Post 10: Constructive Idea Discussion

By Basilia Dulawan

Reflection + Summary

Sharing my draft proposal with a few peers as well as Jacquie was a really beneficial exercise as it challenged me to think about how I would actually approach the design proposition, what parameters I needed to include, and shown what needed to be stronger in my proposition.

Initially the generative system I proposed was going to rely on data generated from Twitter, catching tweets that used the phrases “He is a…” or “She is a…”, but the problem that Jacquie highlighted was that it was too generic and the responses can be taken out of context. Jacquie suggested that I instead create a survey with a series of semi-specific questions that participants can answer. Additionally, to avoid skewing the results toward people who share similar mindsets to me, it was raised that I shouldn’t just post this on my Facebook page, but use Reddit and other survey forums to allow a greater variety of people to respond. This was a critical realisation for me as I wanted to be able to produce a variety of honest answers, but didn’t think beyond the way in which I know how to scrape the web for data, which is Twitter. The next challenge was writing semi-specific questions that didn’t probe at a certain response.

Another key moment that came out of this discussion was Jacquie suggesting that I speak to Chris Gaul and Thomas Ricciardiello about ways in which I could make the generative system update in real-time, and use processing to make sense of the data generated. Overall, through this discussion I was able to distill what it is I wanted to investigate further, and how my proposition would respond to this.


Project Title: RE-THINK. 

Practice Type: Generative System (with a side of Data Visualisation)

The Issue: Gender Inequality in Language

The Possible Change: Awareness about the gender inequalities that exist in society’s everyday language and the realisation that it is through language that we support the continuation of Gender Inequality. With this awareness, people can make a conscious change in the words they choose to use toward Women and Men. 

Design Action to support change:

A key moment in my research was listening to filmmaker and documentarian Lauren Greenfield emphasise the power of words, and how they shape the development of young girls. I was particularly inspired by her work for Always with the initial #LikeAGirl Campaign which she aimed to change the perception of the ‘Like A Girl’ phrase, from an insult to an empowering compliment that girl’s can own. Coupled with another key finding of the way in which we raise boys and girls that made me question –  Why is it that society raises boys to be brave, but girls to be cautious, and lady-like?

The common element throughout my research was, language. How women refer to other women, how women refer to men, how men refer to women, how men refer to other men and how we describe ourselves. For my design proposition I want to explore gendered language, and how it is used, if used, by 18-25yr olds on social media. I aim to create a generative system that aggregates data/user responses, then visually plots these words on screen. As the data grows over time, the visual produced will update in real time – increasing the size of words that are more commonly used, plotting new words and changing the colour of the text depending on what gender it was used to describe. What I am hoping to achieve is a visual that illustrates the gendered language we  as 18-25yr olds use, and with this, bring an awareness to the change that needs to occur in our everyday interactions simply by the language we choose to use. I hope that this generative system that can be visited online, makes everyone – specifically 18-25yr olds, more aware of the words that support the continuation of Gender Inequality and thus more conscious about the words they choose to use toward men and women.


Post 10: Tapping into public opinion

Molly Grover

Upon explaining my proposal to my colleague Angela and my tutor Simone in class on Thursday, a few pieces of critical feedback began to emerge.

Firstly, Angela noted that whilst collecting petition data from commuters based on geographical location, the proposal was not targeted at the 18-25 year old age group. In light of this, Simone suggested that I reposition the project as site-specific, limited to one or two Sydney train stations dominated by students, e.g. Redfern and Central.

Simone also pointed out that Transport NSW would never allow me to use their Opal systems to create a petition against the Liberal Government’s detention policies, and thus advised that I propose a guerrilla style intervention, in which passionate students are encouraged to use their Opal cards as a form of participatory petition and protest.

Further to this, Angela mentioned that a petition staged continuously and indefinitely would lose its efficacy, as frequent users would lose motivation to repeatedly engage with the action required. Thus, it would be more effective to concentrate the intervention to one day, at peak hour during the morning and evening. This would also reduce the chance of police or transport authorities dismantling the intervention. Angela also mentioned that campaigns should be used in the lead up to the day, to engage and inform students, so that they are given adequate opportunity to decide to participate.

Simone suggested that rather than aiming to manually collect merely the numerical data of the petition, the proposal should aim to capture the data in affective forms. This could take a number of forms, including the pedestrian traffic disruption caused by the event, the sounds made by the Opal cards, the movement of the gates opening and closing, the tapping of hands on the reader, the changing LED display, or the movement of bodies through the gate.

Revised Proposition:

Tapping into public opinion: An experimental petition

Generative / participatory design

Thanks to the pervasiveness of social media in contemporary society, it is easier than ever to share your personal opinion and show support for a cause. However, with the proliferation of digital self-expression comes an element of distance from reality. Proclaiming one’s views within a circle of Facebook friends has little to no impact on society’s day-to-day operation.

Passionate and educated, students in the 18-25 year old age bracket are quick to take to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to express frustration and outrage regarding Australia’s inhumane and indefinite detention of refugees in offshore processing centres. However, the situation has not improved. Manus Island may be set to eventually close, but in the meantime, both camps remain operational, housing over 1200 refugees who have been denied any hope of settling in Australia.

What if the opinions expressed by students were collected not by the digital domain, but in a physical and public manner, in such a way that could not be ignored?

I am proposing a site-specific unauthorized intervention at two student-dominated Sydney train stations: Redfern and Central. Adorning one Opal gate in each row with signs reading “Close The Camps: Tap here to sign”, I propose to create a generative petition which harnesses public opinion in an affective manner, using a touch point from the daily commute.

Combining the functions of a petition and a protest, the data generated by this single-day intervention would be collected and documented in a number of experimental forms, including audio recording of the Opal card taps, the manual counting of participants, and photography of likely disruptions of pedestrian flow through the gates. This data would then form the basis of a campaign or exhibition.

Aiming to disrupt and delay the daily commute by channeling all student protestors through the one Opal gate, such an intervention holds the potential to be noticed by the media, in the hope of affecting policymaking and creating change, as public support for the closure of camps is expressed in a physical and disruptive manner.

Visual documentation of the brainstorming


Blog post. 9 Visual documentation of the brainstorming session

Written by Hyunjoung You


5W visual document.png

I was quite enjoyed doing 5’W’ process. This exercise helped me to narrow down to specific one issue, and it also organized my idea in a logical. It was appropriate approach to draw clear problem statement, and identify what I have to look at more and design for it.

Brainstorming for possible design responses
brainstroming after.png
Brainstorming map after feedback 

As you can see two above images, I needed to brainstorming for possible design responses. Our tutors let us divide into three practice types for brainstorming: service design, data visualization and generative system. It made me having diverse types of design response. If it was not divided like that, I came up with limited practice types of design. Other process was sharing ideas to each group member’s brainstorming map. My group members’ issue was also obesity and healthy living, so they all have some knowledge of the subject. They were able to give some more platforms such as magazine and postcard that I could not come up with. However, they do not have deeper understanding of the association between sedentary work and health (my specific issue); hence, it was hard to obtain the contents which would be in design. Overall, it was nice opportunity to draw suitable possible design responses for my issue.