Reflection and Proposition: The Mind Spectrum

Post 10

Over the past week, I have been brainstorming and honing in on my proposition in the practice area of Generative System / Participatory design. As stated in post 9, I wanted to visualise the ‘invisible’ nature of mental health issues and create a change in perspective or attitude in the people that are involved. My first discussion drew out a few problems, the main being:

  • How will this event attract people in the first place to participate? Their incentive?
  • What are you exactly achieving? Unclear – needs clarification and distilled down
  • What are the design restrictions and generative system rules applied?

After some visual and theoretical research on generative systems and design from last week, I have come up with an improved design proposition.

Project title: The Mind Spectrum

The Issue: The stigma attached to mental health issues discourages ‘open conversation’ and the action of seeking support. This project aims to provide new insight, a changed perception and attitude towards the negative stigma.

Practice type: Generative System / Participatory Design

The possible change: A changed perspective and attitude towards Mental Health giving heightening a sense of importance to the issue as well as making it a more approachable topic (for 18-24yo).

The design action to support change: Creating a space that is a fresh and fun approach allowing creative expression on the topic of Mental Health. The space also allows a chance to meet and connect with new people who have similar interests encouraging a sense of community and support.


The participants are invited to draw/ illustrate however they like on a tablet screen on a given word that they choose. The words consist of 3 words for 3 sets. Each set being on a topic of stress, depression, and anxiety – the most common mental health issue for people between the age of 18-24. The 3 words is a spectrum of stress, anxiety and depression to its antonym with an inbetween word. For example:




This is then saved on the server and played as simple animation screenings on the wall for other people to watch. In addition, the participant will receive their drawing as a designed postcard immediately printed. Not only will they receive their illustration postcard, but also the other 2 words in the word set that other people have drawn. This is the incentive of the activity, allows the person to see the changes of the emotional spectrum. This aspect of the generative system gives a chance to see how similar or different others perceive each word which in result gives a new angle of understanding and possible a shift in perspective about mental health.

Users also have a choice to input their social media account information (instagram, twitter account etc) which will be printed on their postcard illustration highlighting the proposition’s ‘connection’ aspect by allowing Sydney’s young adults and creatives to build a network. As this event is aimed for people interested in art/design/culture/mental health, there is a high chance there may be local artists, designers or students involved who then can keep in touch after this event on the social media platform.


Simple drawing constraints will be given for each set to maintain and highlight how each word changes to its opposite within a boundary.

For example:
– Using only lines, express what STRESS/UNEASY/RELAXED is represents to you.

– Using only circles and dots, express what DEPRESSION/COMPLACENT/CHEERFUL represents to you.

– Using only zig zags, express what ANXIETY/INDIFFERENCE/CALMNESS represents to you.


Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 8.06.41 pm.png


The feedback received from peers and tutor was extremely helpful in refining my proposition. A few points I have taken into deeper consideration and will be changing is placing this activity within a proper context of a mental health workshop aimed at 18-24 year olds who are interested in art/design/mental health. ‘The Mind Spectrum’ will be a subpart, a small event within the workshop for the target audience.

In terms of giving a word to illustrate to the user, I was initially thinking of allowing the person to choose 1 word out of the 9. However this will result in uneven data results of the drawings which unbalances the live projection happening in the space. Therefore, the interactive tablet will already have a word chosen for the person to ensure even distribution and a better visualised animation of the word spectrum.

Written by Helen Chang

Image References

Daikoku Studio, 2012, Musashino Art University <;, viewed 20 September.

Studio Moniker, 2013, Your Line or Mine, <;, viewed 20 September.


10 – Reflect + Propose


As mentioned in my previous posts [08 and 09] I came into this week’s tutorial session with a fairly sound proposal in mind, one that I already felt quite strongly about pursuing. In essence, this design responds to the association of ‘choice’ with mental health and seeks to defy the limitations placed on the identity of those who are ill.

When proposing the functionality of the generative website it was suggested that a level of curation will still need to be involved. The purpose of which wouldn’t be to limit responses to those that I personally agree or identify with, but rather to determine whether they are indeed related to the issue and respectful to the actors involved.

Whilst explaining the intended digital and physical output of my generative design proposal it became evident that as a curated design, the postcard series does also fall within the sphere of poetic data visualisation.

The most interesting aspect of the postcards is the idea of combining statements to illustrate an intriguing, humorous or critical point. Furthermore, the continued engagement beyond the parameters of the original design would be interesting to explore. A hashtag could be attributed to the project to encourage sharing of stories and further increasing the reach of the work, which ultimately seeks to provoke open discussion and prompt genuine understanding. By including a hashtag on the postcards further statements can be sourced to feed back into the original generative website format.

draft proposal sketches
Draft proposal sketches

Continue reading “10 – Reflect + Propose”

POST 10: Reflection and Proposition // The Waiting Room



When I explained my concept to my partner and tutor, there were some great pieces of feedback that helped solve some issues in my proposal. I always find that my ideas develop a lot better when I try and explain it to someone out loud so this class exercise was invaluable in shaping and improving my design proposition.

I firstly identified my design proposition as a combination of a generative system and service design in the form of an app. The aim of the app is to make the experience of being in a doctors waiting room and appointment more humanising. One of the main pieces of feedback I received was how to create a common language between patient and doctor. From this feedback, I went back and read through my scholarly articles that first sparked this idea to gain more data and information to create this language.

Another aspect of my proposition that I hadn’t considered was how to make the app a post and pre experience for both patient and doctor. Will the doctor have access to what the patient is recording in real-time or will the doctor just have access to the accumulated data of various patients? I think the latter is more realistic but it would be great if the doctor could know what their next patient is feeling before they enter the room. This means the app needs to be site-specific and integrated in the space of a doctors waiting room and office.

Finally, the main problem with my design proposition is that I need to make it engaging so people using it become attached to it. My tutor used the app Pause as an example of an engaging design. The way the user follows the flowing shapes on the screen is meditative and draws the user in. This visual engagement and level of meditation is something I want to emulate through my design proposal so I conducted some more research into interactive mobile apps. Once example I found was Feel Me by Marco Triverio explores the disconnect present in communication through technological devices. As one person moves their finger on the screen, the other person can see the movement in real-tim. This is a concept I want to explore in my design response as it creates an emotive connection between both users.

Overall, my design proposition received a positive response with some small issues that I have addressed above. My tutor said it was something she hadn’t heard of or considered before so I think that the basis of my concept is solid. Now, I just need to refine my proposition and figure out how to visually represent it.


The Waiting Room

Generative/ Service Design

The receptionist is typing vigorously while the printer whirs and spits out sheets of paper. A child is crying in his mothers arms while she rocks him hysterically to silence him. The man to your left is jiggling his right leg which is making the couch you’re sitting on move and the woman to your rights is tapping her pen on the clipboard piled with forms. You are sitting amongst all this noise about to see your doctor. How do you feel?

Put yourself in this situation. We have all been there before. There is no wonder then that the stigma of mental health patients not wanting to seek help is so prevalent. The way we feel in particular situations is often based on our environment. Through my design response, I want people in the space of a doctors waiting room to be able to feel comfortable to talk about their feelings, especially when it is time for them to interact with the doctor. The problem I am addressing is the stigma doctors often inflicted upon patients and the stigma of patients not wanting to seek help. It is a double-sided issue which makes it even more complex.

I propose a generative and service design app called The Waiting Room which is site specific to stressful and suspenseful situations such as waiting to see your doctor. The aim of the app is to make the user feel comfortable and positive in that environment and to be aware of their feelings. This enables patients to connect with their thoughts in order to communicate them better to a doctor.

The Waiting Room can be classified as a meditative app to prepare patient’s minds for their appointment. The user will be able to build their emotions using abstract shapes such as squares, circles and curves by they won’t know the exact meaning of each shape. While the patient is creating their abstract artwork, the doctor will have a real time connection and knows what each shape represents. This enable the patient to meditate and connect with their thoughts whilst the doctor knows how the patient may be feeling before the appointment. It is an abstract and gentle connection between patient and doctor that isn’t invasive and will hopefully improve both mind sets and reduce stigma.

Featured Image:

Unknown. 2015, Don’t Waste Your Wait, viewed 25 September 2016, <>

Post 10: Reflection & Revised Proposition

By Yu Zhang


During week 7, I had a opportunity to receive feeback from colleague and tutor for my draft proposal, and it’s really useful that I got lots of idea to understand how to refine my proposal that base on the data, and what kind of data are appropriate to my data visualization.



The direction of my draft proposal is about the inequality between women and men, includes treatment, physical power, and protection. On the other hand, I was confused about what’s the specific issue for the proposal because it includes a lot of data that’s relevant but still too broad to develop a data visualization. Fortunately, my colleague and tutor suggested me to focus on how does men treat to women while make women feel less equal, so I had a specific audience for the proposal. This suggestion helps me to finalize the audience and direction of my proposal and guides me to narrow down the sources of the data, which is really useful. Also, for the visual style of my proposal, my colleague suggested developing a data of question that relates to inequalities of women and creates a map that base on specific locations in Australia. For example, the data could be ‘The percentage of women that feeling abused at home’, and the location could be Pyrmont, Burwood, Seaforth etc. I think this idea guides me to realize visually about how’s the data visualization look like and helps me how to insert useful information to provide a useful data while engage and synthesize with the audience, which is men. Overall, this session really helps me to understand further about what’s the next step to arrange the data, develop it visually, and what kind of data should I research further for my revised proposition.

Revised Proposition

Project title: Women = Men

Practice type: Data Visualization

The issue: Inequality between women and men. According to the survey report of young people attitudes violence against women, women are always higher than men in the rate of being violence and assaulted. Also, men,especially young men between age 16-24 are lack of awareness about their treatment to women are hurtful and disrespectful, especially non-physical behaviors. On the other hand, women received more violence and assaulted from acquaintance than strangers, includes husband, boyfriend, father etc. It’s the social issue that would affect the mental health situation of women, the rate of domestic violence and the level of authority of women in the society.

The possible change: Reduce the rate of disrespectful behavior to women from men and encourage men to rethink their treatment to women, includes forces women to have sex, tries to control by threatening to hurt others, harasses by repeated phone calls etc. Also, educate men to start recognize the awareness of protecting and respect women instead of using violence to harm women. Finally, display visually what kind of behavior should be forbidden to women and how to affect the mental health situation to women after they had experience with those behaviors.

The design action to support change: Develop a data visualization to support the evidence of women are being the situation of inequality in gender while educating men to recognize their inappropriate behaviors to women. Basically, I would like to develop the design as a digital advertisement that can display on screen. The ads are able to publish on the big digital screen around the city and shopping center, audience is able to touch it and the ads will show the data on screen. The ads also available on any school and government website to publicize the issue. The data will base on two main aspects: physical behaviors and non-physical behaviors. Every individual data will base on one specific behavior from men to women like repeatedly criticizes to make women feel useless. Visually, the design will display by a circle to briefly describe about the issue. After that, audience is able to extend the circle to the next circle while there will have several selection to choose. Also, every circle include 2 to 3 different colors to represent the percentage of the data. After extending all of data by the main aspects, the data visualization should look like a molecular system that can reflect the serious problem of treatment to women from men are in an inequality situation with rich information as the evidence.


Harris A., Honey N., Webster K., Diemer K. & Politoff V. 2013, Attitudes towards gender equality, Young Australians’ attitudes to violence against women, Australia, pp44-47.


POST 10: Reflection and Proposition

by Jessica Avelina Horo


I didn’t even have any solid idea of the proposition during the last class’ meeting that in results making me anxious for days. I have these problem statements all over my head but I couldn’t specify them and focus on one thing. I tried to solve the big problem first and couldn’t give any design solution to it. So what I did was that I tried to talk over this issue to one of my colleague that is in pursue of her Ph.D in food science in UNSW. With her high level of education, I figured that it is easier to talk over this issue and discussed about it. It is a complicated issue with many causes and backgrounds so that not many people will get to understand this issue in a short time. While I explained the issue to her, I began to read all my maps and researches again then started to reflect on them. My friend helps me a lot in this process as she is quite used to make a report that needs critical thinking. I wrote again what I want to achieve in this proposition and it helps me identifying the issue. By clarifying my problem statement, I was able to gather all of my thoughts on the issue into a concise brief that I can address in the Task 3.

Design Proposition – Hello Neighbours 

This proposition is in result of my research about refugees’ experiences in the detention centre. Just like what I mentioned in my #8th blogpost, I want to see what I can do to prepare refugees and the community to live together harmoniously after such traumatic experiences.

The previous draft proposition is called “Emphathy”.  It was intended to show how sorry we are to the refugees, who have repeatedly received such traumatic experiences. The will be an annual event that will be held in parks and places like Darling Harbour as it is spaces that people from all age come together and enjoy the scenery. As we all know, there are a lot of rejection and negative attitude given to the refugees in result of misconceptions in the media. However, we want to bring the positive people out there with the refugees together in an cultural event. The event is called “Hello Neighbours”, referring the neighbours to the refugees that come from different countries in Middle East. By substituting the word ‘refugee’ in the name with ‘neighbours’, the event will raise awareness to not identify the refugees as ‘refugees’ or outsider anymore.

Celebrate our new neighbours by giving them a chance to show their art skills and blend together with the Australia’s community. It is not unfamiliar for the Aussies’ people to have street art and dance in the streets. In this event, we want to encourage the refugees to show their skills and culture by adopting Australian’s culture. There will also a traditional food market cooked by the refugees and showcase of refugees’ artworks. Most importantly, there will be a testimony too brought by refugees that has succeed in their new life so that they could inspire other refugees and show general people what they actually could do. Art is a universal language, it is unique in each culture and country yet I believe it could unite people. This concept could result with people embracing refugees and changed their perceptions about them. Refugees would also feel appreciated and welcomed by the events that celebrates their presence in the community.


I decided to change my design proposition to be in local context instead of such a big event held in public places. Based on the feedbacks that I received today, I made changes:

TITLE: Hello Neighbours

PRACTICE TYPE: Service Design

THE ISSUE: People should embrace refugees and changed their perceptions about them after such traumatic experience in the journey and in detention centre. Even after the resettlement, a lot of people still address the refugees as ‘refugees’ and in result they received harassment and bullying in the school or workplace. Even though a lot of people are blinded by the misconceptions but there are still a lot of people who wants to say sorry to refugees. For people who wants to give sympathy to the refugees, they could stay together in this event to contribute something positive to the refugees or the refugees themselves could show their true side directly to the Australians.

THE POSSIBLE CHANGE: The design would aim to get people identify refugees as the ‘new neighbours in town’ instead of as an outsider or refugees anymore. This also could results with people embracing refugees and changed their perceptions about them. Refugees would also feel appreciated and welcomed by the events that celebrates their presence in the community.

ACTION TO SUPPORT THE CHANGE: Create a campaign with voluntary based resources and have an event to spend a day or have lunch with refugees every 3 months. The event will be divided into each council so that each council would be aware of the arrival of new ‘neighbours’ in their areas. In the event, the refugees and the people who supports them could make an intimate conversation to share their values and stories. By doing so, refugees feel welcomed in the community and appreciated. General people in the range of 18-24 years old also have the experience to know the refugees directly and show their support for them. After the events, they could share the campaign and the events to social media using the hashtag #helloneigbours. Posting photo with the hashtag would also help for other people to see the other side of refugees. Thus, creating an awareness to accept refugees as part of the community and live together harmoniously.



Post 10: Drawn in Blue

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.

Refined Proposal:

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.

Header Image:
Mijares, J. 2016, post 10 header, drawing, Sydney, Australia.

Post 10: Reflection and proposition


After a long term studies in this area, this is a quite interesting area, mental health can be researched by many different aspects. In the beginning, I studied about the people who would be the most vulnerable on mental health problems, through my research, think it would be teenagers, they are not mature enough and always be influenced by surrounding person or things, it is not easy for them to control their emotions, it will lead to a mental health problem easily. Also, teenager is an important part of a country’s development. In my opinion, how to improve and solve teenagers’ mental illness is a project that be worth investigating. After that, I read a lot of resources to understand the causes of teenagers’ mental health problems, I think finding the reasons of a problem is the most important for solving it. As I mentioned in my previous posts, teenagers always get pressures from their family or studies, teachers and parents can impact on their mental activities in the most direct way. After a few weeks’ development, through our group discussions and these map exercises, I started to have some ideas, to establish a connection between parents, teachers and teenagers, so lat them have a better communication and understanding with each other. In the last week, I tell my teacher about my draft proposals. Firstly, between the teacher and teenagers, I think teenagers can present their real thoughts through their drawing, teachers can record their observations of teenagers on an online system, parents can consult all information about their children at home, this can help parents to know their children’s situation at school and it is good for communicating with children at home. But through my descriptions in the class, the teacher gave me the feedback is: the draft proposal appears to contain too many projects, I just need to focus on one idea of these, then improve it and make it be a mature design . In this week, I reviewed my previous research, discussions with my group members and all feedback or suggestions from others, I refined my proposal, I’m not suers it a good design proposal, but I think it should be helpful for the issue that I studied on.


Project title:Online communication system

Practice type: generative/service design

The issue: Parents can’t know teenagers’ mental activities when they were in school.

The possible change: Establish an online platform for a better communication between parents and teachers, let parents know more about their children, a better communication and understanding between teenagers and their parents would be helpful for preventing or improving a mental illness.

The design action to support change: Teachers can record anything about all teenagers through their observations in schools, teenagers’ parents can read their children’s information in this system, so parents can know the situations about their children in schools, they can have a better understanding of their children.


In last week’s class, my tutor Chris suggested me to focus on the drawing test, this is one of my draft proposals that the psychologists can testing teenagers’ mental health by their drawings, this is an interesting design, but I did a lot of research about the parents and teachers’ impacts on teenagers’ mental health, so I want to keep my opinions, I want to offer a proposal that can help parents to know teenagers’ situations in the schools, it should be private, so an online system would be more private for all teenagers and it is more convenience for the communication between teachers and parents, if parents can know things about their children in schools, they would have a better understanding of their children,they can know teenagers’ study pressure, their interpersonal relationship. When parents can know their children, they can get along well with each other, this would be really helpful for teenagers’ mental heath, they wouldn’t get much pressure from their parents, even they can make friends with their parents.

09 – If in doubt, try again


Wk6 in class brainstorm
Wk6 in class Five W’s and brainstorm

Culminating the research phase of the project, the focus our group sessions shifted to exploring potential design responses for our issues. To facilitate this discussion we initially framed the problem within the scope of the Five W’s – who, what, when, where and why. Specifying the context within which the problem exists established a sound foundation for the proposal to be developed.

Whilst such a format is incredibly useful in translating the conclusions drawn from research into a design context, without a fairly specific direction in mind, the exercise will merely described a vague or overly broad context. Although I had clearly found the use of language in media dialogue around mental health to be problematic, I felt that my answers to the Five W’s were still quite generalised.

When attempting to thoroughly explain the context of my issue to my group I found that I could not identify a specific element to focus my design response. Without a refined direction in mind, and a very limited amount of time remaining to the class, it then became difficult to benefit from the group brainstorming process. Had the Five W’s been completed prior to class, perhaps a clearer understanding of the shift from research into design would have been established and thus a more productive exploration into proposals engaged.

Continue reading “09 – If in doubt, try again”

08 – Getting to the point

After weeks of research, the project had now come to the point where it was necessary to shift the focus to developing a single, refined problem within the immensely broad topic of mental health. For me, the language surrounding mental health in media dialogue has been a particularly provocative issue, and hence has informed most of my research thus far. To inform the development of potential design proposals which would respond to this issue, it became crucial to write out precisely which factors are pivotal to its existence.

Five W’s

Who – journalists, television/radio presenters (news and entertainment), producers/editors of productions/publications, doctors, medical practitioners, medical/scientific researchers

What – the problem is bound in outdated understandings of mental health, which are based on a lack of existing/developed scientific knowledge. A basic understanding of the role and importance of the brain is a very recent scientific discovery, especially when viewed within the grander context of human history. The continuation of this boundary is facilitated by inconsistent education systems and differing cultural customs.

When – the problem begins from a child’s developing years as they come to understand the world based on the teachings of others and personal experiences. The problem is often present in any discussion mentioning mental health. Such discussions are not necessarily verbal, but can also be communicated through disbelieving glances or scoffs, as well as the developing digital language of emojis, acronyms, hashtags and gifs.

Where – In conversation between friends or strangers, in televised/broadcasted discussions/commentaries, in published articles (academic, news-focused, topical or opinion-based), in comment sections across all forms of digital platforms (i.e. blogs, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), in advertisements (print and digital), and also in film (discussion point or core plot/character development).

Why – The existence of careless and uninformed language around mental health promotes the continued prevalence of stigma through society. This in turn limits the availability of services for those in need, as well as further research into the field. Such limitations are a result of inequitable government funding and poor charity funding, since the general public is less invested in the importance of mental health when compared to physical health. Furthermore, these societal perceptions inhibit the willingness of individuals to be open about their problems and seek help, or the ability of those who are actively seeking help to feel accepted and not ‘other’.

Continue reading “08 – Getting to the point”

Post 9: Visual documentation of the brainstorming session

In the class, my group give me a great help on my problem, they gave me a lot of ideas of solutions about my problem. Based on my previous studies, I want to build a platform between parents and teachers, have a good communication between them can help them understand the mental activities of teenagers, it also can help teenagers’ mental health development.


Firstly, we developed it from three aspects, data visualization needs to collect data, in our group discussion, we believe that this type of design is not suitable for the problem that I want to solve, so we focus on considering the service design and generative design.

In our previous studies, it can be seen the  face to face service is very important in teenagers’ mental health treatment, so we considered several design approaches those can allow teenagers, parents and teachers can communicate in face to face. For example, students can show their mental activities to the doctor through drawing, so the doctors can have a better understand of teenagers, this method would be an interesting approach, but this is only an interaction between doctors and teenagers, parents and teachers didn’t get involved into teenagers’ mental activities. Secondly, we can do a role-playing activity among teenagers, teachers and parents, which allows they have a better understand  with each other, I think this is a good proposal, but I feel it wouldn’t be a good design when we use it in our life. Finally, we also consider to let them write a letter to each other, this is a simple and direct way to let them have a good understanding with each other, but for teenagers, it is not easy for them to open their hearts and have a share with others about their real thoughts.

In addition, I also have some ideas about generative design, for psychological treatment of teenagers, perhaps the online ways would be more suitable for them, we can use an online system to record teenagers’ mental activities or create a platform that allows teachers record their observations for each student, parents can see the information about their children by this system at home, which allows have a better communication between teachers and parents, parents an know teenagers mental activities more clear in school, a better understanding can make a better communication between them, it would be good for prevention and treatment of teenagers’ mental illness.

Prior to the developments by this few weeks, I got my draft proposal now, after a week, I need them to be more specific and complete.

Post 8:Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

Through my research, development and group discussion in last few weeks, to be honest, I felt a little bit confused. Mental health is a wide range issue, particularly its research topic, more and more discussion make me fell so confused for my future studies. In this post, I need to sort out my research and ideas.

In the previous studies, we did some theoretical studies with mental health firstly, by reading some mental health-related books, news and finding some images about mental health, I was interested in teenagers’ mental health through analyzing these resources, I found many teenagers are plagued with mental health problem. And then, we did a lot of map exercises in class, we exchange our ideas about this issues with our group members and do some analysis about mental health in many different aspects.  We analyzed the stakeholders of mental health firstly, which may be human or non human. From these, we think several stakeholders have a close connection with teenagers’ mental health, such as schools, parents and some related organizations with government. I choose school and parents as my research topic at that time, i want to find a good connection between parents and school to know teenagers’ mental health activities more clear. Just have a clear understanding about teenagers, people can have a better help with their mental health problem. After this, I also learned some ideas from the discussions with my groups members. In many people’s mind, they would think the mental illness is a stigma, they don’t want to admit their problem and don’t want to tell others about their mental health treatment, this also is a big problem in mental health, so people should have a greatly improvement with understanding of mental health and privacy of mental health treatment. In addition, in our group discussion, the psychiatrist is always be mentioned, before, I think teenagers need more care from their teachers and parents about t their mental health, but when the problem has a certain extent, is it necessary to have a psychiatrist for getting a better treatment is a question should have a consideration.

In the last few weeks, I did research about mental health in many aspects, now, I would like to answer this series of questions and sort out all information about mental health problems and know the problem that I really want to solve later.


How to make better communication between teenagers, parents and teachers, so that teenagers can have a better mental health environment in school?


-Who Does the problem effect? Be specific

Mental health is a problem for anyone, no matter with your age, sex, nationality, occupation, mental health problems would occur. In my research, I focus on treatment of teenagers’ mental health problems, teenager is an essential element of a country’s future development, the teenagers’ growth is an important part, therefore, health problems of teenagers should be concerned. In addition, teenagers are not mature enough, they would be impacted by many things and people easily, a lot of people develop their mental health problems from their adolescence and become more serious when they be an adult. Overall, in my design, I need to solve or improve teenagers’ mental health problems.

-What r the boundaries of the problem?

I think this problem can be sorted as a communication problem. For teenagers, there always be a generation gap between themselves with parents and teachers, they don’t want to communicate more with others, the lack of communication is a main reason on  teenagers’ mental health problem, therefore, to establish a platform for people to get a better communication with each other is necessary on the mental health problems.

-When Does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?

Just same with the question that anyone would have mental health problem, it also occur at any time, but have an early prevention on mental health problems would be good for people.

-Where Does the problem occur?

Mental health problem would occur at any time and anywhere, I was focused on the teenagers in my project, for teenagers, they spend more time in the school, so the school environment is an important factor for teenagers’ mental health.

-Why Does it important?

In my previous studies concluded that teachers and parents are the biggest stakeholders those would impact on teenagers’ mental activities, therefore, there is a good communication between parents and teachers can help parents to know children’s situations in school and teachers can know students’ stories at home, this also would be helpful for teenagers’ mental health.


  • At school, it can be equipped with a professional psychiatrist, every week, the doctor can use different interesting activities to get to know the students’ mental activities and ease the pressure on students. (Such as painting, music, etc.) In the process of painting, sometimes, students will present their real ideas and mental activities, they can get fun in this process and the doctors also can know their mental actiities.
  • Let students use some simple patterns to record their moods of the day, the teacher will send these students’ mood patterns to their parents, so parents can know the general situation about their children in this day and they can have a better communication at home.
  • Create a system, teachers can leave messages for parents about their children’s situation at school, parents can see the information about their children at home. Parents and teachers will have a good communication and have a better understand of children through this system, when people can have a better understand with teenagers, they also can be more healthy on their mental.
  • Per week,  the teachers, teenagers and parents can be gathered in one place, let them communicate with each other, parents can also communicate with other teenagers, children can tell other teenagers’ parents about their real feelings, so everyone would open their hearts to exchange their inner thoughts with different people, this also would be a good way for parents to know teenagers’ mental activities.
  • Held the role-playing activities in the school, try to understand other people’s mental activities in the process of role-playing, so it can make a good mutual communication between teenagers and their parents.


To create a platform that can let teachers and parents keep contact, it can be an online system, the teacher will be write some relevant situations about each students for their parents on the platform, parents can have a login account, but they just can read relevant content abut their children, so parents can know more about the situations of their children in school and understand children’s mental activities, people can find teenagers’ mental health problem as soon as possible. After finding this, the school psychology teacher will have an associated counseling for them. It looks like a small mental health treatment system that presence in the school, which provides a platform  on network between teachers and parents, finding the problem and provide the doctors to solve this problems as soon as possible.

POST 8: Brainstorming Possibilities for a Design Response

by Jessica Avelina Horo

Finally, on this week I’m starting to see how my research and brainstorming process could lead me to. In one of the brainstorming process about the problem in the refugee issues, I have some kind of interest towards the one about refugees experiencing trauma in detention centre. I posted the map visualisation in Post 9, but I also put the map that I’m talking about below.



Problem Statement:

Taking some words from an article by Amnesty International,

(Sydney, 3 August, 2016)—“About 1,200 men, women, and children who sought refuge in Australia and were forcibly transferred to the remote Pacific island nation of Nauru suffer severe abuse, inhumane treatment, and neglect, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. The Australian government’s failure to address serious abuses appears to be a deliberate policy to deter further asylum seekers from arriving in the country by boat”. (Media Centre | Amnesty International : Australia: Appalling abuse, neglect of refugees on Nauru, 2016)

It is so tragic that from my researches, I found that refugees and asylum seekers on detention centre have been held there for like three years and then be neglected by the health workers and other service provided who have been hired by the Australian government. Not only that, local Nauruans also gave them unpunished assaults. I couldn’t imagine how traumatic these experiences would be for the refugees. They crossed the sea, not knowing how their life gonna be, risking their family, leaving all they have behind and hoping for better future but all they received is these treatments. As we can see from the map that I drew in the class, I tried to break down how the experience would be for refugees and all the related stakeholders. This has to change now. Life is already really hard for refugees in detention centre,  and it is even harder after they got released to the community. People are having these strong attitudes to reject refugees coming to the community, it exist because of a lack of cultural understanding between both groups. If mutual acceptance and respect was found and maintained, perhaps there would be less conflicting perspectives.

From here, I want to see what I can do to prepare refugees and the community to live together harmoniously after such traumatic experiences. By clarifying my problem statement, I was able to gather all of my thoughts on the issue into a concise brief that I can address in the Task 3. All the refugees’ needs is a new LIFE, which I will break down to 4 design possibilities; Love, Impart, Fellowship and Empower and for the last one is about empathy.

5 Possibilities

1 Love

Amnesty International tried to break down people’s misconception about refugees:

  • Asylum seekers are not ‘illegal’ – it is a human right to seek asylum by boat in Australia (UN Refugee Convention and Australian Migration Act 1958)
  • The majority of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat are found to be genuine refugees fleeing persecution, torture and violence.

(Our campaign for refugees and asylum seekers, 2016)


One of the problem that I found from this issue is because of a lack of cultural understanding between both groups. Both of them are lack of mutual acceptance and respect. There are enough border control to stop refugees coming into countries but is this the right way? People are having this misconceptions about refugees, Islamophobia, an exaggerated hostility toward Muslims and Islam, appear to be on the rise in both Europe and the United States. This too will happened to Australia if we don’t spread the love from now. Educate people how we can embrace multiculturalism without fighting each other. Hostile and politicised rhetoric only adds fuel to the fire of Islamophobia, we don’t need to add more. The world is too full of negativity already. It is written by law, as mentioned by Amnesty above, that asylum seekers are not ‘illegal’, they are genuinely come fleeing persecution and war.

One mother said: “When they go to school, the Nauruan children call our children ‘refugee,’ not by name. People have names. They say, ‘Why are you here? This is our country. You should leave. We don’t like you staying here.” (Media Centre | Amnesty International : Australia: Appalling abuse, neglect of refugees on Nauru, 2016)

Have we lose our humanity that we refuse to help people in need? They are facing rejection everywhere they go. This is the time to embrace them, spread the love and accept them by who they are.

2  Impart 

Give them opportunity to show their contribution to the Australian’s society and this could also give them an opportunity to start a career in a foreign career, where nobody knows them, and where they have to start from scratch.

3 Fellowship

Too many misunderstandings from what have been reported from the news, articles, photos but never from the person him/herself. So it would be great if we can have a chance to build a deeper relationship, to get to know refugee not from external sources but first-hand experience.  The result of this experience would be to break the myth that people have without checking the facts, clear the misunderstanding, embrace multiculturalism and know the refugees’ rights.

4 Empower

“…..almost 7,000 people drowned in the Mediterranean alone in the two years since the first big shipwreck in October 2013” (8 ways to solve the world refugee crisis, 2015)

“Nearly all interviewees reported mental health issues of some kind—high levels of anxiety, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and feelings of listlessness and despondency were most commonly mentioned—that they said began when they were transferred to Nauru”. (Media Centre | Amnesty International : Australia: Appalling abuse, neglect of refugees on Nauru, 2016)

“People here don’t have a real life. We are just surviving. We are dead souls in living bodies. We are just husks. We don’t have any hope or motivation” (Media Centre | Amnesty International : Australia: Appalling abuse, neglect of refugees on Nauru, 2016)

Refugees experience a lot of  trauma caused by the boat’s journey, uncertainty and mistreat in the detention centre and stress after they got released. Refugees also receive bullying in their school or workplace. In result they have identity issues, even after they are released into the community, people don’t see them as an individual, they see them as refugees. The refugees need some sort of empowerment; a centre that could empower them in terms of language, general knowledge about Australia, skills and psychology trauma.

5 Empathy

An asylum seeker described conditions while his wife was in labour:

“I saw my wife lying under the bed. The bed didn’t have a mattress. . . . I saw the nurse, an Australian nurse, playing on her tablet. My wife was crying. I said, ‘Please do something for my wife. This is like a jail, not a delivery room.’ The bathroom didn’t have tissue or hand washing liquid. I went out to buy hand washing liquid and rolls of tissue.” (Media Centre | Amnesty International : Australia: Appalling abuse, neglect of refugees on Nauru, 2016)

“Australia’s policy of exiling asylum seekers who arrive by boat is cruel in the extreme,” said Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research at Amnesty International, who conducted the investigation on the island for the organisation. (Media Centre | Amnesty International : Australia: Appalling abuse, neglect of refugees on Nauru, 2016)

The Australian government may have failed to address serious abuses appears to be a deliberate polity to deter further asylum seekers from arriving the country by boat. As mentioned by one of the refugees in the detention centre, they have been neglected by the health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government. Not only that, they also receive frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. Self-harm and suicide attempts are common in the detention centre, all these actions are in result of their uncertainty about their future, which Australian government has failed to manage. Apart from the negative news that have been spread around about refugees, there are still some Australians that are in the refugees’ side but they cannot express their empathy. We need an event or a platform to show our empathy to the refugees and by doing so also to raise awareness for general people. However, it would be hard to get people to participate as a lot of them have a negative attitude to this issue.


My proposal is in respond to my last possibility listed above, which aims to get people and refugees in an big annual event. The concept is to have the event probably in places like Darling Harbour and it will be held annually because this issue have been there for years and the impact to the refugees’ emotion won’t be quick to heal. As we all know that refugees issue is a complicated case happened in many countries without having the real solution that could solve the issue. However, even though a lot of people are blinded by the misconceptions but there are still a lot of people who wants to say sorry to refugees. For people who wants to give sympathy to the refugees, they could stay together in this event to contribute something positive to the refugees or the refugees themselves could show their true side directly to the Australians.

This concept could result with people embracing refugees and changed their perceptions about them. Refugees also would feel appreciated and welcomed by the events that celebrates their presence in the community.



Reference List

8 ways to solve the world refugee crisis 2015, viewed 19 September 2016, <;.

Media Centre | Amnesty International : Australia: Appalling abuse, neglect of refugees on Nauru 2016, Amnestymedia. viewed 19 September 2016, <;.

Our campaign for refugees and asylum seekers 2016, Amnesty Australia. viewed 19 September 2016, <;.

Post 9: Visual documentation of the brainstorming session

By Yu Zhang

During the brainstorming session, everyone had an opportunity to develop a map that base on their problem statement and proposition. I was started with Sexual Assault for mapping but found that it’s too broad. The tutor suggested we should start something more specific, that’s why we decided to do the map with communities of religion.


Brainstorm 1: Buddhism


During the group discussion, we had a conversation about Buddhism and came out with equality between man and women, which guide us to have a specific topic for deciding what kind of proposition should I do. Speaking of Buddhism, the impression of women is very negative, include lust, jealous, vicious. They think most of the women can not be buddha because inside of women’s body is dirty, so women only can become buddha when they became man. Also. Buddhism has criteria about how to become perfect women, include be extremely patient, good at housework, no cheating, no jealous, no lazy, must respect to husband etc. However, I think Buddhism has very strict sexism problem that reflects on the criteria to women and the comments of women. On the other hand, buddha won’t physically harm women and just stay away from them. Overall, I still think Buddhism don’t show enough respect to women and it might be able to use these contents to develop a proposition that appeals the biased comments to women from Buddhism.
The weakness of this idea is even Buddhism is biased on women, but they never plan to spread those bias to the world, because Buddhism encourages to be harmonious and forgive anything that could guide you to be negative or just stay away from it instead of conflict with it. So it could receive a very limited effect on developing the proposal with Buddhism. Also, the nature of Buddhism is very positive, it’s not necessary to challenge it even it has defect on the field of treating women.

Brainstorm 2: Muslim


Another religion we were discussed is Muslim. Basically, the status of women in Muslim is very low, they don’t even have freedom to do something they want while they have lots of behavior to be forbidden, includes not able to show their body in public place, travel individually and contact another person individually. Also, the husband is the absolute authority of every Muslim family, they can marry with a maximum of 4 women while the wife doesn’t have the right of divorce and unable to challenge their husband. The husband is able to use violence on their wife if they do something wrong. However, compare to Buddhism, Muslim has more data that I could use for the proposal and the inequalities between men and women, which means the quantity of data can be very rich and might make the proposal looks fantastic with these contents.

The weakness of this possibilities is it might receive some bad reflection from the people who are religious at Muslim or even will become a rebellion if the proposal includes some sensitive information. Also, Muslim still has lots of faith that are positive and provide some good creed to the society. So consider the safety and efficiency, the proposal with Muslim is quiet risky at the moment.

Brainstorm 3: View of life


We also discuss the possibilities about reflecting the quality of living of women in Australia by developing a Data map. The data will base on several data about women, includes the income, levels of education, type of work etc. In Australia, domestic violence is one of common problem in the society, especially married women. Even the government established shelters for women to escape from domestic violence, the rate of domestic violence is still very high. However, these possibilities have a great potential to reflect the equality of men and women straightly by display the data of situation of women. Also, it can guide the audience to be aware effectively about the bias of women in the society , especially for women that help them to protect their authority and benefit.

On the other hand, the possibilities need to consider carefully about data chosen because most of the relevant data would be very board that might involve some unnecessary data while can not provide specific information to reader. Also, to simplify the possibilities with this idea is quite a challenge in content selection and visual design response.


ABC News, 2016, Fact file: Domestic violence in Australia, viewed 19 September 2016, <;.

Skwirk, Women in Australia now, viewed 19 September 2016, <;.

Post 9 — Brainstorming Process

The ability to collaborate with others has been a central factor in researching the complex social issues that surround asylum seekers and refugees. Thus, during the last group task, it was very insightful to have each member bring their individual knowledge and perspectives to our discussions. It seems as though every meeting, we all have new insights to present as we have been looking at new information, new issues and new actors.

These new findings may also emerge from the notion that complex issues are not stagnant but rather always changing. In ‘Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory‘, Latour suggests that the actors are constantly in the process of (re)assembling, (re)associating and (dis)agreeing. Thus, it is our role as the researcher to trace these actors and their movements.
During this weeks exercises, it was good to exchange these various avenues that we have been researching as it provided a wholesome perspective of the issue at large. In the first map, we focused on my problem regarding ‘attitudes towards refugees’. Despite focusing on individual problems, I found that all group members were able to confidently contribute to this open discourse. As opposed to previous mind maps, we found that this task was much more successful as we were able to quickly and naturally fill the entire page with various intuitive ideas. This was perhapsbecause we focused on a more specific topic as opposed to the larger maps. In previous maps, we found it difficult to start as there was an overload of information which we didn’t know how to organise.
Not only did I find mapping out my problem to be helpful, but I also gained some perspective about other problems surrounding the asylum seeker issue. We created a map that addressed how refugees experience trauma in detention. We explored disturbing experiences that refugees often endure and how this effects themselves, their family and the community. We also looked at who or what is responsible for inflicting this trauma and proposed ideas about how it is/should be handled.

A definite weakness about this process however was that we felt pressured to already have some ideas for Assignment 3. For the last few weeks, we have not yet had individual discussions with tutors and thus found it difficult to transition from the research stage to the responding stage. I also felt a little overwhelmed with the idea that we had to start proposing concepts as there’s still so much that I don’t know about emergent areas.

It’s raining brains.

Post 9: Collaborative Brainstorming

As I’m sure is true for anyone in my class, I don’t like openly collaborating on my own ideas,  but I do like talking about others’. I think theres a reluctancy to put forward your own ideas simply for the fear of others shutting them down. However, what’s great about a collaborative brainstorming session is that instead of putting forward a large selection of your own haphazard, messy and self conscious ideas that are usually quite similar in their direction, you are able to start with a blank canvas with a group that might be able to see the problem through a unique lens. Collaborative brainstorm isn’t as daunting as presenting a range of ideas to a group, because you are given the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other, be inspired by each other and start flows of conversation and creativity that might be incredibly useful in the idea generation process.

Our group brainstorming session during class was incredibly useful, and I found it far more valuable than the brainstorming I had attempted just the day before that class that was tedious and resulted in me forming a page of similar ideas, most of which were merely ‘filler’ proposals that were used to make the page look nice. It took a while to get the ball rolling, (our first brainstorm not as quick and smooth as the next few), but eventually we were starting to get creative with our ideas. Initially we were trying to split our possible design outcomes into the three categories of Service Design, Generative Design and Data Visualisation and work on each Emergent Practice Area on it’s own. It didn’t take long for us to realise that it was better for our creative thinking to not worry about categorising our ideas and focus on churning them out, disregarding how easy they would be to create, how useful they might be and how we might visualise them. What we needed to do was focus on the problem statement and think about creative ways of combatting that issue. Allowing the freedom of thought meant that each time we delved into conversation about a proposed idea, our words helped us segue onto the next one.


These two images are from Brainstorms that were not my own topic, but were from individuals in my group. I found that even listening to the ideas of others and coming up with possible solutions for topics that were not my own, I was able to be inspired and spark trains of thought in my own mind that might be useful for my own area of research. In the first map pictured above, one of my group members mentioned the world renowned unique mental health initiative Post Secret, in which individuals mail anonymous postcards with secrets or burdens that are playing on their mind and have them published online and in published books. Post Secret has been a movement I have been following for many years and it caused me to think about how this might be a source of inspiration in regard to own problem statement.


I am very grateful for the ideas generated by my group in regard to my own research area of choice. Not only was it incredibly useful to have other creatives come up with ideas that I alone might never have visited in my own brainstorming process, It was also incredibly beneficial to have the presence of others during the process. The pressure of having to voice ideas out loud and make comments during conversation forced myself to think about my words, my ideas and what they really mean. Collaboration is just as much a performance as it is a research method, and the nerves I get from having to work in groups can sometimes be more useful then it is a hinderance.

Post 6//Scraping the web for data

By miyoung kang

For this task, I have chosen to scrape data from Twitter which is one of the most popular social media platforms today. Twitter is a Social Network Service that enables users to share or communicate their opinions and thinking through short messages called “tweets” within 140 characters. This is an online space which users can up load their daily moment and feeling in the literal sense of the word “twitter”. I think this is a social Network Service combined with the function of blog and messenger. The main function of Twitter is called “follow” which users can subscribe to someone who they are interested in. They follow others who have similar thoughts or are impressed and then add them as their “follower”. With that, the users can share and read their information, feeling, hobby, situation, or state of mind.

The unique qualities are that without their permissions, we can register them as a “follower” and send messages or check their movements. The Twitter’s scope of activity is not only diary, memo, tools of marketing and pen pal but also infinite functions such as conveying breaking news.  The URL is ” ” and its account for the users is displayed “@id”. I think the advantage of Twitter is that in so far as information can be shared and spread in real time immediately, it has faster spreading power than messenger and simple interface rather than blogs.




For my first advanced search I used keywords that relate to my issue, anxiety disorder because I wondered about people’s personal perspectives through their own experiences and then changed the language to Korean using another tool called “Datapipeline” which can export my Twitter searches to Excel in order to compare with its result.

When I tried to search the keyword in English, most of the tweets were users’ personal mentions on anxiety disorder. Sometimes, there were useful and helpful links on mental illness because of the features of the Twitter that can leave message only 140 short characters. I guess they might not had enough space to leave all information. I have observed lots of people just leave their comment without any images.





In the next stage, I tried to use another search tool “Datapipeline” but in this tool, I changed language option to Korean and exported my Twitter searches to Excel and its result was amazing. The data shown in Excel was very detailed and well categorised. Data was classed by id, text, created date, re-tweet counts and hashtags etc. After analysing its data based on excel, I have found very interesting points. First, the most counted re-tweet was emergency news which someone was finding a hospital in a specific area urgently because of the anxiety disorder. People shared that tweet in real time responding immediately. It was re-tweeted over 120 times in a day. Another standing out point was that most of the re-tweets were from celebrities or other media’s links. Most of the tweets were just personal mention at that moment. It was not positive but negative.

Below is a five-point summary of my findings:

  1. Most of the tweets I viewed mentioned anxiety disorder in some kind of both negative and positive contexts. But most of these tweets like their personal state of mind were not retweeted. The users retweeted only celebrities’ tweets or particular links based on news or events regarding this keyword.
  2. Tweeter has an easy connection between users, also the spread of information is very fast.
  3. Most of the negative contexts mentioned that they have panic and anxiety disorder. On the other hand, positive contexts were mentioned, loving and cheering messages for their friends. Otherwise, sometimes there were tweets mentioning others’ experiences. Some were jokes unrelated to the medical phenomenon of mental illnesses.
  4. There were a lots of accounts that just anxiety is totally different from anxiety disorder and we need its understanding.
  5. The users looked like focusing on their state of mind at that time based on my keyword rather than specific information.


Connecting with the Disconnected.

POST 8: Design Proposal


I must be honest, over the past number of weeks of research I have been extremely indecisive about the potential focus for my design proposal. I have been flicking my interest within the issue of Mental Health constantly. I have found it incredibly difficult to pinpoint a specific aspect that interests me, as I start to get excited with every new piece of information I may find. I would breathe a sigh of relief and think; this is it! I want to research this further! Only to find the next sentence is just as eye-opening as the last.

However, looking back on my patterns of research I can’t shake my concern for the mental health experiences in rural and regional Australia. Having grown up in urban Sydney my entire life, I feel spoilt for choice in terms of mental health services. I have a HeadSpace centre within walking distance of my home, I knew where my school counsellor’s office was and when he was in, I could name at least 5 different mental health organisations off the top of my head and find their webpages and phone numbers within seconds. This slightly dark luxury of mine is something I have never considered until I started to reflect on my own experience during this research process. Young people in rural and regional areas – particularly males – have the highest instances of mental illness, yet are the least likely to seek help and treatment. Consequently and horrifically this group also have the highest recorded rates of suicide in Australia. The statistics themselves are enough to make me want to yell: “What are we doing about it?!” But the circumstances of geography, technological access and social context are all factors that are against motions to change these facts.

I was sitting on the train one afternoon and noticed an advertisement directed at parents that was urging them to notice the signs of anxiety and depression in their adolescent children. It warned that young people rarely seek help if their parents are not initiating the process or at least a huge support in the process. I was reminded of a statistic I read from Black Dog Institute that noted that 70% of people living with mental illness in rural and regional Australia do not seek help. I started to imagine the young adults and the adolescents living in these isolated spaces who might not have the social advantage of us living in highly populated areas when it comes to support networks and prevalence of treatment centres. If young people are not informed enough to seek help, feel as if no one will listen, do not know where to go or are simply too frightened to speak out then what chance to they have of ever breaking through that initial stage of silence?

W, W, W, W & W.

  1. WHO does the problem affect?
    The main actors affected by this issue are young people struggling with mental illness who live in rural and regional areas of Australia – as well as their families,
    local healthcare professionals and online mental health initiatives. 
  2. WHAT are the boundaries of the issue?
    This issue is primarily as a result of a lack of awareness in these rural and regional communities for mental illness and it’s potential pathways to help. However it is also clearly a structural issue as there simply not enough facilities in place for these isolated areas let alone initiatives that are accessible for young people sometimes acting alone. 
  3. WHEN does it occur?
    Right at the core of this issue is that young people suffering from mental illness in rural and regional areas are uninformed about seeing the signs of mental illness, are frightened or uncomfortable speaking out or may not have the support systems in place. The geographical location hinders their chances of speaking out due to three main factors;
      –  There simply isn’t the same facilities or resources available as there is in urban areas. In some cases there may be one local GP who has limited experience in mental illness.
    –  The intimacy of rural life means that individuals are fearful of everyone ‘finding out’ about their mental health. (“everybody knows everybody’s business in a small town”)
    –  The culture of resilience and self-reliance in rural communities means people are reluctant to speak out if they are struggling.
  4. WHERE does the problem occur?
    This issue occurs on a personal level for so many young people living in rural and regional communities. It can become an issue within the household, or stretch within their wider community, but it’s the lack of recognition and stigma associated with seeking help that prevents a possible solution.
  5. WHY is this issue important?
    You can see how important this issue is if you just read any statistic for suicide in rural and regional Australia. Young people in this areas are the most at risk of suicide and that fact alone is enough to need immediate solutions. We cannot neglect the communities that are out of our urban centres. Australia is a hugely diverse landscape with rural and regional areas that are so essential to our cultural, social and geographical identity, and we cannot turn a blind eye to the young people suffering in these areas. We need to allow young people to start the recovery process on their own if they are unable to reach out to a healthcare professional or a family member. We need to break down the culture and stigma that hinders sufferers from seeking help. 


Young people living in rural and regional communities are reluctant to make the step to seek self-initiated help for mental illness due to the lack of health care facilities, the burden of social stigma and the lack of emotional support.


After identifying my problem statement, we moved on to the Collaborative Brainstorming process. While I was nervous about having an entire group look onward as I write my problem statement in the centre of a large page, I knew that I always find these group idea generation tasks quite beneficial in my process.


After the initial brainstorming process, I started to identify 5 areas that I might want to expand on further and could lead to potential design proposals (Marked with Red Asterisk). I felt that while I had basic ideas of where these may lead, I needed to expand on them just a little further in order to see their strengths and weaknesses as actual design projects:




  • Data Visualisation comparing the experiences of mental illness of young people living in rural and regional areas with that of young people in urban areas. A multi layered data visualisation that would feature comparisons in statistical data, including suicide rates, facilities utilised as well as actual accessibility to healthcare, issues of alcohol and abuse and other potential factors that may influence the differences between urban and rural experience. This data visualisation would aim to raise awareness of the disadvantages for young people in rural and regional areas in regard to the treatment and experience of mental illness.
  • Online or Mobile Mindfulness application that acts as a subscriptive service targeted toward youth living in rural and regional Australia. Inspired by the Headspace UK Application, the design would feature mindfulness tasks and resources for young people looking to seek help on their own terms. Mindfulness is an incredibly useful skill to incorporate into everyday life and one of the easiest ways to help improve wellbeing and combat mental illness.
  • ‘Shout Into the Void’ Online program that allows individuals to submit a secret or a burden playing on their mind that disappears once it is posted. Similar to the “Scream Into The Void” Webpage featured on talk show; Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but more directed toward breaking down the sense of loneliness and isolation that comes with dealing with mental illness in rural and regional areas. When users ‘shout’ (type, write or draw) a confession into the void,  they receive someone else’s anonymous ‘shout’ back to them. Understanding that you’re not alone, understanding that there are other people out there who feel the same and that you can make it together.
  • ‘What Makes me Happy’ Photo project, inspired by my own personal probe task from an earlier blog post, this project would encourage rural and regional young people to send snapshots of one moment a day that fills them with joy or makes them feel calm, relaxed or hopeful. The photos would then be exhibited in an online space which would allow us to see a small amount of data about the individuals, their age, their location and an insight into what they care about. The main purpose of the project is not to view the data however, it is to allow youth in rural and regional areas the opportunity to take time to mindfully appreciate small snapshots of their lives that fill them with positivity. One of my family members who suffers from severe depression was encouraged to do 5 small things for themselves everyday, be it buying a coffee or taking time to sit in the sunshine. Being mindful of the things in your life that are stable and positive is just one self-initiated treatment for mental illness and can really help you to slowly lift your mood on a daily basis.



While still in it’s initial stages, what I am currently proposing is a generative design installation that comments on the isolation of young people experiencing mental illness in rural and regional communities. The installation would be linked to a live website that would be targeted toward rural and regional young Australians. It would feature a large-scale real time projection in a public space in Sydney of submissions from the webpage. The sentence to young people (could) be; ‘It Makes Me Sad When….’ or ‘Today I feel…’ Rural youth would be invited to draw or write a response to this question on a shared mural and have their answer added to the live projection in urban Sydney. The program would then identify the location of submission and allow rural responses to be added to the real-time projection. Beside each message the age and location of the individual would be identified. Above the installation would read, ‘Young Australians in rural and regional Australia are the group most at risk of suicide. This is what makes the youth of rural Australia sad:’ There would be cameras present above the mural that would allow youth using the website to see real time images of the people of city reading their words.

This design would not be trying to propose any solutions, nor would it be trying to replace discussions with psychologists, but rather it is used as a way to conceptually break down the barriers of physical isolation that prevent our young people from reaching out. The social, geographical and cultural factors that make young rural Australians the least likely to seek help for a mental illness can start to be erased as we finally address the sheer horror of this growing issue. Young people are able to address how they feel and understand that people will listen.



2014, Black Dog Institute, Rural Mental Health Appeal, viewed 15th September 2016, <;.

Warren, F. 2005, PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions From Ordinary Lives, William Morrow, USA. see also: <;.

2016, HeadSpace Incorporated, London, Mobile Application, <;.

2015, Scream Into The Void, viewed 15th September 2016, <;.

Post 8: Brainstorming possibilities – reflect the situation of women in the current century

By Yu Zhang


After the previous research exercise, we collected lots of information and data about mental health, and everyone start has their own specific actor to develop their views of the issue further. At this stage, we started brainstorming the possibilities of mental health and consider the methods of our own visual design responses. Look at my previous blog posts with those research and maps, I decided to develop visual design responses that base on Sexual Assault, use different comments and emotion as the elements to reflect on this issue by visual metaphor. Also, engage with my 3 positions: awareness, fear and external factors. However, the brainstorming exercise helps me to understand further about the issue while exploring the ideas of visual design responses.

The brainstorming exercise started with 5 questions that guide us to develop our own problem statement with the issue. The tutors encourage us to be as specific as possible when we answer those questions. It’s very difficult to answer these questions after you collected massive data from the previous exercises, but it’s the pathway to guide us to prepare the draft proposal.

The Problem: Sexual Assault


1.Who does the problem affect?

The stakeholders of this problem are women, especially teenagers, young adults and housewife around age 15-35. Criminals are mostly target on the women who looks young, beautiful, sexy and soft to satisfy their desire.

What are the boundaries of the problem?

The women who lack of knowledge about how to protect themselves in public place, how to seek help from family and community, and how to release the negative thoughts and emotion after the case happened. The man who lack of awareness about the equality of men and women,  contain the desire and thoughtfully consider the harm to women. The government lack of capacity on security, policies of women rights and education of prevention.

When does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?
The problem occurred since human born in the earth, but the society just started to pay attention to this problem since the 1600s by providing some limited protection from laws and security. In the current century, most of people still blind about the consequence of Sexual Assault that can promote serious problems of society, because of the education still not pay enough attention to the prevention self-protection and release negative emotion of Sexual Assault. On the other hand, this problem is impossible to be fully fixed because of the quality of education and security are not able to be consistent anywhere anytime, it will cost lots of human Resources and material resources which is not realistic. But decrease the rate of the issue as soon as possible is definitely necessary.

Where is the problem occur?

In normal life, the problem happened at somewhere that’s lack of people. For example, small corridor around the city, narrow public space like toilet and storage, and some dark space with messy people like nightclub and bar. Usually, the problem occurred at night while the women in a powerless condition like drunk and dizzy. However, the problem occurs anywhere, especially the country where the authority and status of women are very low, this phenomenon might be involved with policies of the country, religion, and the social atmosphere.

Why is it important?

This problem involved with lots of social issues, includes equality of men and women, authority, and status of women and the quality of public security. These issues might affect the levels of happiness to family that has daughter and mother, or even have a risk to lost their female family member if they have to face with Sexual Assault. If the society still not pays enough attention to the protection and prevention on this problem, the rate of suicide, the rate of people with mental illness, and the rate of family with overwhelming pressure won’t able to decrease.

Problem statement

Develop something that can help women to be aware of how to protect themselves while change the awareness of men about how to be more respectful to women and  the functions of treating women.

Five point summary:

After the problem statement finished, I tried to summarise the findings from the exercise while discover the possibilities that relate to my chosen issue.

1. Develop a Data Visualization that base on the positions of surveillance camera with a location map to guide residents realize they are in a security field while that might weaken the chance to commit a crime.

2. Develop a Service Design for a monitor system on the surveillance camera that can display the information of the people in the camera, include the name, age, height etc. It’s able to record the behavior of people and provide evidence if they commit a crime.

3. Develop a Service Design for an App about a digital psychologist Siri that can help users to seek comfort if they don’t emotionally feel well, include some appreciate activities, music, funny comics etc. It can help people with mental illness to realize that something around them is able to seek help.

4. Develop a Data Visualization that base on the situation of women in the current century includes how much do man/women earn, what kind of jobs do man/women do for living, levels of education of man/women etc. It reminds people to think about the equality of man and women is appropriate or not in their society.

5. Develop an Experimental Processes that base on the view of education on Junior High School about how to protect and prevent the social issue, include sexual assault. It helps the younger generation have strong awareness to protect themselves while decreasing the rate of criminals.

Draft  Proposal:

After finished the five point summary, I decided to choose to develop a Data Visualization that base on the situation of women. This proposal can reflect the equality of men and women that helps people to be aware how to respect and protect women while decreasing the rate of sexual assault. The proposition will base on the data of how much do man/women earn, what kind of jobs do man/women do for living, levels of education of man/women etc. I still consider the style of visual design responses in my week 6 blog, base the data in the shadow of the person, but will refine the shadow to be more like a female. Also, remove the dialogue texture to provide more space for scale up the shadow to insert more data on it or develop another smaller elements instead. The color coding for representing the data, I consider to use red and blue to interact the relationship between men and women while developing a visual metaphor to guide readers be aware of the equality of men and women is not fully set up yet in the current society. Also, enhance people’s awareness to start respect women and stop harm them by the visual style of figure and ground.

Developing a draft proposal

Post 8: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

In this brainstorming session, we were asked to individually respond to the questions of who, what, when, where and why in regards to our chosen issue. Because mental health issue is such a broad topic, I found it difficult to answer each question with a solid response.

Who does the problem affect?

  • Society
  • Workforce
  • Patients
  • Doctors and nurses and other professionals such as psychiatrists and therapists
  • Friends and family
  • Country
  • Any stakeholders that come into contact with the issue

What are the boundaries of this issue?

  • Media
  • Stigma
  • Lack of awareness, knowledge and information
  • Culture, religion and beliefs
  • History
  • Personality
  • Medication
  • Educational institutions
  • Financial problems
  • Pride and prejudice
  • Workforce
  • People
  • Technology

When does it occur?
This issue is occurring today and it can occur anytime and develop in various speed and levels, as every individual has an equal chance of having mental health.

Where does the problem occur?

Since every patient suffering from mental health have different reasons and timing, the problem can happen anywhere at any time and thus is why people suffer from it worldwide.

Why is this issue important?

Because each individual has a likely chance of developing mental health issue, it is important for every individual to have a thorough understanding of mental health issues so we can decrease numbers of patients by stopping symptoms to getting serious at an early developmental stage.

After responding to each question, I came up with a draft proposal, “Lack of awareness in Japan causing stigma for mental health”, which could potentially be my starting point to be developed further into a more solid and explicit proposal.

POST 8: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

By Jansie Vo

After the past six weeks of researching and brainstorming, I finally jump to the important stage of developing our proposal into three types of design practice: data visualisation, service design and generative system. During the class’s tutorials, collaborative group work has played a significant role in the discovery and expanding of my deep understanding into the mental health issue. Although it’s been long progress and ambiguous journey to get to this point cause of the misunderstood of an issue and mindblock sometimes, after the help from an extra workshop and group mind-mapping, I am excited to think about how I could visualise my specific issue and develop my initial proposal. Below there are the five cues that help me articulate my issue statement:

1. Who does the problem affect?
Everyone can be afftected by mental illness in all ages group including people who have never experienced in mental health. Also mental illnesses sometimes run in families, suggesting that people who have a family member with a mental illness may be somewhat more likely to develop one themselves. Susceptibility is passed on in families through genes

2. What are the boundaries of the issue?
There is lack of awareness, support and recognition of mental health problem.

3.4. When/where does the problem occur?
Anywhere, anytime. We can all be “sad” or “blue” at times in our lives. We have all seen movies about the madman and his crime spree, with the underlying cause of mental illness. We sometimes even make jokes about people being crazy or nuts, even though we know that we shouldn’t. Many of our preconceptions are incorrect. A mental illness can be occured as a health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feelings, or behavior (or all three) and that causes the person distress.

5. Why is it important?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Giving the support, raising the awareness is the significant things to avoid the levels of suicide affected by mental illness.

For my draft design proposal, from five cues I mentioned above, my initial idea is to create interactive design/ campain in order to effectively approach this issue and to support someone with a mental health problem.

  • Generative design: organizing an event where people can share their story, make friend, entertain with many games that help people who suffer in mental illness avoiding to be sad or lonely. The volunteers can ask them how they’re feeling every once in a while to let them know they can open up. Find out about the small things can do to support mental health people and make a pledge to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination.
  • Service design: an interactive app on smartphone or display in public space to educate people and provide people a deep understanding of how creepy when they use derogatory language to describe people with mental health problems, emphasise the feeling and be raising awareness. Experiencing in the position and perspectives of people in mental illness.
  • Data visualisation: By using data visualisation to educate people, a poster with simple photograph can effectively communicate the message of what the mental health issue presents today, allowing people be awareness and accept the issue, be open up and become friendly with those people in mental health problem.