During the Air[craft] workshop I invited three participants to explore a range of design probes as stimuli to stir reflections and stimulate imaginative thinking. The probes were designed with a certain level of unfinished element that creates room for reflection on sense of self. A variety of materials and forms has been explored to give participants options to freely choose the ones that speak to them most.
A certain level of unfinished element leaves space for participants to add their reflections.
The ambiguity in the form of the probes supports imaginative thinking.
The handcrafted nature of design probes was an asset that participants valued, fostering a relationship of trust.
The design probes introduced during the Air[craft] Workshop
Where is your sense of self grounded during the transition from one place to another? What is your relationship with a familiar situation that is changing? How do the dynamics shift from one place to the other? What brings you comfort?
The research is a part of a broader study on digital jewellery and sense of self. 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 found people that share similar experiences with me in order 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 recruited 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.
I identified that micro-transitions represent a particular context that people are going through, where digital jewellery can have its place and be rich and meaningful to them, as it combines the long history of jewellery to accompany life-transitions and the potential of digital technologies to open new ways of connecting the self with real-time data.
The liminal spaces of planes and airports became the setting the Air[craft] Workshop to gain insights into the lived experience of the participants and investigate if and how digital jewellery can play a role in supporting their sense of self.
The workshop was set up at the Aviation Academy in Newcastle, near the Newcastle airport on a stationary aeroplane. The workshop took the form of a theatre performance where I acted as a flight assistant and invited participants to explore a range of open-ended crafted probes as stimuli to stir reflections and stimulate imaginative thinking. The aim of the workshop was to explore if others experience similar situations and identify opportunities for digital jewellery to support a sense of self in the context.
Announcements during the flight helped participants to explore the probes and their meaning and reflect on notions of home, relationships with their body and others. The probes, designed for each participant, introduce a range of materials. Read more for about the Design Probes here.