In “The City” group project, I have been allocated to group 6, which has 5 members including me. Everyone is from a different subject, Kirsten Mark and Tom Campbell study product design, Amy Duffield – textile and Sophie Jemma – maker.
In the first meeting, we showed each other our pecha kucha presentation. Amy is interested in any beautiful or artistic objects, such as wood caving textiles, street art, flowers with beautiful colours. Sophie is interested in public art or the hidden art of the city. I looked into small details of the city in the part and present day, for example objects have been changed by nature or have a trace of humanity. Kirsten is concerned with poverty and homeless people, especially in their young age. I would say Amy, Sophie and I have more in common.
Although we have differences, we decided to focus our project on homelessness. This is because we all agreed that it is something we need to be concerned with. This week we all concentrated on doing research, which relates to homeless people in different cultures. Other than weekly meeting, a Facebook page has set up for sharing ideas and information.
(mind map made in week 1)
My research is concentrated on Asia’s homelessness such as in Hong Kong’s and China’s. The other group members are working homelessness in the UK or internationally. Homelessness in Asia is mostly because of economic reasons. The cost of living in Hong Kong is very high. Many people earn a minimum wage of $30 per hour which is equivalent to £2.32. This is in contrast to the UK, where the issue is mostly related to their personal problems, such as broken families, drugs or alcohol. There are many reasons why people become homeless. Our aim is not only to awaken the general public but also to bring attention to the problem.
(source from Hong Kong Social Welfare Department)
In order to have a deeper insight of what people think about the homelessness, a questionnaire has been made by Kirsten. This week we will work on questionnaire research. In addition, we will try to arrange out door research and also start thinking about what message / element should be put into our work.
Other than meeting, one of our activities is visiting group members’ workshops. This activity enables us to understand materials’ use in different subjects and would help to get ideas of what materials can be used in our project. It was a fun day!
I found these art works which made by two Hong Kong artists, Kwong Chi Kit and Benny Lam. They created these miniatures ‘cage people’ for an anti-poverty campaign. Although it is not much related to homelessness, the idea is impressive. The artists create miniature figures then put into a mouse trap to depict those who forced to live in such a poor environment due to the high living cost in Hong Kong. The installations were then placed around the city’s most affluent streets. People were shocked to learn that this is a reality for many residents in Hong Kong and it is also to emphasize the contrast of the two worlds between rich and poor.
the real life in the cage
This week we continue to search for ideas for our project. I found a web-site called Street Art Utopia ( http://www.streetartutopia.com/?p=9980), it gathers art work from street artists all around the world. The Street Art Utopia teamed up with a charity called Weingart Centre ( http://weingart.org/about-us/ ) to ask for donation for the homeless in Los Angeles. A chalk artist, John Steves, used the side-walk as his canvas and drew simple realistic scenes around homeless volunteers individually lying or sitting on the street. I think this idea can be used in our outdoor research.
After our research, we have many different decisions to make. Kirsten introduced two thinking tools to us, the “diamond ranking” and “convergent and divergent”. The diamond ranking method is for helping to rank the importance of different opinions or ideas and analysing the most and least important options. Convergent and divergent is a thought process or method used to generate ideas in which ideas and information are organized and structured, leading to the best possible answer.
After several meetings we decided to use the “chalk” idea in our outdoor research. To do this, we will set up a blank canvas (using cardboard) then make a homeless people image put in front of the canvas. A logo also will be made to get people attention. We will ask the passer-by to use either drawing or writing to express their thoughts to the homeless people. It is because our aim is to give awareness to the public to give concern with homelessness. We believe that this can be directly triggered the public think about the issue.
This week activities – ceramics workshop. After the “hard work” on throwing, it is time to have a final touch to our master pieces.
Preparing props for the research. In this part Sophie is showing her good technique, which I was amazed at. Amy and I taking care of something fun and simple and Kirsten is working hard on the logo design. The team spirit was high. As the work is combined with our effort and will have projected many truthful thoughts from people, which are very meaningful. We decided that the result of this research will be our final outcome.
The research was conducted on a Sunday afternoon. We set our canvas and props in the middle of Queen Street. The weather was warm and sunny. Many people were enjoying family days out, walking relaxingly around the town, which was good for the research. I felt slightly awkward at the beginning as I have never experienced stopping and starting a conversation with a stranger before, but it was soon were over come and I got on well. I came across many rejections but also many friendly participants including families. Personally, I am glad to see parents participate in instructive activities with their children in which they become a good example to the next generation. The experience of the outdoor research was memorable and the result is fruitful to both our project and to the personally.
Through this Field group project, I have been given a good opportunity for re-developing individual cognition and learning new things, thus to understand and re-value individual weaknesses and strengths.
After years of work experience I am confident that I can establish a good working relationship with people. Responsible as well as a diligent working attitude are my strengths. As a mature student, returning to a study environment with younger classmates is a big challenge. Perhaps my older age keeps me from asking questions and expressing myself. Also, I left school many years ago. I cannot deny that there are certain gaps in my own knowledge. Fortunately, I met a group of passionate young professional designers. In this Field project we have developed a very close and good working relationship. I have learnt a lot from them.
Through this project I have learnt two techniques called “diamond ranking” and “convergent and divergent”. Both these thinking tools were introduced by Kirsten. They help to organize and structured ideas effectively. In addition, I start enjoy doing research as it helps explaining things in a practical way backing up ideas and through the research the knowledge and vision of an individual are widened as well. It is conducive to creative and contextual awareness and building confidence.
I also discovered that I lack social skills with people. It can significantly influence the development of my own practice in the future. I think it is the trickiest part to be overcome as my introverted character keeps me quiet, but I will take time to interact with people in the class and participate in activities.
Moreover, my time management skill also needs to improve because effectively manage the time is great importance to study. This project are involved the individual and the group, as the time was a little bit tight I felt like juggling between my own projects and the group’s meetings and research. Due to my knowledge gaps spend time on reading is my major plan in the future, visiting galleries and exhibitions to learn from other artists in the present day or in the past are also necessary.