Revised Project Abstract

Well it’s getting towards the pointy end, and here at uni we’re gearing up to get the exhibition pieces up and organised. Here’s my revised project abstract, covers what this journey is going to resolve into. Be keen to hear your thoughts on it.

Everyday Studio has evolved in response to community interviews conducted in the pre major phase of the project. The interviews looked at perceptions of violence amongst the community in the regional city of Albury, NSW.

Everyday Studio is a service proposed which looks to build creative confidence and problem solving skills. Everyday Studio takes the design studio experience out into the real world. Everyday people involved in social issues, become studio participants to create solutions for their own problems.

Creative confidence is that ability to put together disparate dots. Not being too worried about failure. Instead taking measured (or a complete stab in the dark) risks. Slowly learning, failing, building, going forward, getting side tracked. But being able to reflect and learn from the process. I’m interested in getting people to experience that feeling which melds surprise, excitement, satisfaction and independence. The feeling you get from creating something yourself.

The scale and scope of the effects of Everyday Studio will be down to the individual. But holistically the aim is to encourage a more stimulated, connected community.

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Creative confidence and creative outlets

Time to clear up a bit of this speak which makes sense in my head, but may not have translated as clearly once it came out my mouth.

Young People

Looking at the context and broad topic I’ve situated Project Albury in to begin with, young people (15-30yrs old) came out as the natural target demographic. From the beginning topic of street violence, both the perpetrators and victims on the whole where viewed (by the media coverage and some of the interviewees) to be young people. However the solutions put forward focusing around greater restrictions seemed to not address the root causes. So to address this I’ve focused in on the ability to express yourself. With the aim to bring about more lasting changes of culture. By arming young people with this creative confidence, the hope is it allows them the ability to apply it to all areas of life. To follow their own passions, to support others, to reach out into the community and draw them in. The scale and scope of the effects will be down to the individual, but holistically will lead to a more stimulated, connected community.

Creative outlets

for the purposes of Project Albury, creative outlets are defined as any means of expressing your creative character. So in saying this, creative outlets are not solely restricted to just the physical realms of galleries, theatres, stages, exhibition walls etc.

While creative outlets include these display areas, I want to put a greater focus on the more active, human outlets. The less refined, defined and critiqued the better. I’m interested in people who don’t define themselves outwardly as artists or creative types. I’m interested in getting people to experience that feeling that melds surprise, excitement, satisfaction and independence. That feeling you get from creating something yourself. When you get confronted by a problem and can’t instantly see a path through. But with a bit of time, reflection, talk, trial and error, you find a way.

A creative outlet could be as simple as creating a new dish, connecting two friends seeking similar things, through to organising an event. So the outcome of Project Albury is not to get more centres, museums, venues, facilities built (which could be interpreted as physical ‘creative outlets’), but more to spread this creative confidence throughout the community and then see where the community take it.

Creative confidence

Creative confidence can be viewed as a way of approaching life. In a manner it is a stressful and confusing way to learn and live, and takes time to develop. There are lots of opportunities to fail along the way, and in my mind no real final outcome. Well I suppose one day you die, maybe that’s it. Creative confidence draws influence from all areas of life, the environment you grow in, your family, your education (and the forms you get exposed or restricted from) friends, acquaintances, lovers, enemies, travels, food, shelter, technology…. And on and on. Basically everything. So in a way it’s part of the everyday. To get through and succeed in life is tricky business. You need to work out who you are, who everyone else is, how things work, what the systems are around you, how you can slot in and find your niche somewhere, or seek out others elsewhere that fit better with your own growing, changing ideas and beliefs. It can be tiring work. Lucky we’ve got the whole of life to work it out.

Where creative confidence comes into this I think is as a way to manage, cope and carve a path through this world we live in. To be able to get a grasp of the systems (means and methods) that support our way of life. But realise that they’re not the be all and end all. That one day they were made up from nothing and have been evolved over time to where you are experiencing them right now. So this then means that they’re open to tweaking, even to replacement. (TANGENT-Maybe the tweaking is beyond your capabilities at the time, but being aware that this possibility is always there can be important to be mindful of.)

It’s that ability to put together disparate dots. Not being too worried about failure, and instead taking measured (or a complete stab in the dark) risks, slowly learning, failing, building, learning, going forward, getting side tracked, but being able to reflect on it and take it all as an experience.

(TANGENT- I think once you start to get a taste for this, it becomes addictive, but it’s one of the few, maybe only addictions that is positive for the community around it.)

Having this knowledge that there could be a way to change your current situation if you look, experience, seek, talk and connect enough, is something that can be quite reassuring. Especially if your current situation tells you something quite the opposite. This can be a  coping method if you can’t muster the change quite yet. Not a painkiller as such, maybe more a cup of tea.

Bike Polo Workshop photos

A few photos from yesterday, more to come… Big thanks to Border Community Cycleworks for lending us their gear. Also thanks to Wayne Richie’s Skiers Edge, Star FM and Iplex Pipelines for their support.

How is this Industrial Design? What is Social Innovation? That sounds like Social Work?

Just to step out the Project Albury world for a minute and reflect a bit on where this project is coming from.

As I’ve gone through the year and started on this project, I’ve had a lot of people ask what I’m doing. Depending where I was at with the project, I responded with various convoluted answers that would inevitably result in a bit of a confused look.

‘So how does that relate to Industrial Design?’

Well the short answer in buzzwords would be, well it ties into Service Design, and Social Design. Part Social Innovation. Check out the video below from SIX (Social Innovation Exchange) via TACSI (The Australian Centre for Social Innovation)

These are all emerging areas of design, moving away from the traditional Product Design that Industrial Design began as. Along the way they’ve borrowed parts from other disciplines, and moved in on their traditional ‘territories’. This is how I’ve ended up doing a major project for my final year of Industrial Design, focused around encouraging creative outlets for young people in regional areas.

I’m not a youth worker, I don’t have a social work background, or public policy. But I do have a background in studying design and problem solving, building furniture and other pieces, running events and, traveling around the world/ country talking to people. I’m drawing on Action research methodology mixed in with a bit of Service Design to try and develop a solution or path to towards one.

Think of it as approaching social issues from a design perspective. Let’s see where we can take it….

Hidden Creative Festival- Just an idea atm, but what you think?

IDEA: An annual festival which showcases the emerging and existing creative talents from within Albury and surrounds. Use it as a platform to publicise the creative talents that originate from Albury. It could held during the university holidays so those returning from studies to visit family and friends could take part.

The festival would have two main components. Performance and Practice share. The creatives would exhibit their work (gig, performance, exhibition, show etc.) and then run a workshop relating to part of their practice for anyone interested. This would allow young people to firstly see the paths that others from the area are heading along (musician, playwright, artist etc.) and then have the opportunity to connect with them, and find out more through the workshops.