Next event:
ERINN SAVAGE – Performance
Tomorrow 15:00 GMT

Future Experiences Project - The Usual Place

The Usual Place is a framework of three core beliefs: ‘pride of place and tradition, cultural mobility in sound, and a committed and connected community’. The result is a community of music makers and consumers who identify with, and can be identified by, the special symbol and who can share culturally relevant beliefs to breed future-orientated thinking from within. This community can manifest in a number of ways depending on the socio-economic circumstances of place, including as an app to tie the community together and a physical-format music exchange.

The Usual Place - Context

In the coming ten years, trends indicate that record labels will become obsolete and the creation of music will come second to the advertising of products by musicians in order to make money. Large conglomerates will fuel this and act as the new music facilitators, thus muting cultures and dragging unsustainable notions of development bred in the Global North to the Global South in the wave of globalisation. Drivers of local culture, and change, including the youth, can identify with The Usual Place as a motion for rebellion. Something to hold on to, to preserve locality and tradition in the face of unsustainable growth.

The Usual Place - Insight

The brief laid bare a unique challenge in understanding my place as the designer who is being asked to design for sustainable roles for the Global South. Aware of avoiding ‘colonial’ approaches, I identified early-on during expert input sessions that it is key to encourage development from within communities in the Global South in order for fresh, relevant future-building approaches to arise.

The Usual Place - Process

I explored my work, especially in the early exploration and development stages of the project, through heavy use of sketch books. I find that this 2D visual format allows for me to document my thinking quickly and articulately. I can then use this as the basis for more refined visual communication of ideas, as a prompt for conversation with peers and tutors, and as a diary insight into my design approach.

The Usual Place - Value

The Usual Place has the capacity to evolve into a global community of like-minded groups who use music as a vehicle to allow cultures and traditions to drive change, instead of being carried along by the wave of globalisation. This change, as implied by the different iterations of the recognisable icon, would be tailored to the place in which it sits. This tailored change is more likely to be sustainable and innovative, unique to place and local problems, but supported by a wider network around the world.

Self Initiated Project - Era Sine

Era Sine (era sin-e) is a speculative design exercise that projects a new tangibility onto the reality we already live. Time is our own, we can do what we wish with it, it is a tradeable and valuable thing. We always have it on our person, and it reflects the kind of person we are. In our attempts to de-personalise it because we know this can be unhealthy, there are places that we can go to meet up with others and share our time amongst each other to experience it as a collective. This is our attempt to be without time. Era Sine.

Era Sine - Context

The present-day struggle to manage time can seem rather like a nightmare. This persona, based on interviews with a student as target-user, illustrates this reality. Students, and mostly everyone, walk a tightrope toward productivity. This need to balance our responsibilities in such a way that we spend our time wisely is brought on by the commodification of time in our society. A way of challenging this notion is to highlight that we cannot ‘spend’ time and it does not get away from us, because it was never ours. This understanding could clear a path toward alleviating mental stress brought on by our need to feel productive.

Era Sine - Insight

Time-related stress is one of the most prominent mental-health challenges in our society. Evidenced here as illustration in a quick research exercise amongst my peers and their stress levels relative to time during a project, the graph highlighting the positive and negative effects of time-pressure. Crucially however, it is understood, through years of in-depth research into time-use diaries, that our feelings of rushed-ness do not correlate to a change in daily activities. In the last sixty years, what we actually do all day hasn’t changed much. The busy-badge that we are so proud to wear is a projection of the folk-narrative of our time, of society at large, unto ourselves.

Era Sine - Process

I developed speculative scenarios, and explored ideas inspired by insights, through storyboarding. I find this method of visualisation and communication not only helps me think critically about a concept, but it acts as a conversation starter for users and peers. Furthermore, rapid prototyping using things like modelling clay can add a tangibility to ideas that brings them into a space where they can be imagined in use in reality.

Era Sine - Value

Era Sine imagines time as a physical commodity to be cherished and shared. This speculative approach to designing for the topical and relevant mental-health issue of time related stress, lays bare our current unhealthy relationship with time in the hope of encouraging new modes of thinking. By illustrating a real-life problem and scenario in such an ‘unrealistic’ manner, we can come to terms with the absurdity of it and use this to change our habits.