Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Connected communities week 5

Whilst flicking through Real World Research by Colin Robson today in search of a rationalle of what techniques I should use to interiew and examine the data and feedback I will receive when I collect in my cultural probe packs in a week. I came across some very interesting and relevant facts about what types of obsevational studies can be used and are best to use to gather data while avoiding some of the more problematic and uncomfortable ethical issues that could be thrown up by the likes of intergrating yourself into a group as a complete participant. This is where you are pretending to be someone your not to fit in and gain the information you want. You are building up trust and relationships with people in the hopes they will share with you the information you require. I feel that while this would be very efficient to gain the data it is not ethical in the slightest, what could be the ramifications of miss-using peoples trust and the psychological damage they might face when the find out that the relationship you had bilt up was under false pretences and fictional? This is not the only problem that arrises from this type of observational study, you might end up lousing your objectivity and 'go native'. Because you are living the life, you need to talk the talk and walk the walk, you might louse your own identity and viewpoint and be assylimilated into the group. Your data then would be tainted and possibly worthless. If you are no longer impartial then clear aims and objectives cannot be achieved without there being an underlying agenda for the work and findings, data could possibly be manipulated to suite the skuewed desired outcome.
This approach seems to be best avoided within our conneted community project... back to the drawing board.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Electronic Tattoo

If only patterns and prints could appear and dissapear like this...

Connected communities week 4

After being lost in the fog of what we were trying to achieve with this proposal, we have eventually managed to clarify a focus to our subject area, instead of trying to find important points to hold onto in our very vague aim.
We have decided to focus on a health care aspect with the focus's being on how online and offline communities are embodied and work around eating disorders. What are the perceived benefits and negative effects that online communities or support networks might offer. We felt that this was an area where more focus should be put upon as it is a very real and dangerous lifestyle more and more people are adopting to deal with whatever stresses or problems they encounter. Why do people enter into this form of self harm and what type of support networks in forms of on and offline communities exist to support in the recovery or in the furthering of the illness.
This is not an area I had ever thought I would be looking into for a design project. It seems a million miles away from my undergraduate days, but I am up for the challenge and hopefully comming at the problem with a designers perspective we should come up with some very diverse and interesting ideas and proposed outcomes.

Memory Rich Clothing

Textiles of the future

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Connected Communities week 3

Social dynamics of online communities and their effect on offline communities is the very snappy title for our group project. I think that we need to come up with one that rolls of the tongue a bit better while encapsulating what we propose to do within this project. It is interesting putting a project plan together when the possibility of you actually undertaking the project is slim. I think that it has the possibility to hinder the creative process and imaginings of what is actually possible. For me however I think it is rather freeing and opens up the possibilities for all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas. I feel that this sort of 'free thinking' helps facilitate different sorts of thinking and can substantiate alternative ideas. What do people actually want out of a community? Are they happy with the types of social interaction that they participate on a daily basis? What could be gained from further study in this field? I guess just what is the actual point in it all? In this world of virtual communication it is becoming ever more difficult to communicate with people on a face to face basis. I have found this the case, while I can put down in an email or text what I am thinking, feeling, views on certain subjects professional and personal the balance to be able to verbalise and communicate this is becoming ever more difficult. Why would you meet up with someone to discuss a certain topic when you can send an email, which would probably get your point across faster and in a more understandable way(in some case) not to mention save on your carbon footprint (you can communicate with people all over the world from the comfort of your own home) but what effect will this sort of 'distance' communication have on people psychologically. People are social creatures, loneliness and depression can become a major problem when we become isolated from physical contact or interactions. However online communities cold offer comfort to people separated by vast distances, when actual physical contact is not possible. There are issues however of children getting upset because they do not understand technologies such as skype who seem to offer the solution to bridge the gap giving people separated by distance an actual face to talk to. The emotions and mannerisms of your nearest and dearest can be seen so you do not in theory feel as disconnected. In some instances this becomes more distressing for users, especially the young as they cannot understand why they can see but not touch, like a cruel trick being played, it can make the separation more painful.
What then is the answer...?

Monday, 2 March 2009

Connected Communities week 2

It is clear to me after today's lecture that I have no idea what things cost... I now see that a £600,000 grant doesn't stretch very far. I see this as a vast amount of money but by the time you factor in wages, overheads and contingency costs there seems to be little left for anything else. I now have a clearer understanding of why research grants are so hard to obtain and there are so many hoops to jump through, research costs a lot of money and it has to be proven that it will be spent in the right places. Underestimating costs are a huge hazard as shows you have no real concept of what you are going to need to achieve your goals.
It has opened my eyes up to how much things actually cost and the importance of choosing the right conferences to attend and speak at... as it could cost you up to £2,000 for travel, accommodation etc things have to be a good fit or you are simply buying a scratch card with little hope of a decent result.

Connected Communities

How can we build connected communities with all the fragmentation of society today? I am hoping through this team project entitled connected communities to find some sort of solution or at least to better understand why society today is so disconnected.
At my first Transition Town Tayport meeting last night,(no I have not moved to Tayport. I ventured across the water to a meeting as I am entering into a collaboration with the guys over there, to help design some reusable recyclable bags and t-shirts, to promote their cause), and I learned what they are trying to do is to reconnect their community. Their motivations are at a slight juxta position to this brief but the methods are the same. They intend on creating close knit communities which will in turn help them to live more sustainably. Not only do they intend on sharing land to grow food and are hoping to arrange annual litter picking days they have been interviewing older members of the community who have seen it fall apart in the hopes that they can understand what went wrong and gain an insight on how to 'rebuild'.
I think a lot of value can be gained by using participatory exercises such as the litter picking to facilitate community wide conversation, that in turn would hopefully lead to bonding, and a build up of trust. This would mean not only would you feel safer in your environment, have someone to chat to on the bus but your day could also be brightened by a smile or a hello, making you feel less alone in the digital world we inhabit today, where everyone communicates buy text and email and constantly have earphones in there ears listening to their newest download and ignoring the world round them as it crumbles.
I'm not sure what the Creative Communities project will unearth but I am looking forward to whatever comes next.