Place-based Design:Ethnographic ﬁeldwork and exhibit design Jim Mathews Robyn Acker Molly Ward Middleton Alternative Senior High (MASH) Clark Street Community School (CSCS) WCSS Conference March 19, 2012
Anchor 1: Theme + Inquiry What is everyday art and design? Anchor 2: Design ChallengeDesign an exhibit to teach young kids about every day art
Open-ended ExplorationWhat is every day art and design?
Open-ended Design Challenge
Working DeﬁnitionTied to local culture expresses local aesthetics, functions, practices, and meaning Handmade, Personal expression assembled, D.I.Y. adapted Not mass-produced
Emergent Learning + Curriculum• Emergent questions, skills, concepts, interactions, networks• Open-ended problem space and design challenges• “Just-in-time” skills and concepts• Spiral curriculum / Layering• Draw from and build on student interests and questions
Emergent Learning + Curriculum
Initial Exhibit Ideas
Any questions before we move on?
Drilling Deeper - Ethnographic Fieldwork What do we want to learn more about?
Prep: Brainstorming Questions
Initial Ethnographic Fieldwork (Visit 1)
Back in the classroom: Reﬂection • What did you enjoy most? • What was most interesting? • How does this place relate to every day art? • What new questions do you have?
Back in the classroom: Pulling things together What are some key themes? What else do I need / want to know?
But because of the craftsmanship in building it, thesearen’t massed produced. These are made one at atime by hand. This is made by a guy just up theroad. . . By the time it’s all done, because it takes a longtime to dry and everything, it takes Paul 3 weeks tomake one of those from the time he slits it and thenyou have to dry the bamboo.You have to clear your mind of everything and justzero in on what you’re doing. You sort of lose track ofthings. There’s been a lot of times when on the creekhere I’ve been ﬁshing and I haven’t been more than 50yards from the car and I ﬁsh for 4 or 5 hours. It’s notalways getting out there. It’s really immersingyourself in what it is that you’re doing. I think that’sthe aesthetic of this.
Ethnographic Fieldwork - Round 2
Ethnographic Fieldwork - Drilling Deeper
Exhibit Design: Iteration / Prototype 1
Typical Day: Design Studio
Formal Critique 1
Re-Design: Iteration 2
Re-Design: Iteration 2
Formal Critique 2
Formal Critique 2
Presentation Oral Communication Usertesting Skills Notetaking Interviewing Cultural Iterative Literacy DesignCritique Research Video Mobile Production TechnologiesProject Management Collaboration Photography
Todd: . . . I have a very traditional approach to theway that I build, which not many guitar makers thesedays have, so that has allowed me to sort of keepdoing it in a tough economy.Interviewer: Can you say what you mean by that?What is your niche?Todd: Well, I kind of play old music from the early1900’s.Interviewer: So old music is not from the 80’s?Todd: No! From like the 1920’s and what not. So thoseinstruments were made in a very speciﬁc way andmost people they build according to technology. Theyhave advanced, but I’m trying to work according tothe traditions, the traditional ways and what not. So Iuse traditional materials, traditional methods, etc.And that has allowed me to keep busy through thecurrent economic downturn . . .
Place-based Learning● Experiential - e.g., Field experiences, design● Local/global - abstraction of concepts, interdependence● Democratic participation - student centered, civic action, community partnerships● Classroom-based experiences directly link to field experiences and vice versa● Inquiry-based, project-based, problem-based● Design Oriented / Applied (process & product)● Interdisciplinary● Layering (e.g., content, disciplines, perspectives), “spiral” curriculum● Emergent questions, skills, concepts, interactions
Place-based Learning: Key ComponentsStudents engaged in applying their knowledgeto solve “real problems” and answer authenticinquiry questions
Place-based Learning: Key ComponentsStudents collaborate with local citizens,organizations, agencies, businesses, andgovernment to help make plans that shape thefuture of their cultural and ecological systems
Place-based Learning: Key ComponentsStudents play an active role in deﬁningand shaping projects
Place-based Learning: Key Components* Interdisciplinary* Students as producers of new knowledge vs. consumers of knowledge* Direct instruction situated within an authentic context* Emergent skills, concepts, and interactions
Neighborhood Game Design Project: Overview* Investigate contested issues and places in our community* Students design their own media as a way to teach others about these issues and share their own perspectives* Studio-based design pedagogy
Contested Places / Contested Spaces“The identities of place are always unfixed, contested and multiple. And theparticularity of any place is, in these terms, constructed not by placing boundariesaround it and defining its identity through counter-position to the other which liesbeyond, but precisely (in part) through the specificity of the mix of links andinterconnections to that "beyond". Places viewed in this way are open andporous. . . . All attempts to institute horizons, to establish boundaries, to secure theidentity of places, can in this sense therefore be seen to be attempts to stabilize themeaning of particular envelopes of space-time. . . . such attempts . . . are constantlythe site of social contest, battles over the power to label space-time, to imposethe meaning to be attributed to a space, for however long or short a span oftime.” -- Massey 1994, 5Massey, Doreen. (1994). Space, Place, and Gender. Minneapolis: University ofMinnesota Press.
Contested Places: “Meaning Sticks to Place”Contested place suggests primary narrative elements: the events that flow frompeople who have problems in a place; or in scientific contexts, the story of the giveand take of diverse natural elements in a place. Such a place has a history, limits,potential, and multiple opportunities for exploration and meaning making.The emotional dramas of contests hook students, as do nearby, hands-on, and context-rich local places. Combined in a local game, a contested place is a natural focus forinstruction and learning. It at once provides coherent and rich subject matter,intrinsic motivation, multiple entry points for inquiry, opportunities to developmany fluencies, and structures for developing deep understanding of the world.Meaning sticks to place, making it possible for students to easily comprehend what isotherwise difficult.The Local Games Lab - http://lgl.gameslearningsociety.org/
Neighborhood Game Design Project: Part One Initial Simulation + Investigations Email comes in... : “Hi, I am Mike Davis the City Administrator... ...I need your help exploring contested issues in our downtown. Do some ﬁeldwork and meet me back at City Hall to report out...
Design Studio / Design-based Pedagogy • Physical studio space • Opening circles • Design journals • Design board • Design task cards • Distributed knowledge • Dispersed community • Authentic practices and designs • Iterative design process • Emergent curriculum