Monday, January 14, 2008

Workshop on community

This past weekend Dori Tunstall, a design anthropologist from Chicago, came to NC State to hold a workshop and give a lecture. I originally met Dori back in 2000 when I was working with Design for Democracy. She assisted us in researching different voter types in Chicago to aid us in designing to motivate people to vote.

Her workshop was built around the ideas of community. We read three articles covering pilgrimages, imagined community, and online communities. The workshop was very helpful as I approach a new studio project involving an online learning community.

I've decided to focus on the slow food movement as a learning community. When thinking of this movement, the idea of imagined community is particularly interesting. A lot of people are interested in the slow food movement to preserve local traditions. The concept that communities are not created by physicality (as maps are mostly empirical and fictional to begin with), but by shared values is definitely applicable.

My next step is to create a concept map in order to understand the various users in the learning community. Based on my brief research(which will get more in depth in the coming days/weeks) and assumption, I've laid out different motivations of people involved in the slow food movement: preserving local tradition, environmental concerns, health concerns, and fair compensation to farmers.

My learning community as a whole is one that is in opposition to something. In addition, the different types of community participants may be in opposition to each other. For example, someone may be very concerned about local traditions, but not about the environmental effects. I will need to explore these dichotomies as I continue...
beginning research on community experience

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