motivations’ map, while we would mainly be thinking from the perspective of a Woman, each time one of us would pull up on this and ask ‘What about the Men? What’s their view on this?’. Looking back, I think this was crucial for us to do to each other, as what I’m really learning from the course of my research is that, it is about Men as much as it’s about Women. And if we understand this, how much of our demographic (18-25yr olds), also know this to be the case? The lack of education, awareness and understanding is very much part of the problem that fuels the misunderstanding of the resonant term: Feminism and Gender Equality – which Jackson Katz highlights:
“This is also true, by the way, of the word “gender,” because a lot of people hear the word “gender” and they think it means “women.” So they think that gender issues is synonymous with women’s issues. There’s some confusion about the term gender.”
Therefore, this could be the design problem I try and find a design solution for. I think the possibilities for action to create change is to include Men into the conversation by changing the perspective of these terms: Feminism and Gender Equality – away from what people perceive them to be i.e Women only or Man hating, and toward what they actually mean – equal opportunity for all.
Katz, J. 2012, Violence against Women – It’s a Men’s Issue, Ted, New York, viewed 31/07/2016 <https://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue/transcript?language=en#t-490703>.
In the Week 5 tutorial, I teamed up with my classmates Lily and Britt, undertaking collaborative mapping exercises in order to further develop my understanding of the refugee and asylum seeker issue.
Mapping task 1
Revisiting the stakeholder maps we had developed in Week 3, we decided to build and expand upon a select few branches of stakeholders that were shared by all three of our individual maps. Aiming for greater specificity, we delved into identifying exactly who the actors (both human and non-human) were within these networks.
Beginning with the media, we identified the sub-branch of social media, comprised of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other online forums. We next brainstormed television, newspaper and online sources which possessed particular relevance to the issue, including but not limited to The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The New Matilda, The Bolt Report, The ABC and SBS. We were also able to categorise most of the above media sources as either commercial, independent or government funded.
Using the same method of breakdown, we delved into several more stakeholders, including policy, propaganda, the government, the Australian public, religion, censorship, and international bodies.
This processing of revisiting and analysing numerous stakeholders revealed many small, yet incredibly important actors within the network, which we would most probably have never noticed without this kind of collaborative brainstorming. For example, language has a fundamental effect on the public discourse surrounding the refugee issue, however this actor was only reached by dissecting the media, a branch only briefly mentioned in our original individual maps.
Furthermore, connections between such stakeholders became more visible during the process, as smaller nodes revealed relationships which were not seen in the initial maps. For example, dissection of propaganda as a stakeholder branch illuminated the relationship between the government and the media in the dissemination and shaping of public thought. The effect of this on public votes, and in turn the effect of public votes on governmental policy-making, revealed a complex web of inextricably linked actors which constantly shift and re-assemble themselves in relation to each other.
As Latour theorised, such actors can be thought of as heterogeneous nodes, both mediating and mediated by each other in a dynamic state of movement (Rogers, Sánchez-Querubín & Kil 2015).
Mapping Task 2
Still working collaboratively, we next focused on the polemic surrounding the issue of refugees and asylum seekers. Focusing on three different debates, we identified pairs of opposing actors, mapping the emotions and motivations behind the positions taken by each.
Beginning with The Australian Government versus Refugee Activists, we focused on opposing perspectives in the debate surrounding Australia’s refugee intake. We identified fear, safety, security, nationalism, protection, control, economic concerns and votes as the most dominant emotions and concerns motivating the Australian government’s position, whilst refugee activists were conversely mobilized by empathy, compassion, generosity, anger, justice and human rights.
Continuing with this method, we also explored the debates surrounding both Muslim immigration and refugee re-settlement procedures.
In expanding upon the emotions and concerns motivating each actor in each debate, it became clear to us that some emotions expressed were merely concealments for ulterior motives. For example, the Australian government’s strict immigration policies, justified by fear of safety, protection, control and security, could actually be motivated primarily by money and votes.
As espoused by Rogers, Sánchez-Querubín and Kil (2015), this sort of controversy mapping encourages a type of critical examination in which ‘the actors proliferate claims and concerns and (…) the most crucial beliefs are questioned’.
Personally, I felt that the collaborative nature of these mapping exercises was extremely valuable, as the unique experiences and perspectives of my classmates inherently exposed me to multiple ideas that I would not have considered had I been left to my own devices. For example, I had not previously considered the link between the media and propaganda in the mapping of stakeholders, nor had I considered public votes as a key motivator of the Australian government’s policies on refugee immigration.
Such co creation has done much to inform my future approach to the issue, with Lily’s highlighting of propaganda acting to further spark my interest in the opinions and discourse propagated and disseminated by the government, the media and the general public. Initially brought to my attention during the Twitter scraping exercise, I believe this area is rich with potential for an insightful design response.
Providing me new frameworks with which to understand the problem, collaborating between Lily, Britt and myself fostered a high level of quality in the maps, as each of us were able to bounce ideas off one another, critically examining factors and actors from our own unique and different knowledge bases. From this, I have learnt that co creation provides the opportunity for a much more well rounded perspective, which is of great value in both research and design practice.
Opportunities for action
Moving forward, one particular possibility for action and change immediately strikes me. As Latour theorises, the expression, formatting and deployment of facts by actors has a significant impact on issuefication, or the level of attention and concern brought to the issue itself (Rogers, Sánchez-Querubín & Kil 2015).
In light of this, neo-cartographic mapping of pro-refugee discourse and sentiment using digital tools such as Google Earth and Twitter Bots presents itself to me as a possibility for further action and investigation. The targeted deployment of such data to policymakers and government bodies could potentially inspire change in the government’s strict immigration policies.
Rogers, R., Sánchez-Querubín, N. & Kil, A. 2015, Issue Mapping for an Ageing Europe, OAPEN, Amsterdam.
Below are three iterations of collaborative issue and stakeholder maps in chronological order, that address the issue of housing affordability. The first map that was created admittedly lacks clarity in its links between stakeholders and has quite a few generalisations and/or inaccuracies. It is rewarding to see how the maps become more precise and detailed with each iteration—our continued research into the issue leads to a deeper understanding of its stakeholders. With each iteration we become more specific by naming particular individuals and organisations as well as introducing non-human actors. Creating networks of stakeholders, both human and non-human, allows us to consider meaningful change on a broad scale. It urges us to consider how our design may have a flow-on effect that impacts an immediate but also a peripheral audience.
Working with peers allows for critical and insightful exploration. Despite researching the same topic, each person brings to the table a different focus and opinion on the issue. Additionally, through sharing our findings, we encourage each other to explore new avenues and/or consolidate existing research. Given that everyone is dedicated and invested in the issue, group discussions and mapping exercises are thoroughly energetic and productive.
I also wanted to comment on the polemic issues map because that was a collaborative exercise pivotal to informing my approach to this project.
Working collaboratively sets up an open and comfortable platform for people to discuss, challenge, agree, disagree, contemplate and speculate. In week 5, I worked with a partner to map out polemic topics and their associated emotions and stakeholders. This was an exhilarating exercise, as discussing the emotional aspects of controversial issues for various stakeholders, established powerful human connections to the matters at hand. Being able to freely exchange thoughts and opinions with my partner was very constructive as it helped uncover the multiple facets of each issue. I found it very insightful to consider emotions as non-human actors active within the issue. Peoples’ reactions, feelings and experiences about polemic issues were valid points of discussion and debate. Identifying problem areas where particular stakeholders are particularly struggling or affected by a polemic topic, highlighted potential areas for a design proposition to be situated and/or intervene.
By Olivia Tseu-Tjoa
Yes, mapping on those large sheets of butchers paper has become a very familiar task. Despite that initial sense of repetition, there was something to be learnt by revisiting the previous map from Week 2. This time, I worked with a different partner from my original map in Week 2, offering another person’s perspective and collaborative approach. Ultimately, I found it enriched and reinforced the research found over the past weeks.
Continue reading “Post 7: Issue mapping”
Post 7: Issue Mapping
As a follow up for our stakeholder mapping exercise in week 2, we used a collaborative technique to map out the issues relating to housing affordability in week 4 and 5. This was a great way to pool together a very comprehensive set of terms and issues whilst filling in the blind spots of your own knowledge, which allowed for more meaningful insights. Below is a chronological order of our mapping process with some personal thoughts.
Our week 4 tutorial started off with a self-generated list of relevant or significant words we felt were related to the issues of housing affordability and then compiling with our small table group to form a collection of 80 words.
As a group, our generated word list encompassed a variety of terms from human and non-human stakeholders of our individual maps in week 2 with the inclusion of more intangible and emotional terms such as ‘sacrifice’, ‘green city’ and ‘displacement’ – these were all significant terms that reinforced and added to our own understanding of housing affordability. These terms were then further combined with the rest of the cohort also focusing on the same issue, and it was interesting to see that the direction of their terms skewed in a different direction to ours which resulted in a fresh set of words with minimal overlap to ours as you can see below.
The next step in the collaborative task was to write down the opposite on the back of each term (however we mostly just wrote the opposite term on the same side in a different colour)… this proved to be a difficult task as some words such as ‘time’ or ‘deposit gap’ either had a very subjective opposite word or just no opposite term at all. However this helps to consider a whole different side to the story, even though the ‘simple’ task itself was not something I would have ever thought of for extra word generation – this brought to my attention that even a few weeks down the track, I was still quite close-minded in terms of my emergent practice and thinking. This also raised the insight that in a social issue such as housing affordability, opposite terms are still relevant to the issue (when usually I’d consider opposite words totally irrelevant).
This was then followed by sorting the terms in alphabetical order for convenience purposes which you probably don’t need to see an image of, fairly straightforward. We then mapped the stakeholders of the issue again with a clearer understanding of the topic as a whole – at this point I feel that our maps were organised in the most efficient way and also visually depicted the groups of stakeholders and the links between them in the clearest way. This iterative process allowed me to become more confident in the way I picture the issue in regards to each factor.
Following the mapping exercise, we were asked to choose sets of words based on different focus points, the first to choose a word which you feel is your main focus of the housing affordability issue – I chose ‘generational’ because I felt that there is a misunderstanding or spread of assumptions in regards to what each generation thinks of the other in terms of the housing situation, when in fact it should be a combined effort to help the issue. From the word set, it is interesting to reflect on several words that indicate the importance of spatial, planning and sustainable design, possibly due to our way of thinking shaped by our studies.
The second set was consisted of words we chose that we felt were surprising or compelling in regards to the topic, and the results I felt were very surprising indeed. ‘Opposition’, ‘foreign buyers’, ‘negative gearing’ and ‘generational’ all indicate words which are expressed quite often by the media, with these words being used to generate negativity on a generally superficial-based understanding on the housing issue.
As our final task, the chosen words from the sets were sorted in order from being a more factual aspect to a more emotive aspect, with a strong consensus that the ‘Australian Dream’ and ‘home ownership’ should sit on the most emotive side of the scale and ‘metropolitan’ on the more factual side.
On seeing this laid out in front of me, it was clear to see that I was drawn to the more emotive aspect of the housing issue. This was also reinforced through all the research conducted previously, I feel that this is why housing affordability is now a social issue. However there seems to be a gap or minimal studies, research and social media generation on the issue of housing being an emotive one, and this may be due to the tradition of a house being seen as a physical aspect of someone’s life. If we can generate and influence individuals to become more emotionally aware of the topic of housing in Australia, it could be a good way to also spur change and more action to resolve the issue on a collaborative level.
Post 7 by Alice Stollery
Collaborative issue mapping was an opportunity to expand my understanding of the issue of homelessness. My initial maps in post three were very detailed but also covered the entire issue, therefore there were areas that could still be broken down further. Co-creating maps enabled me to further interrogate areas of the issues that were less detailed or lacking on my initial map. It gave me the opportunity to step back and to discuss other perspectives of the issue with members of my group. This helped me to break down areas that I was stuck on. I found some exercises were more insightful than others. There were times when the group lacked knowledge in particular areas which meant there was less discussion and engagement. However, on the flip side, there were other tasks that everyone contributed to, expanding our understanding exponentially. Having to articulate what I meant by the inclusion of certain actors also helped to solidify my own understanding.
Each task offered interesting and sometimes unexpected insights. Writing key words surrounding the issue was particularly beneficial. We decided that going through the alphabet and brainstorming key words for each letter together was very effective and as a group came up with around 200 words. Here you can see how the brainpower of 5 people makes for greater results than if I was at home completing the same task on my own.
Next we each chose 5 words that stood out to us. It was interesting narrowing these down and it highlighted the negative nature of the language we use to discuss the issue. This was something I had not really considered before. It was quite depressing to see these negative words collated in one place. I was particularly intrigued by ‘former-self’ and felt that a design approach that focused on the lives of the homeless before they were stuck by homelessness may be key to ridding them of stigma.
Moving on, we organised these words into an emotive – factual scale. In the image below, factual words are seen at the top and more emotive words are at the bottom. This made us realise that the words surrounding the issue are no longer very emotive. The language and words we have used in our posts thus far are overused and the words often do not evoke emotion.
We then began writing antonyms of these words and the results were particularly insightful. Of course the antonyms were mostly positive words and when reading over them, I felt that these words could offer possible solutions to the problem. Suddenly, out of this overwhelmingly negative issue came words like; surrounded, acknowledged, visible, equality, clean, reinstated, facts, safe and understood. Perhaps these words were a skeleton for a solution. Highlighting what needs to change to move forward.
As a group, we also created a more detailed map of stakeholders and their level of power in relation to homelessness. This expanded my knowledge in this area as my mapping of power in post three is very basic. Adding our key words to this map allowed us to see where particular words may stem from. For example desensitisation appeared quite a lot around the most powerful end of the map as this was connected with the media and government. Where as words such as survival appeared closer towards the bottom of the scale and the least powerful stakeholders.
From here we moved onto controversies within homelessness. This process was not smooth sailing and we had some conflicting views within certain areas and sometimes did not agree that particular areas could be considered controversies. Having multiple viewpoints at times took more brain power in attempting to organise information and account for differing views.
Mapping the controversies as a group was a good starting point, however I felt I needed to remap these myself to visualise my own understanding and to organise the information in a way that made sense to me. I wanted to break down each area to ensure I understood the controversy within it and the associated feelings. So below I have done a small remap.
“A positive attitude will lead to a positive outcome”
In class in weeks 4 and 5, we undertook collaborative mapping exercises, both within our larger issues groups, and in pairs. In this way, we came to synthesise group knowledge and unpack individual understandings of particular areas within the broader issue, in my case climate change.
The first mapping exercise undertaken in week 4, done within our larger issues group, involved each person writing down at least 20 words that they individually associate with climate change and/or their smaller focus area within this broad topic. This generated a huge volume of words, and showed me just how broad our issue is, as well as how many different ideas and associations can be made within the topic of climate change. At the start of the exercise, I thought that everyone would come up with similar words, however, on the contrary, it has showed me that my knowledge/view of climate change is actually quite narrow and concentrated within my own focus area, the debate surrounding climate change and the different influences that affect a person’s stance on the issue.
In the next stage of the exercise, we laid all the words out across a number of tables and began to try and take all the information in. I found that with this method of collaborative mapping, it was difficult to summarise single insights into the nature of the collected data because there was so much of it. However, it could be seen that whilst there were the obvious words and phrases commonly associated with climate change, such as global warming, greenhouse gases, ozone and factories, there were also more obscure ones such as ghost nets, extinction, death, and moral obligations. I found moral obligations to be particularly interesting because I have been researching in my own focus area the factors that influence a person’s position within the climate change debate, and one of the major factors I have come across is a person’s cultural values.
I found that the most interesting and insightful aspect of this particular group mapping exercise was when each person was asked to choose the word that most represented their current view/understanding of the issue as a whole, the results of which can be seen below:
The majority of the chosen words focus on the negative aspects and consequences arising from climate change, as well as groups being affected by these consequences. This suggests to me that the people who are researching the same issue as me are coming to draw the conclusion that climate change is a huge issue which is having negative and far-reaching impacts on the earth.
In week 4, we also undertook an exercise where we mapped the stakeholders involved based on the words which had been generated, however, I found that the stakeholder list was the same as the one produced in week 2, so I did not gain any new insights from this particular task.
In week, 5, we undertook 2 group mapping exercises, both of which were mentioned in my blog post 3, but which I will expand upon in this post. The first map created in week 5 was one based on the basic stakeholder map created in week 2, but with more specific details about the stakeholders included. On the map created in week 2, we simply listed generic stakeholders, such as government, NGO’s, and media, giving a general overview with limited depth of information (and possibly knowledge). However, on this new map, having undertaken more research, we were able to go into more detail, expanding under each stakeholder with names of specific political parties, organisations, people, media sources, etc. Undertaking this task with a partner made it very beneficial as it opened up a number of specific stakeholders who I had not considered before this point. In particular, my partner had a good understanding of different not-for-profit organisations, an area which I so far had not ventured into because my focus area of the factors that influence a person’s stance on climate change has led me more towards researching political parties/views and different media news sources. One thing I did notice from undertaking this expanded stakeholder map was that whilst I expected it would provide more clarification on each stakeholder, it actually broadened the categories out, and even led to the consideration of additional stakeholder categories.
The second map created in week 5 was a ‘polemic’ map, where we listed the controversies around climate change on the left-hand side, and the emotions that are related to each controversy on the right-hand side. After this initial mapping, we listed all the stakeholders involved with each controversy. This mapping method was extremely interesting, as it allowed myself and my partner to begin to think about and discuss the different emotions felt by different levels of stakeholder, an aspect which we have not really considered before. I found also that this related quite strongly to my research, in looking at what factors may influence a particular stance or, in this case, a particular emotion. Through this polemic map, I have come to gain a greater understanding of the dominant stakeholders within the issue of climate change as a whole, a trend which emerged through the placement of the stakeholders underneath each controversy—it could be assumed that the stakeholders who are concerned with more controversies, such as the government and media sources, are more dominant. However, with this came the realisation that the more dominant stakeholders, and thus the ones with more power, are actually quite far removed from the issue, and often possess perhaps an apathetic attitude, and take limited action. By contrast, the less dominant stakeholders probably feel more passionate about the issue, but feel powerless because they are not in a position to take any action, or they feel as though any action they do take will be pointless.
From undertaking the series of group mapping exercises as detailed above, I have come to gain a number of insights into the process as well as the benefits that are gained through the process. The co-creation of maps, first and foremost, presents an opportunity for the cross-pollination of ideas, as each member of the group has a different background in terms of their research and so each will have different insights based on the particular sources they have read. This sharing of knowledge provides an opportunity for each group member to expand their own knowledge within the particular issue, garnering a more comprehensive and detailed understanding in the process. In relation to this idea of shared knowledge, the maps created in this process also tend to paint a richer and more wholistic picture of the issue as there are a number of viewpoints/opinions involved, as well as information and ideas being drawn from numerous secondary sources across all members of the group. The differing viewpoints and opinions inherently present within each individual in the group also provides the opportunity for discussion and debate, which can lead to the emergence of interesting new ideas.
From my own collaboration with my peers on the creation of maps relating to climate change, I have come to gain a number of interesting insights which I had not considered before. First and foremost, I have come to understand the enormity and complexity of the issue, and the many different facets that it encompasses, as well as the many different associations people have with climate change. In light of this realisation, I will be approaching the issue of climate change with a much more open mind and more actively engaging with the views of other people on the issue. Another understanding I have gained through the co-creation of maps is the enormity of the web of stakeholders which make up the issue of climate change. There are stakeholders which have been introduced to me by my peers which I had never considered before, and this richer understanding has opened my mind to the need to perhaps go back to doing broad research, in order to myself find connections between stakeholders. Co-creating maps has also reminded me of my own bias in relation to climate change, and the need to accept that not everything I believe may be correct, and other people have their own bias.