What happens when different communities look into each other’s curious eyes?
DESIGNERS / SEBASTIAN DE CABO / MARTINA ERIKSSON / MINH HUY
5 WEEKS / GROUP PROJECT / INTERACTION DESIGN MASTERS
This project about how we behave in designing with/for/across different communities. As designers, we are often positioned in a mediating role between different communities and stakeholders. A greater awareness of our position and its effects in design projects is very important to develop an ethical perspective that can facilitate more democratic and anti-oppressive ways of doing design.
Participatory design can strengthen and solidify boundaries that are often not so clear-cut. Boundaries can be traversed by means of coloniality or collaboration. Grosfoguel (2006) defines coloniality as a modern form of colonialism, which happens through the homogenization of global population by “global desires” that are derived from, but also affect, Euro-American Eurocentric worldviews. On the other hand, collaboration across different communities is based on embracing and learning from diversity. In this case, boundaries become a meeting point for mutually beneficial learning, change and exchange.
The focus of this course is on Sami communities and the project is a partnership with the Swedish Sami National Organization and the Sami Handcraft Organization. Sami communities sustain a historical struggle as a Scandinavian indigenous community.
We travelled to Ammarnäs for 4 days and met many different people that lived in the area, instead of following the classic interview models (only asking and not giving), we were both interacting as equals, sharing stories and learning from each other. Just being curious about another way of life. We also tried to go beyond that and participate in their daily activities, as people don't always do what they say they do.
We organised a workshop to share the stories we got from the trips with the stakeholders, and to see what themes linked them together, as well as to corroborate the veracity of the stories and make sure we weren't colonising these stories we had heard through our points of view.
Self-reflection was the most important lesson we got after the trip to Ammarnäs, asking do you even know yourself? Why you do the things you do? - Know your history
From there we moved into the themes of oppression, something the Sami had to fight for generations and are still fighting today in its modern versions - we wanted to ideate on ways to transfer this feeling of oppression to the people attending the exhibition.
We played with the idea of receiving a call from a stranger, sounding very official, that orders you something like "We've decided you have to move your home, or accept the consequences" - similar to what had been inside the Sami community generations ago.
Visiting the exhibition space during the concept development phase to plan how it would all fit and look
Visiting the space at the museum before starting the concept development.
Creating and programming the electronics to play different voice messages depending on where in the switchboard you plug the audio aux.
Final minute touches adding the different sound files recorded the days before with people from all around UID to get a variety of voices and backgrounds