The ‘tools for renewal’ project continues its creative path in developing the tools which will support our main partner Newbold Trust engage with its communities. We are working hard to collectively design tools focused on capturing the insights of individuals visiting Newbold House envisioning the future. This is gathered from a deliberative walk around the property. So in the last two weeks we have been intensively running workshops and deliberative walk trials in a mutual and fruitful collaboration.

Our third co-​design workshop begun with a collective reflexive session followed by Martin’s reflections upon the Erasmus students’ walk trial. One of the key insights shared here was that the tool gave them structure. This leads to empowering its users and simultaneously, by restricting certain actions, focusing and producing efficacy (Calvo, 2017). As one of the participants said: “it was very powerful using this because the tool gave us structure and the individuality came from me about how I did the tour. But it gave me structure and allowed me a degree of freedom but with some guidelines. It gave me much more confidence doing this”. This insight aligns with Er (2014) who states that tools have the ability to guide those who use them but that they also influence the way in which people approach such activity.

After this, we divided into groups of three or four people and we spent the rest of the workshop co-​designing new iterations of the tool enhancing its functions and uses. As a result of this activity, we came up with two postcard tools. Firstly, a short version with two folding postcards – following the first iteration. Secondly, a long version with four folding postcards: one for the walkers as a memory; the second one for capturing reflection-​in-​action during the walk; the third one to capture reflection-​on-​action – once people come back to their homes they can send their reflections by post; and the fourth one is an invitation where the participants can actually invite their friends to participate in the following deliberative walk. This week we have been developing these two versions to test tomorrow during the Harvest Festival, one of the most important engagement events for our partner.

 

References

Calvo, M. (2017) Reflective Drawing as a Tool for Reflection in Design Research. International Journal of Arts & Design Education. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Er, M. (2014) Activity Theory, in D. Coghlan & M. Brydon-​Miller [Eds] The Sage Encyclopedia of Action Research 1. London: Sage, pp. 22–25.