Tag Archives: facilitation

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 Empty Shops – a collaborative process

The last few weeks have been abundant with new connections and inspiration born out of a collaborative process. I went along  to the weekly meet ups with ARK, a social design group based in Cardiff. I had followed their activities in the digital realm for a while and wanted to see what the real environment was like.

I was pleasantly surprised – I had my initial doubts but they were washed away by a shared openhearted approach which spun conversations along. It didn’t take long for me to be engrossed in discussions on social implications design and sharing experiences.

I ended up becoming involved in their Empty Shops project that took place at Castle Arcade last weekend involving three days of multiple ways of participation, mapping and entertainment.

My particular interest was in facilitating and mapping for Friday’s workshop, Imagining Cardiff. Participants from the council and local community and voluntary groups were invited to come along to codesign a vision for a Cardiff in 2020.

It was such fun – we had icebreaker exercises and then brainstorming ideas for projects which would enable that future vision to come true. I personally found the results exhilarating – so many positive and engaging ideas that could be made into reality (some of them are being done elsewhere in the country or in the wider world).

Community workshop (photo by Simon O'Rafferty)

We also hosted a business workshop for the business owners in the arcades. For this we first showed vox pops, then a presentation on social design and then the participants came over to my corner to do some collaborative ideation on how things could be made better. The thing is, there’s no use hosting occasions for negative remarks – a positive outlook and nudging results in positive and engaging ideas. I think we did well and started a process, a spark for the people whose livelihoods depend on the arcades. And, this is not a one off thing either – as we ended the session, we asked the shopkeepers to spread the word about these ideas, and we pledged to meet in a month’s time to see how we can help them develop their ideas into action.

Prior to the workshops I had ideas and theories and fluffy (but positive) feelings of how these workshops would work and what kind of beneficial results we could see afterwards. The experience proved my hunches were right: a genuine, flexible setting for a collaborative workshop in designers facilitate, not determine the process and outcome, is a tool for positive engagement and creating connections both between people and between ideas and concepts. We will continue to develop these processes and the continuation from here onward but the initial feel is there: I think we really started something.


ARK in the digital realm:

ARK blog: http://thinkark.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @thinkark
Empty Shops Twitter feed: @ARKEmptyShops

Or come and meet the people in person – ARK come together every Wednesday at 7pm at the Cardiff Arts Institute. Come and say hello!