GDE750 - Week 2

GDE750 – Week 2 Process&Development

Ok… This is where I need to nail down my research in my two areas of interest. I’ve managed to whittle aweay the idea of the children’s book – There’s really not enough to work on there and I can’t spend the next two weeks trying to pull something out of nothing, especially if my heart isn’t in it. I appreciate I’m making more work for myself, researching two areas but I can really only make up my mind by doing this!


Socio-Political Design

So – the future of socio-political design – isn’t this a rich topic?! I love that socio-political design stems predominantely from the ability to creative distruptive visual communications – we’re able to engage with social or political issues to challenge, resist and disrupt potentially hegemonic ideologies – in that, I mean we, as designers, have the chance to make people stop and question what we’re being told on a daily basis. By the government, media, businesses. Designers have this fantastic power to really make people question the daily push of opinions, supposed facts and data that’s shoved down our throats everytime we look at our phones or turn on the tv or go outside.

We’re in a world that’s surrounded by constant, ever changing media messages… How we should look, how we should behave, our lives, our jobs, our entire lives are laid out for us and expected to look or play out in a certain way. Activism is great, it’s a powerful tool to make a change in the world. It can change governmental schemes, can alter the way a political message is portrayed.

However, Activism historically was purely an academic/political/creative movement, for those particular social circles – from suffrage and feminism, to civil rights, the power and driving forces behind these movements tended to only stem from those within the specific circles.

We’re now seeing, with the rise of social media, a new form of activism – a form of activism where adding a graphic to your profile picture displays your support of a movement, uploading a black sqaure means you support Black Lives Matter, popping a rainbow hashtag on your Instagram shows your support for Pride Month. This si all great and this shows the vast amount fo support these movements have, but it’s also considerably more of a lazy activism than getting out there and physically showing your support, anyone can now be part of a movement or become involved from the comfort of their own computer chairs.

Does this now mean social/political activism via social media has led to a new form of movement? A more homogenised version of activism? Yes, it stimulates discussions and opens up conversations that otherwise wouldn’t have happened, yes it encourages education and change within these movements. But memes, hashtags and the phenomena of new technology also has the potential to water down powerful statements or political/social design that could also tread into ethical / morally sensitive areas.

How do we protect the truths within social/political activism if there is so much access to it on the internet – rather than have leaders stand on podiums and speak to the masses, it’s now very much OK for activism to be predominantely internet led, leading to falsities and negative messages, watering down the power of our movements.

This area is huge, and even when writing all this, i’m realising I’ve not been able to research enough in the space of a week to even get to grips with what I’m trying to achieve.

What am I trying to get out of this? Is this just a little personal issue I have with social media and lazy activists? Is this just something I should leave alone for the time being and allow my thoughts to settle? I’ve even managed to confuse myself through getting down my thoughts and research here, and I don’t think I’ve got anywhere with it…


Climate Change and Accountability.

This topic, for me, is a really personal and powerful one. My initial ideas here were to look at setting up a greenhouse or those bubbles that restaurants have been using so people can eat in a socially distanced and safe way. By filling these bubbles with plants that we might be able to grow in 25/50/75 years time, along with bird sounds and insect sounds, people can see the changes that will occur over the next century and experience the world we are leaving for our future generations.

By experiencing the perhaps lack of bird song or insect buzzing, the powerful impact of our actions can be fully heard. For example, SPACE10 created realistic visualisations of the world we could imagine to see in 20 years time, purely rendered graphics but still a powerful message.

We all hear the facts and the figures and we all see how the world is changing and developing and more of us are trying our hardest to really understand the impact of our decisions, however we need to start making it a reality for full understanding and accountability of our actions. We need to normalise the facts and the data and make it easier for the public, business owners and political figures to realise how our planet will end up.

By creating something like this in York, locals can experience the changing temperatures and changing environment within a recognisable setting. I don’t want it to be purely negativity however, YES people need to understand the impact of their decisions and yes people need to realise the planet is warming up at a concerning pace, but there is still some positivity. Avocados can be grown outside, tropical plants wll start to emerge and will start to flourish in this new environment. Granted this message could be confusing, but combining this with the lack of every day sounds such as native birdsong, bees and other insects, showing people that “this is what we will lose but this is also what will happen” shows a realistic and powerful experience.

York Design Week this year is looking into what a pickle our world is – they’re encouraging people to stop and consider future possibilities and ways out of this mess that has been created over the past year. I could definitely combine this project with York Design Week – I was a part of it last year and gained some amazing contacts. Many of whom I’m meeting at the end of this month for our first “in person” catch up!

I alos have many contacts within ethical businesses and business owners who show that in doing the right thing, they can make a difference.

My only issue with this is that I have NO IDEA where it’ll end up. Should I be concerned about this? With no final outcome immediately in mind should I follow this project through? I’m not sure where to start or how to progress with this so have scheduled a meeting with Susanna at the beginning of Week 3.


I want to start working on my project outline and plan and can’t really do this until I fully understand what i want to achieve from either project.

Here you can see some of the research pages I’ve been looking at:

York Design Week

SPACE10 Project

Social Media and Graphic Design

Social Impact of Graphic Design

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