POST 9: Strengths & Weaknesses of Collaborative Brainstorming

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.


POST 5: Interview and design probe task

by Jessica Avelina Horo

In this blogpost, I will talk about the tasks I developed about what is happening to refugees/asylum seekers in Australia and some parts of the world.

As a international student,

I have no idea how the political situation or what’s happening here.

So I aim to get as much information from different resources and understand the different perspective of the issue. From my research through news and scholarly resources, which are more unbiased and trustworthy, I developed my knowledge of this issue. It was not easy to grasps how the real situation is as I am afraid the media could make biased report and probably the government is not transparent enough about this issue. This week, I interview someone from my class, aged between 18-24 and make a list of probe questions. This task helped me to know what people knows about refugees and asylum seeker in Australia. It was an informal interview with a semi structured questions.

The interview

  1. Are you fully aware of the whole refugee/ asylum seekers’ situation in Australia? What do you know about it?
  2. How do you know about the issue? Do you read it somewhere and what do you think of how the media reporting the issue right now?
  3. What’s your position, do you agree with the “Stop the Boat” policy or you want to let them stay in Australia? Why?
  4. What are the advantages that you know from refugees that could benefit Australia in your opinion?
  5. What are the disadvantages that you know from refugees that affect Australia in your opinion?

While doing the interview, I found that it was really interesting to know what other people know and what their opinions are in this issue. She told me that refugees are not the type of information that she really interested in and that’s why she never really do a proper research of how the current situation is. However, as an Australian, she did have general awareness of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, moreover after the election. She gets most of her information in social medias and never really read the news about the issue and agree that this issue is quite a sensitive and dark in terms of how she reads it in social medias. Also, she doesn’t really know what’s happening in the detention centre too. She also told me that she is quite concerned of how refugees could contribute to Australia as they come with no language skills and of course it will be hard for them to find jobs. She also stands neutral, without taking any sides because she feels that she doesn’t really know about the issue.

As the interview went on, I started to think how this interview has gave me a new understanding. I may go quite biased when I tried to read the news, for example I read how the condition in the detention centre is not suitable at all for living and how sad it is for the refugees to be forced to leave their home-country and belongings because of political reasons. However, the interviewee reminded me that government probably have their own judgement and political reasons by doing so. They are quite concerned of how this large amount of refugees entering Australia without any visa or plan. Still, the detention centre and keeping them away is not the solution. I just hope that this situation will get better as government is trying to find solution to and people just come together to raise awareness about refugees and asylum seekers in Australia without any biased information.

Design probe task

Ask your friend or someone you know, what do they think at first when they heard the word ‘refugees’ or ‘asylum seekers’? What are their position on this issue too?

From this task, I gained an understanding of how people think and perceive asylum seekers based on their opinion and from what they read online. One of her friend even said that he strongly rejects refugees to come over to Australia without visa, as each country have their own rule and policy. The rules also need to be applied to everyone without looking at their condition or cause. Though, he never really do a research specifically about this issue in news and trustworthy sites.

Take away points from the interview and design probe task

  1. The interviewee, have a general awareness of the refugees and asylum seekers’ issue in Australia but she never really have a proper research so that she missed some important information.
  2. The interviewee gives a different perspective of how to see the issue.
  3. The interview and the design probe task helped me to see the issue in someone’s eyes and be more objective, rather than doing the research and making opinion alone.
  4. The design probe task is too sudden so that the questions are quite general. If I have more time, I would like to dig deeper question related to this issue. 
  5. Medias is a powerful communication tool. It could affect how people have an opinion about an issue.

POST 3: Mapping the Complexity of the Issue and Collecting Visual Perspectives

by Jessica Avelina Horo

Mapping the Participants



Mapping human and non-human stakeholders (Horo & Tseu-Tjoa 2016)

In this stage, our class have divided into small groups of our chosen issue to make a stakeholders’ map. It is a map of all the participants and organisation involved in the issue. First, we make a map of human and non-human stakeholders. We basically just write any stakeholders that came to our mind as much as we can. There is no clear links what the relationship between them though.

Jessica Map.jpg

Then we worked on the more refined map, I started to understand the complexity of this refugee/asylum seekers issue in Australia. It becomes clear in the map, which part interconnected to each other and who affects whom.


Image Archive

The following 10 photos have been collected over the past couple of weeks to show different findings and perspective that I found of the issue asylum seekers and refugee in Australia and around the world. Sometimes, a photo itself worths thousand words. It could convey its meaning or essence more effectively than words do. So let’s take a closer look at each photos:


Syrian refugees crossing (Teofilovski, O. 2015)


This is a photo of Syrians crossed under a fence into Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, Aug. 27, 2015. I see a metal barbed wire, where my parents usually told me to avoid it. They are not something that I should be close by with and played with. However, this little family was forced to cross under the wired fence to cross the country. This is 2016, yet people still fighting for peace and they are forced to encounter such dangerous situation to have a better home.


Four-year-old Rashida from Kobani, Syria, sleeps as they wait at the border of Macedonia and Greece to enter into Macedonia (Teofilovski, O. 2015)


This photo is on an articled called, These Are The Most Powerful Photographs Of The Syrian Refugee Crisis In 2015, picked by Lynzy Billing. It represent what is happening in Syria, where more than 4 million people have fled and with the conflict showing no sign of ending, let’s look back on the risky journeys men and women fleeing the country have taken. When I see this photo, my first reaction is “That’s not how a child sleeps”.  The conflict and the crisis can be difficult for people to understand, but there is nothing hard to understand about how children need a safe place to sleep. That is easy to understand. Children at those ages are supposed to having fun and learn a lot of new things in this phase of life. Instead of that, their hope has been taken by the crisis.


A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of a child (Teofilovski, O. 2015)


A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi, 3, after a number of refugees died or were reported missing after boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized near the Turkish resort of Bodrum, Sept. 2, 2015. Aylan’s family embarked on the perilous boat journey only after their bid to move to Canada was rejected. The tides also washed up the bodies of Aylan’s mother, Rehan, and his 5-year-old brother, Galip. Only Aylan’s father, Abdullah, survived the tragedy.


Operation Sovereign Borders in Australia (“No Way. You will not make Australia home.” n.d)


This is a screenshot of the Operation Sovereign Borders in Australia. After the election of the Abbott government in 2013, Operation Sovereign Borders was mounted. The ad campaigns have been splashed across all media with a particular emphasis on television and on-line platforms. They have been produced in several different languages with the most widely played being ‘By boat, no visa’ and ‘No way. You will not make Australia home’. The latter also has been played in languages like Urdu and Albanian and is fronted by Lieutenant General Angus Campbell.

What shocked me the most is the tone and the language used in this video, Lieutenant Campbell mentioned, “This criminal will steal your money and put your life & family at risks”. It was super confronting and negative to the refugees. From this, we know how hateful Australia’s government was to refugees back in Abbott government. The message in this video is simple, everyone who come to Australia without visa or by boat will have no way to make Australia’s their home. There’s no exception, children, orphanages, adults, skilled workers or anyone without visa were not allowed to enter Australia.


A message at a rally against refugee policy on June 19, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Thousands Rally To Support Refugees And Asylum Seekers At Star…)

Photo: Brook Mitchell


A message at a rally against refugee policy on June 19, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. The rally was organised as a show of public support for the closure the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, and the safe resettlement of detained refugees in Australia. Refugee Week runs from 19 to 25 June 2016. This is such a provoking photo. I knew from my researches before, that there are a lot of organisations that holds art events to show refugees’ hidden talent. However, in the photo above, they put a note saying that the artist couldn’t join the exhibition because he/she are kept as political prisoner in an offshore detention centre. This notes could provoke sympathy from the visitors as they will feel bad knowing that such a talent are kept in the detention centre.


A mounted police officer leads a group of refugees near Dobova (Zivulovic, S. 2015)


This is a photo of a mounted police officer leads a group of refugees near Dobova, Slovenia, Oct. 20, 2015. I always see photos of refugees trying to run away from cops and agents but this photo is different. They looked different in this photo though. They were just diligently following the police officer in front of them. I can sense the feeling hopeless in this photo. This photo helped me to see a different point of view of refugees and the government.


Refugees sleep near the main bus station in Istanbul, Turkey (Aldermi, H. 2015)


This is a photo of how refugees sleep near the main bus station in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 15, 2015. Refugees sleep near the main bus station in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 15, 2015. See what’s behind them? A landscape of city with lights and different people sleep in their own comfortable bed in a safe home. The refugees were basically sleep under the stars with no mattress and just blanket. What kind of day they should face tomorrow? What could be worse?


Rita Ora as a Refugee Survivor – Global Minorities Alliance, 2015


The world can be a dark place for people seeking safety at the moment, full of war and danger and discrimination. The news gets worse and worse; but that doesn’t stop refugees from finding safety, and succeeding against the odds. So this year, for Refugee Week, they released photos of successful refugees to celebrate the contributions refugees have made – and think about the contributions refugees will continue to make to our country.

This is an photo I saw in the internet, Rita Ora, one of my favourite British singers. She is multi talented, as written in the photo, her singles have topped the UK charts and she is also a judge on X Factor and The Voice. That means she is no ordinary person, in her young age, she successfully topped her career to be the best. However, what we don’t know is that she is a refugee herself with her parents coming to UK in 1990s. I guess this photo shows that refugee are the same with everyone, they have talents and they have rights to pursue their dream even though they lost their home.


Asylum seekers look at the media from behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre, Papua New Guinea (Reuters, T. 2016)


Under Australian law, anyone intercepted trying to reach the country by boat is sent for processing to camps on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru or to Manus Island off Papua New Guinea (PNG). They are never eligible to be resettled in Australia.

Some asylum seekers have spent years in the camps, which have been criticized by the United Nations and human rights groups, with numerous reports of abuse and self-harm amongst detainees, including children. It was a weird situation portrayed in the photo. I saw children behind the wired bars and they are doing nothing wrong. They didn’t choose to be born in a conflicted country yet the government treated them like terrorist and prisoners.


A dinghy of Syrian refugees drifts in the Aegean sea (Berakis,  Y. 2015)


A photo of a dinghy of Syrian refugees drifts in the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece after its motor broke down off Kos, Aug. 11, 2015.  This may look simple but when I took a closer look of the photo, it just affect my emotions so much. It is a dinghy of Syrian refugees drifts in the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece after its motor broke down off Kos, Aug. 11, 2015. I see a landscape of sea with no edge, sun/moon as red as blood and a boat full of people who just lost everything. When you really see the real situation in the photo, you can feel that they just people who don’t have much choices and decided to leave their home for a better future. With boats that could lost to the sea, dangerous trips, weeks of trips and no fixed plan for their future, what are we supposed to do to help them?



Image References:

Aldermi, H. 2015, Refugees sleep near the main bus station in Istanbul, viewed 19 August 2016, <;.

Berakis,  Y. 2015, A dinghy of Syrian refugees drifts in the Aegean sea, viewed 19 August 2016, <;.

Global Minorities Alliance, 2015, Refugee Week 2015: celebrate!, viewed 20 August 2016, <;

“No Way. You will not make Australia home.” n.d., viewed 23 August 2016, <;.

Reuters, T. 2016, Asylum seekers look at the media from behind a fence, viewed 22 August 2016, <;.

Teofilovski, O. 2015, Four-year-old Rashida, viewed 19 August 2016, <;.

Teofilovski, O. 2015, A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body, viewed 19 August 2016, <;.

Teofilovski, O. 2015, Syrian refugees crossing, viewed 19 August 2016, <;.

Thousands Rally To Support Refugees And Asylum Seekers At Star…, viewed 20 August 2016, <;.

Zivulovic, S. 2015, A mounted police officer leads a group of refugees near Dobova, viewed 19 August 2016, <;.

POST 4: Identifying and collecting a design example

by Jessica Avelina Horo

The crisis is real.

More than 900,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year (Al Jazeera, 2015)

There are 60 million displaced persons in the world, another stateless child is born every 10 minutes, and three million people have no access to water, food, housing, work, education, and are caught in legal limbo.  The crisis has inspired many designers to design solutions for refugees and the issue itself. I am a design student myself, and I am  really impressed by how designers around the world are gathering their ideas and skills to help both refugees and people. The refugee crisis has become an increasingly important topic for architects and designers as the situation has worsened over the past few years.

When I was trying to find any designers or design studio who work in an emergent practice context related to the issue of refugees, I found that there are so many innovative and creative designs that could improve refugee’s life condition, for example through service, data visualisation design and informative app.  Browsing through all the designs, there is a project that really leaves a mark in my heart. A project by a woman who fled war-torn Syria  that has released an unofficial flag design for the very first team of ten refugees competing in the Rio Olympics, called The Refugee Nation. The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and commonly known as Rio 2016, was a major international multi-sport event held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 August to 21 August 2016. I didn’t really know how important a flag was until I watched the video when the athletes saw the flags for the first time. The refugees athlete couldn’t hold their feelings as they are touched by the flag. Athletes in Olympic are proud competing against athletes from other countries by bringing their countries’ names, they bring big responsibilities. However, refugees don’t have the opportunities to have a place to call home. “By giving these athletes a sense of national team, a flag and an anthem to call their own, we’re sending a powerful message to all the refugees in the world,” said a spokesperson from Amnesty International. “We’re saying that every human being has the right to have a place to call home.”


The Refugee Nation’s flag designed by Yara Said (dezeen magazine, 2016)
(dezeen magazine, 2016)

The flags itself really reminds me the spirit of refugees as it used black and orange to represent the colour of life jackets worn by refugees when making dangerous sea crossings. “Black and orange is a symbol of solidarity for all those who crossed the sea in search of a new country,” said Yara Said. “I myself wore one, which is why I so identify with these colours and these people”. The flag design is accompanied by a proposed anthem for the team, composed by Istanbul-based Syrian refugee and composer Moutaz Arian. Both were released with the intention of raising awareness about the rights of refugees. The collective has since launched a petition asking the International Olympic Committee to allow refugee Olympians to carry the flag while attending Olympic events. Although the refugee team will continue to compete under the Olympic flag during Rio, Refugee Nation hopes the flag will become part of the team’s identity for future games. I am impressed by how a single fabric for the flag could help the crisis. A single idea from Yara Said may not solve the whole issue, but it is indeed improve the quality of refugees’ life. It doesn’t use any complex technologies or researches, but the flag has given the refugees an identity, which they don’t have.


Image Reference

Al Jazeera, 2015, More than 900,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, viewed 20 August 2016, <;.

dezeen magazine, 2016, The Refugee Nation’s flag designed by Yara Said, viewed 21 August 2016, <;.


Syrian refugee artist designs lifejacket-inspired flag for refugee Olympians – Olympics 2016, 9 News, viewed 20 August 2016, <;.