What advice would you give to a student looking to apply for the Meaning Centred Design Awards?
I really like the brief – it gives structure, but there are so many opportunities to make it your own. When starting a project from a meaning perspective, I think it’s important to start with the personal. I might be stealing this from Brené Brown, but “lean into discomfort”. Think about your own experiences of lockdown – was there anything that really upset you? Or anything that made you reflect on pre-lockdown life and identify things that could have been better? Did you realise you relied on something more than you thought you would?
Then, once you have the hunch or ‘the thing’, work out the ‘who’. Everyone lived through lockdown, so narrow down your user group. Take your hunch, jump on the internet to research, but it’s much better to get out and speak to real people to see how other people dealt with the same thing. It might take you off somewhere unexpected, but it’s important to keep people and their lived experiences at the heart of it.
Where would you start if you were working on this brief? (Sorry to put you on the spot!)
I did have a think about this in case you asked… I wrote down three things; relationships, practicalities and digital vs. physical. I would start with practicalities and begin by mapping out my days in lockdown. If I was doing this project, I think I would gravitate towards exercise, as I know I use that to regulate my mental health. It was also a nice way to communicate with other people in lockdown – like swift little greetings exchanged with other runners in passing.
I’d also be interested to look at the most commonly broken lockdown rules, which might lead to a particular social group, or a key factor that spans the generations. Looking for what’s illegal, or not allowed, or where people are happy to bend the rules can give you lots more insight into what is missing and what people are really feeling. It’s also a good topic of conversation for interviews with people – if they’re comfortable enough to talk about it honestly!