Week 10 started off with us recapping to Chris and Ewan how Guru’s day went for us. This was also a really handy opportunity to gather my thoughts about what happened as well. It can be hard to distil what the core of such long conversations actually are, or to even remember the labyrinth of thoughts and ideas that are generated. I managed to mitigate this to some extent with my visual-desk aid, but I didn’t write nearly enough down; it turns out staring at a desk while someone is talking to you is quite rude.
I’m quite proud of the presentation of my ideas; the visual language is strong, and I love how many different aspects of identity I managed to physically represent in my space. The lowest board displayed three different directions I was interested in taking my project. Wearable Identity, Explorable Identity, and Defined Identity. The first idea would be a critical design project exploring the way that we see ourselves and other people. This could take the form of a piece of clothing that displayed honestly how you were feeling or a wearable item that would display your interests and desires openly for the world to see. For me this was accelerating social contact, connecting people faster based on shared emotions and interests and skipping that awkward phase of conversation that I feel can be quite worthless.
The second concept was based around generating multiple objects that would help a person to explore and express their own personal identity. This was based off my research that said that the majority of people had never seriously considered who they were before in their lives which horrified and surprised me greatly. A secondary feature of these objects would be the ability to use them to easily describe yourself to another person, another thing that people generally suffer with socially. The third idea, which is what I have decided to take forward, consists of a kit which aims to help people feel more at peace about themselves. Due to the rise of social media, many negative mental effects have become widespread amongst the developed, web-enabled world. I want to tackle these issues and help people cope with this frankly unprecedented level of connectivity that humans have never experienced before. At the end of the day, I’ve always wanted to design products that directly help people, so this is really exciting to take forward.
Towards the end of the week I attended a body-image workshop held by another student in DJCAD for their dissertation project. The group of people that attended were all cisgender women, which is what I expected. It was really disappointing that no males showed up; I think body image discussions are almost exclusively focused on and cater to women, but I understand that getting men to attend these events can be extremely difficult. Being the only transgender woman put too much of a focus on me for me to really be comfortable in that environment. I couldn’t relate to many of the things they felt about body image, and I felt a little bit like a test subject for all their questions and ideas. Overall the experience was positive though, I was accepted and I got to hear many opinions first hand that I had not been exposed to before. It also allowed me to ask questions about how they feel social media and television affect their personal and social identities.
This week also marks the 4000 word dissertation deadline. For this portion I have been researching and writing specifically about the LGBT communities activities in Edinburgh alone from the 1950’s to the present day. I value locality as a human and I’d always wanted to take a deep look into a particular locations past to see what their version of experiences looks like. I feel that sometimes due to social media we can react to things that are happening very far away or gather the wrong perception of reality based on global data. Being LGBT changes based on where you are in Dundee, never mind which country you live in. I really wanted to get this message across and hopefully educate younger members of the community about what has happened even in the last 30 years and to provide a bit of perspective on current events in Edinburgh, Scotland and the world.