The research context
My doctoral research explores the role of digital jewellery to support a sense of self during micro-transitions in the context of living in/between two countries. My research offers a focus on atypical personal interactions in order to address a range of questions and potentially open up our expectations and experiences of the digital.
Drawing from my experiences of travelling back to Greece for short breaks and reflecting on my sense of self in two different places (UK and Greece), I noticed changes in each different place and significantly the dynamics of these adjustments occurring during the journey itself. The research was framed to understand and investigate both if/how this context is experienced by others and if/where there are opportunities for digital jewellery to support fluctuations and changes to sense of self during such journeys. To add depth to my explorations of digital jewellery and my experience of being between two countries, I worked closely with a small group of participants that share similar experiences with me to triangulate and validate the context of the research.
The participants were three female interaction design researchers born in different places in the world, but who currently lived and worked in the UK and periodically (approx. 2 – 3 times per year) travelled back to their home of origin for short breaks. I worked with these women firstly because they had the experience of living in two different places and travelling between them and secondly to enable a particular level of discourse around the potentials of digital technology in relation to the resulting digital jewellery developed within the study (Microcosmos, Me&My mother, Togetherness, Travelling with the Sea, My Personal North).
In the research, I adopted a research through design approach rooted in craft practices and participatory design. I conducted self-reflective practices to explore from my personal experiences what it means to experience this transition and I organised co-design workshops in innovative settings, such as the Aircraft workshop and used design probes as a stimulus for conversations around a sense of self and personal significance. I used magazines as a documentation tool throughout the study and I shared my research in conferences and research publications.