Assignment 5: Proposal

Assignments, Change By Design

Throughout this semester, I have been working in a team with Jennifer Heilbronn, Colin Adams, Jana Šmuhařová, Eilidh Alexander and Susan Macloed. We have been working on a RSA brief which was to connect the older and younger generations in an environment, event etc. I think that we successfully came up with a great idea that could benefit the older and younger generation and connect them much more!

‘The Social Centre’ is a project that works at curbing the loneliness and isolation of the older generation by connecting them to the younger generation. The connection is made forth mostly through shared interest or needs.

We initially brainstormed what we thought were the stereotypical perceptions of both generations and their opposites, then how to connect them. We did this in order to gain an insight into our target audience and how we could abolish the stereotypes in order to make the generations more accessible. Through several discussions we decided to each think of an idea for our next meeting that we could think about developing.

Each member of the team had their own ideas of how to ease the loneliness felt by the elderly and how to introduce them to the modern culture that the majority seem out of touch with. Initially and coincidentally  Two people in the group thought of reinvigourating the cinema system to appeal to all ages. Their idea was to have a more luxurious place that would invite the elderly in, with tea and coffee and a selection of traditional savoury foods alongside the cinema’s popcorn, chocolate and fizzy juice. They also thought about the films that would be on show, opting to have a wide range of summer blockbusters, art house drama and ‘the classics.’ This would allow the generations to bond over films, with the old teaching the young about classical cinema and it’s impact on new cinema, and the young teaching the old about 3D Cinema and modern franchises such as Harry Potter and Transformers.

A similiar idea to this was a music night, which would include disco’s, dances and open-mic nights that both generations could participate in. Similarly to the cinema idea the type of music would differ each time in order to please everyone.

One person researched lost crafts. It was decided that the crafts the older generation had learned in their childhoods and had passed on were soon going to become extinct and that it would be beneficial for the old people to pass them on once more. This would give them a sense of worth and allow them to create bonds with their ‘students.’ The main lost crafts that we looked at were Knitting and Traditional Cooking though other factors such as Ballroom Dancing were briefly considered. We also thought that we could use the younger people involved and allow them to teach the older generations about the internet and technology. The internet, today, is so important and we felt that it would be so beneficial to the older generation to have these skills. It would also give the younger generation a sense of pride and self-worth knowing that they are able to teach an older person something. These ideas were then incorporated with another member of the groups idea of ‘Active Learning.’ Active Learning would allow people to learn through things like Bingo and Pub Quizzes as well as demonstrations of it’s member’s hobbies. This would allow the people involved to learn in a fun and invigourating way.

It was suggested that a number of these ideas would all come to life in a ‘coffee shop’ by the last of our team members. This was in order to create a familiar relaxed area that people could relate to and has no valid age specifications (unlike a bar which would exclude younger people.) We decided that we could take many attributes of a coffee shop such as the atmosphere and the idea of serving food and drinks but that in some instances it would be impractical to hold demonstrations and dances.

As a group, we found it particularly easy to combine everyone’s ideas. The idea of a community centre kept cropping up yet it was felt that it was slightly out of date. Just by changing the word community to social we thought that it would appeal to a wider audience and ‘The Social Centre’ was born.

The Social Centre would rely on volunteers some older and some younger that would act as the leaders, taking charge of the funds etc. It would incorporate movie nights (developed from a fully blown cinema) music nights, demonstrations and crafts as well as being equipped with a computer suite and an atmospheric canteen not unlike the coffee shop idea. This would allow a wide range of people to come and enjoy completely different things whilst gaining a sense of socialisation and not only learning new skills and ideas, but learning about themselves.

In order to gain a better understanding of this we researched thoroughly in to different fields, amongst other things,  looking at methods of active learning and advertising as well as costing. How to modernise knitting for a newer audience and how important it is to make traditional cooking relevant again.

Social Centres and organisations of a similar nature can be found worldwide. In Britain alone, there are several permanent Social Centres, as well as a small number of temporary establishments, which are often forced to change venue or close due to lack of funding or space. Websites such as ‘UK Social Centres Network’ are useful for connecting the different Social Centres and ‘Autonomous Spaces’ found in the UK and for keeping people updated about the Social Centres in their area, changing venues and the activities taking place. Social Centres and Autonomous Spaces tend to be community funded projects and are run by volunteers. While support and funding can sometimes be gained by cooperating with businesses and charity based organisations, such as the Lottery Fund, running a fully functioning Social Centre to the standards our group discussed and to accommodate the facilities we designed, would be very costly, especially since it would be a non-profit organisation. Some of the costs are as follows:

• A safe, secure premises, either rented or owned with purpose permit
• The appropriate Fire Safety/Health and Safety measurements
• Disabled access & facilities
• Electricity, water, sewage, telephone and broadband services
• Electrical equipment, sorfware, furniture and games/sports equipment
• Insurance
• Health and Safety/First Aid training/clearance for staff/volunteers
• Paid staff/cleaners (where applicable)

Costing such a project in the current economic climate, without a definite idea of the size and location of the venue, the number of users and trained staff and the opening hours, is a very nearly impossible. However, if our team were to take this idea further, the task of costing would be worked out by calculating rent of the premises, health and safety procedures/insurance/appropriate staff training courses depending on the estimated/maximum expected number of users, previous/estimated bills for services, equipment and furniture.

After the main points of the social centre were finalised we looked into it’s advertising campaign. We chose traditional methods of posters and bus shelters so that the older generation would hear about it and facebook and twitter in order to appeal to the younger generation. A logo that would be changed depending on which town you are in was designed using a clear and simple typeface with a modern edge. This was so that people could identify it from posters and on the internet and that if any merchandise was made people would want to be a part of it.

awaiting posters, menu’s, facebook page and clients visuals from team members.

We feel the Social Centre would work as it would break the barrier between community centre’s and youth clubs allowing every single person to attend it. It appeals to a mass-market as it incorporates music, cinema, education and craft and we have looked at ways to get it out there for the mass-market to see it.


Assignment 4: Reading and Reviewing

Assignments, Change By Design

Assignment Four

World Wide Web Page

Caroline Westbrook- “Playing video games together considered ‘quality time’ for children to bond with older generations”.

When reading this article, I found it to be mainly evidence based as the writer doesn’t include any of her own personal opinions. The article clearly showed that research was carried out to test the theory of how video games are classed as great ‘quality time’ for the younger and older generations. The main purpose of this article was to confirm that video gaming is considered quality time for families as well as being very beneficial in providing different skills. When this article was written, I think that the key question that the writer addressed was: do video games count as quality family time? Or are they taking away child social interactions. There is a lot of important information displayed and I think that because this article is mainly evidenced based, it guarantees accurate and honest information. Therefore, it gains the trust of its readers.  The writer focuses on one main research study that was conducted by Goldsmiths University and PopCap gaming company.  This study, held by Goldsmiths University in London, tested to see if there was a social connection made between both generations whilst playing or after playing video games. The study showed that when the older generation played video games with their children, grandchildren etc it had connected them socially and therefore had improved their social skills. It showed that playing video games unites both generations and it creates a fun and sociable environment thus making it easier to connect with their children or grandchildren.

“The fact that both parents and grandparents are using games to connect with their children and grandchildren, and quite successfully, suggests that video games can improve social skills and make a key contribution to both effective parenting and child development.”

PopCap is a successful gaming company  that offers a wide variety of games ranging from more classical games such as Bejewelled to the more recent, Plants Vs.  Zombies. PopCap are successfully helping the elderly come to grips with technology as they include more classical games that the older generation may have known or played before. PopCap games are now available on smartphones such as: iPhone. Android, Blackberry etc. This makes them more available to all generations and further connects them.

“Around 27 per cent of those who took part in the study said their children borrowed their smartphone or tablet device every day to play casual games.”

I think that this information relates to ‘The Social Centre’ very well as it links in perfectly to what topics arose from our team discussions. The particular topic that fits for this article though is one of our main brainstorming ideas about technology and the elderly. The younger generation is much more advanced in technology such as computers, games, mobile phones etc and as a group; we thought that “The Social Centre” would be a great place where the older generation could learn new skills or further develop their own existing knowledge on a particular subject. So we thought that demonstrations or classes on technology for the older generation, taught by the younger generation, would really help connect them more socially and improve vital social skills. Also, as part of some events or even just for fun, the younger generation could use their smartphones to connect to the older generation through the world of mobile phone gaming. The writer concludes this article on a high and really conveys the future of technology very well. This article ends with a quotation from the Senior Director of International PR, Cathy Orr, at PopCap gaming company and she explains that video gaming has become as popular as going to the movies and listening to music. She explains that it is making its way into the family lifestyle and will be the new format for family favourite board games. This could be something that could work very effectively in “The Social Centre” because it would unite both generations very easily. Now that DVD games are available, it makes it even easier for the older generation to come to terms with the games that are available to them. Moreover, some of these games, such as quiz games, involve some input from the older and younger generations together as there is a wide variety of questions. I think that the most important key concepts I would need to fully understand this article would be to investigate more into the study that was referred to for this article and how the writer relates to her chosen topic. I didn’t think she mentioned her own opinion on the article however; it would be interesting to see what she thinks about the overall topic.  I think that if I were to think about the consequences of this article if its readers chose to ignore it, I think that the world of gaming would still be just as popular. Games are advertised in most advertisements nowadays and with their high graphics and exciting music to follow, it is inevitable that they are become more and more popular. In terms of “The Social Centre” I think that it would be vital to include some form of gaming. Both the older and younger generations could both enjoy playing games together and could also learn new skills from each other whilst they play.

Book. Nancy Frey – “Productive group work: how to engage with students, build teamwork and promote understanding”

The main purpose of this book I think is to promote the benefits of group working and how they can be applied within education/different environments. The key question that is addressed I think is how can we engage students, build up team working skills and promote somewhat of understanding. I think group working is very important and very useful within the learning environment. I find that with group working, it is easier to approach something that may be challenging or something that requires a lot of different views or ideas. Group working I think helps the participants socialize better as well because you are constantly discussing what has to be down for your specific project or topic. There are various pieces of important information shown throughout this article but one of the sources I will mention is near the beginning of the book. I think it’s really effective and shows a clear understanding to why group work is very beneficial in a learning environment. There was a test that was set to different groups and each group had to research a different food source. They had access to the internet and a collection of books that related to what they had been researching.  The group had to summarise all of their research and each member had to at least write one sentence about their topic/findings. Moreover, each student had to write in a different coloured ink as well as being able to explain the contents of their paper to a teacher in an interview or discussion. For the result of this study, there was a paragraph made out of each students sentences about their topic and in the book, it is shown in different fonts to display each students contribution and ideas in their group. Overall, the test was successful as this one paragraph showed all of the information needed about their given food source. It shows the collaborative knowledge of the students working together and sharing key pieces of information.

In context of “The Social Centre”, team-working would be a major part of what it is we want to achieve within this environment. When we discussed how we could unite both the younger and older generations, working together and group work was always a key part of this project. We wanted to unite both generations via different events such as: music nights, movie nights, exercise classes and so on. Therefore, team work is a vital role in “The Social Centre”.

Group working within the education environment also has its disadvantages because not all group working can be successful. However, one of the main reasons to why group working isn’t as successful as it could be is that the students are more aware of failure. When put in a group, it is usually to solve a problem, make a product, a design solution and so on but usually once the group has started to get into their projects, only a couple of members of the group seem to take the lead whilst the others sit in the background. Therefore, this puts a lot of pressure amongst the leaders of the group as well as making the others feel in adequate. This is one of the reasons why teaching staff have not included it as much within the learning environment. Therefore, there has to be positive interdependence created because for a group to work, each member has to communicate, take part and convey their own ideas. Other ways to create this would be:

  • Goals –assigning a different task to each member and that task would require them to participate and work together with the group.
  • Resources –giving each member something to look at, say an article, game etc.  This could insure that each team member is given a unique piece of information that they can then present to the group.
  • Roles – giving each group member a specific role in which they are responsible for.
  • Rewards – a means of making the group much more sociable and offering breaks from continuous work. Also, could be something to do with each member, for example, one group member could be the motivator and try and give their group more motivate to carry on with the task. This would be a very effective tool in “The Social Centre” because this could help the generations to further connect with each other as well as keep up with the different events available.

For the social centre, I think that making sure each generation contributed in each activity to what they feel comfortable with in order to achieve a more sociable and relaxed environment.

My Thoughts …

I found both equally as interesting as each other. However, I preferred the first article “Playing video games together considered ‘quality time’ for children to bond with older generations” in the Daily Mail. I found that one easier to relate to as I myself have been in a very similar situation. I agree totally with the article because when my sister and I were younger, we played videos games quite a lot and both of our parents would join in with us at times. Therefore, I can relate to this article well. I think video gaming is a great family bonding experience because everyone will be having fun and the atmosphere is more relaxed. It then encourages all family members to socialize and work together as a group (multiplayer options) in both the video game and environment. If parents chose to ignore this, I think that they would lose a small connection with their child because gaming is something many children find enjoyable and if their parents chose not to participate or worse, refuse their children of their right to play a game; it could lead to disruptions in the family environment. I was reading another article from my last assignment and I feel that it relates very well with this article at the moment because it’s discussing the benefits of the elderly using video gaming technology. The article is “Elderly Keeping fit with the Wii” found on I found this article really interesting because it is again, something that I feel I can again relate to. Furthermore, I think that the Wii Fit is a fantastic way of keeping fit because you get to experience different types of exercise that may have not been available before or that you had never tried like yoga, for instance. Furthermore, you are in control of how intense you would like each fitness exercise to be. It also offers small games that can improve balance posture etc. There was a study carried out by the residents of a care home run by Helen McArdle Care. For this study, they gave this care home a Wii fit with several controllers and tested to see how the residents would react to it. It was all a success! They all loved the Wii and said to have found it very fun and encouraged more people to socialise with each other.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one of these things, let alone played one, but it is great fun […] It’s much better than television, it’s more interesting and everybody gets involved” Jim Fisher, a resident in Hartlepool

“I’m really enjoying it. It’s given me the opportunity to socialise with the residents and staff and to get to know people better. They tell me I’m quite good, but I would not like to say so myself.” Betty Dennis. A resident at Hartlepool

As well as the Wii Fit being very enjoyable, it also has many benefits. The Wii fit builds up your fitness, body strength and balance over time depending on how much you use it. In this article, another study was taken in care homes and sheltered housing in greater Manchester and the study revealed that the Wii fit improves their strength, allowed them to stand up for longer, feel younger and much more confident. Overall, I love the Wii fit and think it is an excellent idea. It’s a great way to keep fit and it’s also great fun!

My next resource, I looked at “Productive group work: how to engage with students, build teamwork and promote understanding” by Nancy Frey. When reading this book, as I did not have a huge amount of time, I briefly read the more relevant parts that related to my project. When reading, I came across some interesting facts and studies related to group-working and they relates very well to our brief. I particularly liked the study about the food research and the use of different coloured ink to show the different answers and facts from the students.It showed that when these sentences were pieced together, they formed a small paragraph that gave all the correct information needed about their given food research. A great example of team working! It showed that every member of the team contributed and successfully completed the task they were set.

I think that both articles relate in some way because each article includes some form of “team work or group work”. The first article relating to the quality time parents have with their children when playing games as this is an example of working together and therefore, connects them. In the second source, this book discussed the importance of teamwork in the learning environment and how it could connect students and help them work together.


Fairbairn, Andrew. 2009. Elderly keeping fit with the

Frey, Nancy. 1959. Productive group work: how to engage with students, build teamwork and promote understanding. Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, Sandi Everlove. Alexandria, Va.: ASCD, c2009.

Westbrook, Caroline. Playing video games together considered ‘quality time’ for children to bond with older generations. [Online] [23rd August 2011]

Team Meetings!

For a part of this assignment, we had to meet up with another team, in our case, Team 2 .

In Team 1 (our team) there was Colin Adams, Jennifer Heilbronn, Eilidh Alexander, Susan MacLeod and Jana Smuharova. In Team 2 there was Rosa Howie, Dione Bowlt, Alison Best, Eilidh Orr and Alicia Storie

We found this meeting very beneficial as we were able to discuss each teams developed ideas and see how they came to their final idea and vice versa. Our team brief was based on connecting the younger and older generations and our final idea was “The Social Centre”. Team 2 had a brief named “Mine for Life” and their final idea was medical alert jewellery that would have 2 sensors on either side of the body that would determine if the sound was coming from the left or the right of the person. I thought it was a really great idea and that it could become very successful!

Team Discussions. Team 1 & 2

Team 1 & Team 2

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This was a slide show from our team meeting in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Library. I found today very successful and found that working with another team really opened my ideas to different ideas and how to approach different things. Something I hope to use more in my own work!

Twenty second slides…Lets get presenting!

Change By Design

On Friday, it was the dreaded day of team presentations and nerves were bouncing about in the lecture theatre of the Dalhouise Building! Each team had to present their own interpretation of their RSA brief and explain their final developed idea. I am in Team 1 with Colin Adams, Susan MacLeod, Jana Smuharova, Jennifer Heilbronn and Eilidh Alexander. For our brief, we were to design a product, environment or service that eases the isolation and loneliness of older people by uniting them with people of different generations through shared interests or needs. For this brief, we decided to create an environment that would help unite the younger and older generations through different activities, demonstrations, theme nights etc. We called this “The Social Centre” as we found “community” didn’t sound as appealing to the younger generation.

The presentations were to be presentation by only a couple from each team so Jennifer and Eilidh presented for team one. Thank goodness! talking in front of a big crowd isn’t my strongest skill in the world due to having a big lack of self-confidence. However, it is something that I am trying to overcome. Dreading the day I have to face that fear! Jennifer and Eilidh done a great job and really convey our brief very well.

So you may have been wondering about the title, Twenty second slides? Well, there was a catch to our presentations and they were to be presented using the Pecha Kucha style. This involves a presentation that lasts about 5-6mins and each slide is only on display for 20 seconds.

There was a total of 13 teams and each team had a different interpretation of their own RSA brief. Each team I though was very clear and conveyed their brief very well. I think that some could actually go into a business because a lot of the ideas seem really workable in this day and age and I feel they could benefit the industry that they were designed for!

Even though this presentation was very nerve-racking, I found it very interesting and inspiring as it encouraged us to think outside our design specialism and create an environment, design or service that could help change the world around us!

so this was a little about our presentations! More next time.

Good Design, Bad Design: Take One

Change By Design

 “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak”  – John Berger

This quotation was used in a lecture that I had on Friday. Basically this quote to me suggests that we understand the world better with what we see around us.

So is the purpose of a good design to be visually appealing to its viewer? or is it something that gets the job done? I think it should be both. I think if something is more visually appealing and it is set out to do something for example, if it’s an advertisement for something, it will attract more people as opposed to something looking less appealing to the viewer/customers.

During this lecture, my lecturer was talking about how pizza flyers are the best form of Graphic Design that he had seen. Sounds crazy! There is great graphic design art out there!. In the context of this lecture though, he was right. These designs on the pizza flyers are excellent examples of ‘Good Design’. The designs shown on the pizza flyers are normally bright, bold and colourful so as to grasp the attention of its potential customers. They also display a slice or whole pizza to also get the reader’s attention which then leads them to continue on reading their menu. Very good design for the pizza companies! So overall, these pizza flyers are a good design as they grasp the customer’s attention and they do the job that they were sent out to do. Success! Whereas, if the flyers were dull, had very little colour and boring, they would not appeal to the viewer’s and therefore, not do their job thus they would be an example of ‘Bad Design’.

So to sum up this short post, I think that the whole point of this lecture was to get the designer to think about who they are designing for instead of just designing a product. For example, I think that if I was going to design something, I would design it so it had a purpose so I know that it could be useful in day-to-day life. For instance, if I were to design a dress, I would design it so it is practical but also very fashionable and appealing to its buyers.

This post was only a short and instant response to last Friday’s lecture, So there shall a more detailed response very soon! Bye!

Think BIG!

Change By Design

Today I had a lecture and one of the guest speakers was Mike Press, a professor of Design Policy and Associate Head of Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design,Dundee.

I found this lecture very interesting as he was telling us that it’s not all about the look of a design but it’s the purpose it has in the world around us. It’s about the experience between the user and product and how it benefits and suits them. Which, I think, is a great way to look at a design when you are still in the process of designing it. It helps give you a goal for the end and lets you know if the product would work in the world! he taught us that a design could go out in the world and not receive any success (which could happen at some point in every designers career) but that you should always try! because, if you don’t try, how will you know if you can succeed or not?

There was a video clip shown in this lecture today about the Jeweller Vidar Hertov from Konstfack,Stockholm. He made a video where he had two Mini Coopers (one he was driving) and one that was parked by the road side. In the video, you see him approach the grey/silver Mini Copper and take out some tools and basically made a bashed circle shape on the door with a hammer. He then took an electric hand saw (I think?) and cut a shape around the actual door handle and around the circle he made. He then took out the piece of the car door and headed to the other Mini Cooper and drove away. He repeated this with another two Mini Coopers, one red and one blue. This was for a part of his studies. Bit weird I must say and for all you car lovers, possibly quite crazy! but I think it showed that you need to be brave and really believe in your work and really get it out there. It showed that you could do anything as well as your chosen skills for example, Hertov is a jeweller and he created this video piece for his studies. So overall, I think the message was about being more daring and just going for it! Also, to always think BIG! never be too ambitious and just go for it. This lecture has really inspired me and gave me more confidence in the way I set about my work and I feel that it will benefit my studies at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get” as they say!

Couldn’t get the video here sadly but here is a link to his site. It’s the 8th video in including the first highlighted one. Vidar Hertov