Kenekeleba House Garden

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  • 1. Reporters’ book A guide for design- based ethnographic research Kenkeleba House Garden Taylor Conophy Hilary Crawford Yejin Hong
  • 2. Part 1: Interview
  • 3. 1.1 Description What do they do? (Description of service idea, e.g. a community garden, a food coop, etc). What are the demands/ problems this initiative responds to? What is the aim of the initiative? What happens and how does it happens? What benefits does it bring to the neighborhood? Unlike many other ‘community green gardens’, the Kenkeleba House is an initiative that attempts to provide the surrounding community (neighborhood) with not only a place of beauty or an escape but an area for artists (specifically sculptures) to display their works. The pavement of the ground is not in such a good condition. It keeps its ‘aesthetic’ purpose; the aim is to work with the nature growth and to showcase art to bring life to an area/ community that was once overlooked. 1.2 Context What is this neighborhood like? How was it before this new solution took place? Now a days, Kenkeleba House is situated in a neighborhood that is home to schools, small corner shops etc, but before its creation in the late 70’s, was a hare for drugs and crime. The lot where the garden now sits was once three vacant buildings that seemed as concealed throughways for drug dealers to pass from streets to streets; after a major crack-down in the 70’s, where reported 6500 arrests were made in three weeks, the are was left depresses, and a ghost town of sots.
  • 4. 1.3 History of the initiative How did the project/initiative start? Who took the initiative? Why? Can you describe a timeline of events, highlighting success and failure aspects, major milestones? How far can you go back? How did this initiative mature? How did it turn to be a real enterprise? (registered, formalized etc.) Did it receive public or private support of any kind? Did it help change the public or policy structure? The initiative started in ‘79-’80 by current manager, Corrine Jennings . Jennings had been a resident in the neighborhood for decades and wanted to revive a small part of the community (to replace a reminder of death with something more). She received a lease from the city to begin work; and since then, she and her husband have received some loans that resulted of the expansion of the garden that includes an art gallery and now puts on music and art exhibition as showcases. 1.4 Main actors Who are the users of this initiative? Who are the promoters of this initiative? Is there a difference between users and promoters or are they basically the same? Describe users and promoters lifestyles? Do the users work as a group or groups? Is there a network of related organizations and/or individuals? Do they have any form of connection or exchange with other similar initiatives? Was the group inspired by other examples? Do you know counter examples, (of service ideas that did not take-off), cases that went wrong? The users of the initiative are mainly the artists themselves, but the garden is open to the community during their hours, you do not need a membership – it exists for the community and does not limit the use. The artists bring their work in and decide with Corinne to see what locations work best for each art pieces.
  • 5. 1.5. Technologies What are the technologies that the group uses? How are they used in system? The garden itself does not require or promote the use of specific technologies, sculptures are fairly permanent, and since any plants that exist are not for extraction and the nature of the landscape is to work with and follow nature, tools are not necessary. Corinne may do some small amount of maintenance, but any technology used in with installation of works. 1.6. Communication What communication materials do the group have? (e.g. website, brochures, postcards, etc). What is the main purpose of these materials? e.g. to keep participants updated about activities (internal communication) or to get more participants (external communication)? Does the group want to have more participants? As far as communication materials are concerned, the main information (bulk) of materials can be found online on their website; the community participants can keep up with any events there; it does not appear that they want to expand communication as they generally approach to artists for their artworks.
  • 6. 1.7. Perspective for the future What are the perspective/objectives of the group for the next 3-5 years? What are some of the success factors and possible risks in the short medium and long term? It seems that “success” in Corinne’s definition will be generally dependent on funding; as long as she still has artists and the space to display their work, here the broad goals are met. She seems open to having more community events and it exited about the exhibition (music and art). They have the occasion every month or so. Filmmakers also have used the space before. 1.8. Problems and opportunities Are there any specific issues/problems/barriers that pose threats to the initiative? Are there any main areas of concern among the participants (leaders and users alike)? Are there any opportunities that could be explored (that are currently not explored)? Barriers to the initiative would be financial since there is no “membership” requirement. The project relies on supply of funds and artworks. If Corinne were to be unable to give up the project, that would create a serious issue, as it is personal endeavor and remains very much as ‘net’ space (She lives on the property)
  • 7. 1.9. Indications of other social innovation Do the users participate in other entrepreneurial endeavors? Do they form small initiatives on their own? Are members involved in other “sustainable” services within the community? (Ex. Food Co-op, carpooling, community gardens, etc)? Do you see evidence of wider networks that these users contribute to? Entrepreneurial endeavors by participants does not seem apparent (no ‘sustainable’ services etc.) But with respect to wider networks, one gets the sense that this initiative bleeds into the art and cultural community of Lower East Side/ New York City in general. It has notoriety in the artistic community and it viewed as an essential contribute to cultural character of the area 1.10. References Website of the initiative Interviewee name and contact information (email, address, phone number) Other references (websites, articles, other people we should talk to) Gallery Director –Corrine Jennings (212.674.3939) Kemkeleba@msn.com
  • 8. Quantitative Data Exercise How many members does the initiative have? How many are very active in the initiative? How does individual spaces compare with shared/group spaces? How many members are involved in other community-based services? (Food Co-op, activist orgs, clothes swapping, bike sharing, etc.) What is the size of the initiative in square footage? - There are no explicitly identified ‘members’ in projects. - Corinne and her husband, assistant run and oversee all projects. - Members can be constituted on the artists whose are displayed. The garden is open to community regardless.
  • 9. Part 2: Pictures & film
  • 10. Photo Instructions  Please take close-up detailed photos due to the winter conditions of gardens (ex. Buds, small greenery, tools, gathering spaces, colorful areas)  Photos may ONLY be taken with a high megapixel digital camera (no iphone photos or low resolution photos)  Choose highest picture quality setting that camera allows  Always ASK permission before taking photos or footage of people and/or spaces  See Release Form on the final page of this document. You MUST have Release Form(s) signed by the photo/footage subject.
  • 11. Photo checklist 1.Context 1.1 The general context (e.g. landscape, urban area, etc) 1.2 The close context (e.g. the neighbourhood, etc) 1.3 The place from outside (e.g. building, house, etc)   1.4 The entrance (e.g. signage, access door or gate, etc) 1.5 The place from inside (e.g. dedicated room, private places, gazebo, pond, planting areas, recreational areas, etc) 2. Participant 2.1 Two to three typical users (show them in different situations, e.g. portrait/standing, in-action, etc) 2.2 The organiser/provider (portrait/standing, in-action, etc) 2.3 Show something characteristic of the user’s motivation to participate? 2.4 Show the key participants in the service/organization (e.g. leaders, gatekeepers, organizers, connectors, innovators, etc) 3. Material Artifacts 3.1 Show communication materials of the organization (leaflets, signage, etc) 3.2 Could you show essential objects that users interact with, or that provide key moments in the service? 3.3 Could you show evidence of entrepreneurial work by users or providers? Show intangible/tangible innovations created by users or providers. 4. Benefits 4.1 Could you show participant benefits? organiser benefits? collective benefits? environmental benefits? economical benefits? 5. Perspectives for the future 5.1 Could you show the future perspectives of the solution?
  • 12. Film guidelines Please take footage of the following:   The person/people you are interviewing. Ask them to introduce themselves, their role in the organization, and a brief description of the organization (30 sec)   A brief history of the organization (15-30 sec)   A typical activity taking place in the space including participants of the organization (30 sec-1 min)   Participants of the organization interacting with each other (30 sec)   Participants of the organization interacting with the space/props/ objects (30 sec)
  • 13. General Release It is hereby agreed by and between the parties that this document shall constitute a general release authorizing Parsons The New School to use the photographs, statements and video of the undersigned subject in perpetuity, without any compensation. It is also understood that the photographs, statements and/or videos are to be, and may be, used by Parsons for photographic displays, exhibits, on institution’s website, and the like, or for inclusion in any brochures, advertisements, newspapers, newsletters or any similar activities including print, television or electronic media, at the discretion of Parsons The New School. It is further understood by and between both parties to this agreement that the undersigned subject is not to be compensated for the use of said materials by Parsons The New School. The execution of this document constitutes a waiver of any rights to compensation now or in the future. It is further understood by and between both parties to this agreement that this written document constitutes the sum total of all discussions, negotiations and agreements had with respect to this release, and that this document, when executed, represents the entire agreement and understanding between the parties; any agreement or understanding not contained in this document is specifically and categorically denied.    Date: Subject Witness