Dialogical Sketching: A method of capturing feelings of transition
During my doctoral research, I developed the method of dialogical sketching. The method enabled an iterative dialogue not bound by certainty, but more by inference, interpretation and suggested meanings. Systems of sketching scaffolded conversations about personal issues and feelings that were difficult to articulate in a way that was imaginative, rather than descriptive.
I argued that the method firstly enriches the potential of probes, secondly encourages discourse in open and often uncertain ways and thirdly can enable sustained participatory engagement even through challenging circumstances.
During the Air[craft] workshop each participant was given (within the group of 6 probes) a sketch-based probe (Figure 3,4) comprising an A1 sheet of paper with the sketch composition that had been drawn for each woman in the centre of the page. The women were asked to draw things that they thought were not represented in the sketches and that felt missing to them. In essence, we asked the women to add other elements of who they were and how they felt in relation to two different countries.
The method comprised taking the initial sketches made for each woman and screen-printing it onto the centre of an A1 sheet of paper leaving space for participants to capture how they felt about themselves and how they saw the relationship between the places they consider home in a visual way. After participants had drawn their responses the whole A1 sheet was then scanned and reduced in scale and reprinted onto the centre of another A1 sheet of paper. In this way, a constant flow of sketches could be created like a back and forth between us in the form of a dialogue. The effect is one of condensing visual imagery in order to free space around it for further sketching and selection of certain elements from the sketches to be the focal point of this new layer of interpretation and meaning. Throughout the dialogical sketching method, all sketches were given in copies of two; one for them to keep as a gift and another as an invitation to make them feel comfortable to draw things they wanted to as a response to the sketch.