From the draft proposal workshop last week, I was able to garner valuable feedback and suggested refinements on my issue’s design proposal. While the majority of the workshop catered to collecting feedback from one peer, the informal and casual atmosphere of the classroom allowed pairs to discuss in groups with each other. Thus, I was able to collect feedback from a variety of perspectives from people who researched different areas. The casual nature of the experience allowed for a very non-judgmental attitude when we shared ideas and offered suggestions, creating a space where we can constructively help each other.
With my paired peer, he understood and liked my idea, also offering many design suggestions on improving my proposal in order to create a more engaging system. Some of his suggestions included a ‘bad-ness’ rating system for a cop, creating annual or monthly police profiles based on the data collected from that term and sorting the data by geographic locations. He also gave me advice that I should consider the finer details of the project; for example, how long the project should run for and whether it is a global or localised project. Moreover, as I spoke to more of my peers about my proposal, they offered similar suggestions. One peer even suggesting that I create a rotoscope animation with the drawings. However upon speaking to my tutor, while he did enjoy my proposal, he noticed that its focus seemed to stem away from mental health and instead onto the idea of the police in general. He suggested that I try to bring back mental health as the main focus so that my project isn’t lost in the wider context of my research from this semester.
This workshop was quite fruitful. As such, I’ve refined my proposal with finer details and better design considerations offered by my peers, as well as highlighting mental health as the main focus.
Project Title: Drawn in Blue (TBC)
Practice Type: Generative systems
The Issue: In the rising issue of excessive use of force by police, and their many cases of fatally shooting mentally ill persons being reported on almost daily, the public perceptions of this authoritative role in society has been met with chaos. Doubts, anger and demand for justice against those who deal out the justice have emerged, instigating many debates on public online forums and comment sections. This public perception of the police has encountered a precarious balance between their use of authority and their duty to society – are they protectors or abusers of the power? This becomes extremely problematic as it is generally taught in society that we reach out to the police when we are in dire need of help; but if a mentally ill person is afraid of the law enforcement because of the latter perspective in addition with the evidence of the fatal incidents, then how can they trust and seek help from these deemed protectors of society?
The Possible Change: Through this project, I hope to elicit the varying perspectives of different mentally ill people between the ideas of authority and protection. In visualising the data and analysing people’s reasons for drawing the way that they did, we can identify certain factors and trends that influence people’s perceptions of the police; especially when we gather data from people who suffer from different mental illnesses. People would be able to share their own personal experiences with the police, generating empathy towards all those involved which is dependent on each person’s circumstances. Identifying these factors can then prompt for changes in attitudes and behaviour towards the police as well as changes within the law enforcement’s system in order to better aid those with mental illnesses.
The Design Action to Support Change: The design response consists of two parts – first, a generative system where I would invite those who suffer from a mental illness to participate in a simple drawing exercise, and the second part would be organising the data from the exercise onto an interactive site.
The first part invite people who suffer from any mental illness, no matter how serious it is, to draw a simple drawing of how they view this person in blue. These people would be various in their circumstances of their illness – types of treatments, medication and therapy, whether they’ve been admitted to hospital for long term care, whether that admittance was forced or voluntary, if they’ve ever encountered the police because of their illness, and etc. Other information would include their age, gender and race. This information would be filled out after the drawing exercise on a printed questionnaire that also prompts to provide a reason onto why they drew their drawing the way that they did. The exercise would consist of simple paper and pencils – coloured and lead – making it easy for the participants to understand what to do. Participants are also encouraged to be as open with their interpretation of activity as they like.
The second part is where the works would then be collated and organised on a site. Users can then sort the drawings by the participant’s type of mental illness, type of treatment, admittance to hospital, history with the police, gender, age, race and geographical location. Depending on the parameter, users can also compare groups of data with other parameters to garner a better understanding of the issue. There is also an option to organise the drawings on a positive and negative spectrum to allow users to evaluate the wide variety of perspectives.
The project would be ongoing throughout a few years and initiated globally. This will allow for yearly and geographical comparisons as well as revisits to some of the participants to see if their perception has changed since their last submission.
Mijares, J. 2016, post 10 header, drawing, Sydney, Australia.