MA Project Week 1: Critical Reflections

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Presentation notes for this week’s webinar

Last week there were two concepts that I was trying to choose between. The idea of colour forecasting and theory – developing an understanding of the personal, social, economic and environmental factors that influence colour trends and choice.

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How can I use design for good, to help people? (As in my earlier migrant project)

[After this course I do not know whether I want to start a business or do a PHD. So, I want to keep both options open and keep the project quite research based. Hopefully my final direction will become clearer further down the line.]

I wondered how I might combine my interest in colour theory with a concern for social good, so decided to start my research with the question:

What impact does colour forecasting have on a global scale?

I studied the process of how colours go from a visual presentation from the colour forecaster to the brand, through to the fashion and textiles sold to consumers on the shop floors.

I realised that creating forecasted colours using chemical dyes was contributing to 20% of global industrial water pollution per year.

 In brief, dye chemicals are highly toxic and carcinogenic and come in powder forms. They are then mixed with huge quantities of water to bind the dye onto the fabric. Then all the water containing still up to 50% of the dye is pushed into water sources such as rivers, the sea and lakes.

These are often primary water sources for the local community who then bathe in and drink the toxic chemicals. The water is then used for irrigation and agriculture.

Another problem is that the colour creates a multicoloured film or sludge over the water meaning that light cannot penetrate through. This means photosynthesis cannot take place, leading to low oxygen levels and ultimately loss of aqua life.

How can I address these problems as a designer? I could possibly come up with a colour forecasting studio that allows for colour trends and cycles but is also a force for a more sustainable world.

Advising and forecasting colours for brands that can be created with plant based natural dyes.

Some brands are already pioneering the natural dye movement such as Stella McCartney but educating up-and-coming brands and raising awareness generally could help to make our textiles industries – and indeed our world – look a little brighter!

Peer and Tutor Feedback Webinar

Going into the webinar, I thought I was doing the right thing by taking a different direction for my final project. After the webinar, I felt that maybe I was choosing to change direction for the wrong reasons. I have something really special within the work I did in the last module with the migrants. After writing thousands of words on colour, I am so glad that I and this webinar before I continued. 

I found it really difficult to accept that I had taken a wrong turn for a few days. I just simply couldn’t accept that I had made the wrong decision even though I knew in my gut and heart that the migrant project was the project I should be doing. 

After I had changed direction and committed to the decision for working on the subject of migrants for my final project, I then had the difficult decision of deciding which project I would continue with. I was really torn again with the possibility of doing the migrant tool GPS and flashlight that was solar powered. The other idea was a platform that schools can integrate into their school intranets to help the integration of migrant children into mainstream schools. I think the second idea has much more potential in terms of research and in terms of scope for being able to actually make a difference to the migrant children’s lives within my locality.  

I was not 100% sure exactly whether this was the right decision and really felt that I needed to talk about it and discuss it with my peers before I continued. 

Peer Crit Webinar and reflections 

This was the first peer crit session of the module and it helped me so much. Anna, Tony, John and Alice all helped me to talk through my project and idea. I had some really positive feedback and they gave me some really helpful advice as to how I should approach the project:

Tony: He thought that I should try and narrow the project down a little and carry out research into where the migrants usually come from and pick maybe the top three nationalities to focus on. This way I can look into exactly what these people experience and where they come from. Do they come from a warzone, extreme poverty etc. How would they have travelled to Bordeaux? If I try and focus on migrants as a whole, then it would be difficult to find solutions to all the different problems and requirements. 

Anna: She had some great ideas on cultural workshops that I could hold and integrate into the platform. Language exchanges, learning about different traditions and teaching the native children about the migrant children so they understand their situations. 

Alice: She helped convince me that this was the correct area that I should be focusing on and told me that she felt quite sorry for me in the webinar because I had done so much research on a project that I will not be doing, however she felt strongly that the migrant project was the correct project to pursue.

John: He talked through what he feels the course has taught him and how he feels he has developed on the course, which helped me to look back over what I was as a designer and person when I first started this course and where I am now. I have grown in confidence so much and have learnt to think in a different way when faced with a project or brief. 

I am so grateful for all their help and support. We also discussed how these peer crits of our respective projects help us to grow in confidence.

Reflections and Next Stages 

I think that now I have spent one week trying to figure out exactly what I am doing I need to spend a good amount of time thinking about the structure of this project and the different areas I need to look at. A good place to start is by looking back at what I achieved in the last module in relation to this project and where I can begin in this module. 

Question

I would like my starting question to remain the same:

How can I aid the migrant youths of Bordeaux, France, with community integration at school through the use of a digital tool or process?

Initial areas to think about

Contact my friend here in Bordeaux who is actively involved in the integration of migrants within this community. She teaches French to a family living in a migrant squat and helps take the children to school. She has first-hand experience of the emotions of the migrant children going to school in Bordeaux and how they feel, as well as the difficulties they face in general.

Research into the largest migrant nationalities that live within Bordeaux

Research the situations within these countries

Research again migrant living conditions in general and personal situations as well as how they have travelled to Bordeaux 

Research schools in Bordeaux that have the highest percentage of migrants 

How do they integrate them into the school at the moment? What are the advantages and disadvantages with this?

Research current intranet systems that schools use

Research designers who have come up with design solutions for migrants 

Come up with a name 

Other people I could contact

Collectif des Migrants de Bordeaux – a collective of people (including myself) who give up their free time and use their skill sets to help migrants 

Schools who have a high intake of migrants 

UX UI designers/developers that work for the tech company I work for – when I start to develop the platform (maybe I will do this in a few weeks) 

Designers that have worked on the subject of migrants before (to research)

People who work on community integration projects – similar or different

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