Right now I'm almost halfway through a six-month project called Storytelling for Development, which is piloting digital storytelling as an approach for increasing community engagement in urban redevelopment processes, and for creating a two-way exchange between communities and the architects, planners, and councils who do the redevelopment.
What's particularly exciting in terms of performance is the strand of work that uses digital storytelling - essentially the making of little 'mini-movies' out of still images and voiceover narration - in a community workshop, where people who have made digital stories screen their work for each other and use them as a springboard for discussion. This will take their stories out of the virtual mustiness of the digital archive and into relationship with each other. I can't wait to see if the participants respond solely in conversation or if they feel inspired to make new digital stories as well.
I'm also keen to see what happens in the final stage of the project, where employees from our partners at Farrells architect planners create digital stories in response to all the community stories that get created. I'm hoping that some of the holistic and humane point of view that comes through in these stories will give the architects a new angle on the redevelopment process, and might even inspire new design ideas. Of course, it might not. It might be a pain in the rear and a complete dead end. Even the community workshops might lead nowhere. But you never know until you try...
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
I had lunch overlooking the River Wey yesterday with the ever-fabulous Robyn Taylor, who does some amazing work on designing from within - bringing performance into the design space and even the designed artefact. Her work on the humanaquarium project has been a great focal point for Peformative Experience Design, and it features in John McCarthy and Peter Wright's new book, Taking [A]part: The Politics and Aesthetics of Participation in Experience-Centered Design. If you're remotely interested in this area and haven't run across Robyn's work before, you should definitely take a look.