Common interests, shared spaces, and communal activities

Over the next year, the SFI! team will submit blog posts sharing their thoughts on process, challenges, and excitement working with the South of South neighborhood in Philadelphia (west of Broad Street, north of Washington Avenue). Lead by Erin Bernard and Dana Schloss, the SFI! crew will focus on building community connections and prototyping in and with the neighborhood.

Sophie Strachan
2nd year grad student, Museum Exhibition Planning + Design
University of the Arts
In preparation for the upcoming prototyping events in the South of South neighborhood, our class has been having conversations about community, and our role in this project as designers and communicators. Our first day of class we all shared our ideas about what community means and it was interesting to find that there are so many ways to define it. A few ways communities are brought together is through common interests, shared spaces, and communal activities.
We had a RIG (Rapid Idea Generation) session with Dana Schloss in which we used an assortment of junk to articulate ideas to solve a particular problem. We came up with some really fun interactives! One interactive experience that my group thought of was a game in which the visitor controlled a blimp that had to maneuver through a maze to complete a secret mission during WWII. To illustrate this idea to the rest of the class we used a ball with an old cell phone taped to it to represent the blimp and an upside down teacup as the controller.
Our understanding of this semesters project has been developing, and soon we will meet with potential community partners to discuss it and more importantly to learn more about them. On October 21st, Arts Sanctuary will be hosting our first prototyping event in the neighborhood. At this event we hope to work closely with the high school students and the neighbors to start generating ideas, building things, and having great conversations.

Sharing ideas using “junk” encourages ideas without getting stuck in the details.