Monday, March 16, 2009

Scenario Presentation: Learning about composite images in DCC

Sharing the visualization of ones experience: Preparing for team work through articulation of ones deep insights and experiences.

Prof. M P Ranjan

Image 01: Scenario presentation to the whole class on Saturday morning in the NID Foyer area. Forty six of the students had completed their work and come forward to share their experiences during their Environmental Perception course at Gundala, Hingolgadh and Bhoira villages in Rajkot District of Gujarat.

Scenario visualization was introduced to the class as a way forward in the early stage of design expression first to articulate an individual designers undestanding of a given situation or experience and in this case all our students had a recent exposure to a village having lived there for a week and interacted with local people in a rich context of sharing and learning. The effort to make a composite image of their week long interaction is an effort to reflect on their experience and to use the skill sets that have been acquired during the foundation programme in order to show their colleagues an exact image of what relationships and priorities each of them had perceived while they carried out their observations in the village.

Image 02: Two examples of scenario visualization from the Gundala group taken at random from the display softboard.

Each scenario was a rich representation of many elements and actions that the students had gleaned from their village exposure, some for the first time in their lives, and learning new things from the environment would be a lifelong task for a designer since in most cases we would be working at the cutting edge of change and in areas that are new and unexplored from which the designers are expected to make sense and bring some clarity to the fuzzy contexts through a variety of processes of sense making. Scenario visualization is one such sensemaking tool that we use as part of our work in the field with rich patterns of people and life actions that are filled with both traditions and change.

Image 03: Students from all three groups volunteered to make presentations and after the first round some were invited by faculty to come forward and share their scenarios with a rich discourse of their insights as well as intangible experiences and feelings. It is this rich discourse that makes design discussions so compelling and insightful to team members. This is also an opportunity for the individual to reflect on ones experience with an external model as an aide memoir and in the process discover deeper patterns that may not have been apparent when the scenario was being created in the first place.

Each student came forward with rich descriptions and some used the image to build another layer of description that added value to the story and showed their insights from the experiences in such a way that shared perspectives could be built with the whole group. What was striking was the different angles from which each student approached the same event or activity and in this discussion they could share their personal perspective with the other colleagues for the first time and the outcome is a multiple view of a situation and not a unitary view from a position of authority of any one individual. This is a useful bit of learning about a typical design situation with multiple approaches and outcomes possible and not just a single outcome as is expected in math and some science results.

Image 04: Hingolgadh village study team in front of their display softboard before commencement of the presentations. Those not present missed the interesting session.

The Hingolgadh team mapped out the contours of their village experience as well as several particular aspects that were highlighted as individual experiences. This is typical of design when many team members are able to provide a variety of insights that contribute to a new synthesis of the whole village while working as a team.

Image 05: Bhoira village study team in front of their display softboard. Those not present missed the discussions in the class.

Bhoira team too mapped out their individual scenarios and many elements and attributes overlapped with those identified by the other teams. However each village had some unique features and these were identified and kept as pointers for future reference as the course went forward with the major assignments that would follow.

Image 06: Gundala village study team was the biggest group but even here some students missed the presentation. Those who missed the event have been asked to submit the work on Monday for a final submission and we hope that they comply with the requirements of this assignment.

When we have a large group looking at one village we can clearly see the variety of perspectives that each of us can bring to a particular situation. This is a very valuable aspect of design learning and action, one which we had seen in the Calico Museum visit when 40 students had created such diverse expressions after one single shared visit to the Museum over one morning in the field in 1999 as shown in the previous post. This Calico Museum visit has been documented and a quicktime movie file with all the individual expressions of scenario as visualized by the group is available for download from this link below:
Calico Museum visit scenarios from DCC1999 class as a downloadable QuickTime movie file of 14.6 mb size.

Prof. M P Ranjan

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