False memories – visual notetaking

I attended a talk at the Chapter Arts Centre last night to listen an artist (Alistair of The WITH Collective) and a psychologist (Dr Christopher French of Goldsmiths) discuss the definition and formation of false memories. See below for visual notes from the talk – you can click the images to view them bigger on my Flickr page.

Graphic recording – designing social enterprises

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to take part in a workshop organised by the Eco Design Centre and Llamau, a charity working with young homeless people in Wales. For some time now Llamau have been helping young people set up social enterprises and the idea of the workshop was to explore what design can do to help this process and give more confidence and focus for the young people to start making things happen.

My role was to harvest emerging ideas and highlight underlying meaning via graphic recording, a process that took place alongside the workshop activities. It never stops amazing me how effectively visualisation can clarify information in context and inspire deeper thought processes for people when they can see the big picture unravel. I also enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with Nathan Hallett, an illustrator with plenty of insight and humour in his expression.

It was fantastic to be involved in a workshop with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration  between designers, facilitators, consultants, researchers, youth workers, and of course the young people themselves. I was impressed and inspired by the energy in the workshop and hope these social enterprises have some more ideas and tools to help them on their way.

For more photos from the day, visit the Eco Design Centre Flickr page

Language, translation… communication?

I came across this lovely animated video about language and translation for a new book called “Is That a Fish in Your Ear?” by David Bello. I love pieces like this which combine language and typography into a potent message.

As a Finnish person living in Wales, I have experienced an interesting environment of languages over the last eight years: English used and heard on a daily basis, Welsh seen and heard often, and other languages such as Arabic, Urdu and Chinese heard in student areas and areas with bigger ethnic populations. And of course my native tongue Finnish used by me on erratic intervals either in speech or inside my head.

I love the part in the video where they show the “lack” of right and left for the Aborigine people of Australia. It made me think of different concepts or hard to translate words between Finnish and English – here is a classic example:

“strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity”
“defined by a long-term element in it; it is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain an action against the odds”

Source: Wikipedia

And what about when there are so many variations of one word?

karhu / otso / nalle / mesikämmen…

… plus a few hundred more words for a ‘bear’.  This is a good example of language expressing the priorities and deep significance in a culture: bear is the national animal of Finland and can be traced back many placenames, old myths and bear worshipping.

After many years abroad I experience interesting conflicts and gaps in Finnish and English. Mainly it’s Finnish that is problematic as I have started to forget vocabulary and caught myself struggling to find the word even if it’s just an internal conversation. The other occurrence is when I simply cannot find a suitable translation for a Finnish word in a conversation. So it seems that recalling Finnish words is unreliable and unexpected at most times, although I do not see this purely as a bad thing: it really makes me think about the meaning and subtle nuances of words and communication on a daily basis.

Come to your senses – experience mapping & data

Last Saturday (7th May) me and Emily of Mindful Maps co-facilitated an experiential map of Brixton Village market as part of a Treasure Hunt for the Transeuropa festival.

Our aim was to engage people to first of all reflect on their experiences of the market and then record them in writing or drawing. As guidance we provided a framework of words and phrases that people could draw on:

Some of the above became categories we colour coded the experiences with – each experience tag had one or more colours representing the experience on the map.

This post compiles the data collected with some feedback and evaluation – if you wish to read more and see more photos, please check out blog post by Mindful Maps.

Looking at the data
As this project is work in progress, we wanted to set up a simple framework for both us and the people we wanted to engage with. This would provide a clearer route for people to engage with and for us to evaluate and develop this approach further.
So what did people feel about Brixton Village?

Out of 41 recorded entries, 26 people mentioned an emotion they experienced.

What kind of sensory experiences did they have?

Out of 41 recorded entries, 15 people mentioned a sensory experience.

What about the combinations?

Interestingly, there were a variety of combinations.

What other themes emerged?

Food was mentioned the most, and a variety of other perhaps more conceptual themes came up at an equal level.

We will be looking at feedback and evaluation of the project in the near future – the mapping process could be used flexibly to explore a multitude of topics in different scenarios.

ARK Cycling Consultation shop window

ARK Cycling Shop window

I spent a few hours today drawing window graphics for the ARK Cycling Consultation shop on Queen Street, Cardiff. Cardiff Council asked ARK to help with the public consultation process for improving the Cardiff Cycle Network.

The shop features and interactive survey (which you can also fill online here – but it’s much more fun in the shop!) and events like Dr Bike maintenance workshop and bike accessories making workshops.

Interested in having a say about the future of cycling in Cardiff? Visit the shop at 105-107 Queen Street (the old Lobster Bob shop opposite Capitol Centre) this Thursday 21 October or Saturday 23 October. I’ll be there all day Saturday to take people through the questions and have fun whilst doing so 🙂

More info: http://www.ark-lab.co.uk/survey

London Design and Anti Design Festivals 2010…

LDF at V&A

Last Friday I had a chance to visit London Design Festival and after last year’s good timing and awesome events my expectations were rather high. And truthfully, this time was different: horrible weather, bad ankle resulting in limping, and not many great inspirational moments.

I don’t wish to go on about everything I saw, but to pick out some of the memorable bits (you can also check more photos on my Flickr page):

A dark room with cabinets displaying objects, all pure white. Next to the cabinets, stories related to the objects building a saga of a fictional mixed background family. (I Cling to Virtue at V&A)

Miniature design doll house, magical, it can hold your gaze for hours.

The printed guide had no maps! You can stuff pages with advertising but not bother with a map. Pffft.

Stumbling through a door way into Anti Design Festival headquarters, and managing to get a free ticket to the afternoon talk Renewal & Strategy to Destroy and Rebuild featuring designer celebrities and their pals and some interesting artists.

“There’s  no such thing as grown ups, we’re just winging it because we have to.”
– Gerald Laing

Adrian Shaugnessy getting excited about magical Wales and praising young designers’ will to do social design projects instead of clamoring to be the next Neville Brody…

Shaugnessy’s realistic insights – we all need to make a living but it’s not an excuse to do something different either.

Peter Kennard’s vivid reminders of the simple power of image. His Cafe of Equivalents is a truly inspiring project: it made people rethink the value of money and the value of their earnings, and provided a space for discussion. A project worth looking up.

“The middle is not a great place to be” – Stuart Semple on the danger of the homogeneous middle

Barnbrook’s shifty nature not being allowed to talk about his work – felt like he was talking to students – again.

Brody being ripped into with criticism about “all talk no action plan” by a gentleman, watching Brody slither around responses.

Anti Design Festival space showing work by maestros and students alike, side by side on the walls without captions – interesting.

Hel Yes! Design and food from Helsinki

Hel Yes! warehouse converted into a hangout/ café/ restaurant/ discussion space, Finnish brunch to warm my soul, free coffee, use of wood branches to create tables connecting us back into nature.

Ok Do! talk Borderlands highlighting increased collaboration with co-creators and resource providers. “Friendship as an important catalyst for collaboration” – still resonates strongly within me, like a warm fuzzy feeling that tells me there is truth in those words.

Spotting parallels and common themes that have been popping up in recent workshops and events I have attended:

  • the need to embrace and explore collaboration and co-creation
  • engaging with society and the citizens living in it – inclusive design
  • the title “designer” losing its gravity and significance: we fall under different roles more and more
  • embracing technology to create future possibilities for participation, freedom of speech, debate, co-creation and strengthening networks for knowledge sharing

That’s it folks, tried to keep this short and hopefully shared some interesting observations. Please do share comments and thoughts.

This way to the Portal

Not far to the portal… adventures await.