Our spring semester is off to a great start! Where last semester was more focused on learning and context, this semester is all about doing and action. Our students have narrowed their focus to a small number of projects where they can influence social change in the local Shreveport and Centenary community.
- Gender Neutral Bathrooms: Node identified a need all members of the community to feel safe when using the restroom. We are investigating possible designs for inclusive restrooms, scouting out available single-stall restrooms on campus, and building a website for awareness.
- Downtown Alternate Reality Game: Node identified the revitalization of downtown Shreveport as a community concern. We are designing an interactive game that will encourage young adults to experience downtown art and culture, as well as participate in the creation of new art.
- Shreveport School Design Project: Node identified a need in local middle schools for active engagement through design with their environment. We are organizing a process for participation from both the students and designers to collaborate on motivational or inspirational posters relevant to the stuggles of being in middle school.
- Centenary Voices: Node identified a need on campus for active discussion and timely dissemination of information about campus issues. We are creating a Centenary Voices blog as a safe place to host this discussion in the form of both authored and anonymous postings. Our goal is to find ways for all voices to be heard and have an influence on campus issues such as the Residency Requirement, World Houses and Campus Safety.
We’re excited about these directions, and look forward to sharing more as they progress.
The project for Gender Neutral Bathrooms I think is going to more difficult than I had originally thought it to be. At first I figured all we would do was put different signs on the bathrooms, but now with talk of possible passport points and a scavenger hunt this is proving to be slightly more intense. I am however really excited for the outcome of this project, not only for the people that face this issue, but for the people that are completely unaware of it. When we started talking about raising awareness I got lost in thought of how exactly I found out about it, and honestly it was Sara’s presentation that struck my awareness. It had never really come to mind that some might feel uncomfortable going to the restroom, but it completely makes sense and I couldn’t be more excited about working on this project.
I think the Downtown ARG is a fantastic idea and I’m really looking forward to seeing it evolve and come into fruition.
We spoke about this briefly yesterday, but I want to bring it up again to see what you all think about it. While I think a permanent mural in the downtown area is a great idea, I really like the idea of allowing people to take a part of this mural home with them as an incentive for working on the piece. In order to do this, I think we would need to install a temporary mural instead of a permanent one. Not only would a temporary mural bring a sense of urgency for people to see the piece and participate in the ARG in a timely manner, it would also allow us to give back to the those who were involved. If the mural is successful, I think those who participated in the ARG would find pieces of the mural to be a more than satisfactory gift for their participation.
I am really excited about this project of bringing art into the community and to Centenary. I think the thing I am most excited about has to be the “before I graduate…” wall by the library. I got to see a “Before I die” wall at Venice Beach, and it was one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen. I think that this is a great idea and I am excited to see how the campus and how the community will interact and engage together, because that’s what Node is all about, isn’t it?
I’m excited to see what happens with this project. It sounds creative, innovative, and fun.
In my hometown (Alexandria, LA), our downtown is in the process of being revitalized. Some events/places that have helped this are as follows:
- Tamp & Grind – a super cool coffee shop
- The Bentley – a historic hotel has been bought, the insides will be turned into condos
- Dragon Boat Races – the Alexandria Museum of Art’s annual fundraiser on the Red River
- Zombie Walk – where folks dress up like zombies and hang out downtown (I think it’s pretty lame, but some folks like it)
Maybe these events/places will inspire us in revitalizing Shreveport’s downtown.
So this really has the potential to be a great project and can make an impact on the community. I like the idea of incorporating downtown Shreveport and getting Centenary students to participate. The reason I keep coming back to the history is that Centenary has a rich history with the city, particularly Downtown. I know it doesn’t seem appealing to ask the general public about random facts about on-campus things, but maybe it’d be cool to get random things from the Choir, athletics, and Student Life and how they connect with the surrounding area. You still have alumni that come on campus and I’ve heard a few tell great stories about things they did in amazing things in the city, so that could be an appealing stack holder to target.
As far as doing stuff on campus, I like the idea of doing it on the fence by the library. As long as it makes sense in an area and is visually appealing. Obviously you want the designs to look well, but also think about vandalism…it is still possible in certain spots on campus, people are dumb. Also plus as a whole looks really nice already, especially in the Spring/Summer months, so you’d want to complement that too or keep that in mind when planning things at least. Just a few points I thought of and might at least be worth thinking of. Looking forward to seeing the final thoughts developed in class.
All the proposals were very good and have something to offer in some shape or form. I think Sara has a good framework for both her proposals; I was very impressed with the narrative for Sam’s party. Tiana had a good framework for targeting the Centenary audience and providing some change in how people can access the campus. It also can eventually expand and target places in Shreveport too, which would be spreading social change throughout the city. Aaron and Cadie I liked the design concepts and think both projects can better both the Shreveport area and connect different demographics. Don had a topic that needs a lot of areas addressed. I believe if that is taken then the team needs to have younger members on it who Don can train and pass it on to, because that project could take some time. When selecting top picks, I am looking at variety. I see how some proposals can be combined or have a piece added here or there. I will be looking at diversity of the topics and hoping we take on projects that can cover a range of topics and target both a small focused and larger focused audience. I also think Centenary should be involved in at least one project somehow to keep the Node community implementing an idea within to better raise awareness of who Node is in the campus community.
I think Sara and I could possibly combine our ideas to better Centenary’s community. A more organized community is what we need and by making an app including both gender neutral bathrooms and areas that are safe to smoke in on campus. The current centenary app is ok, it gives you a map of the buildings but it doesn’t tell you where you can smoke on campus or where bathrooms are. I think that the two of our ideas could be meshed together into one and be extremely successful.
The most interesting thing about the Moonbot tour (that I can actually talk about) was the general layout of their workspace. The first thing I liked about it was the fact that they generally had a lot of space to work in. Although each person probably has their own desk the entire space seemed very open. I feel that this sense of openness helps foster a close knit community as opposed to the closed in spaces that cubicles provide in many businesses. They also fully utilized their wall space. There were lots of white boards, story boards, and space for hanging up artwork. This was very useful, because it allows them to literally surround themselves with their ideas. Furthermore this allows them to place physical representations of their ideas on the walls, so they don’t have to rely on their memory. Our working memory is fairly limited, so it is much more efficient to use physical objects than abstract concepts. The last aspect of their studio I really liked was the design. Much of the furniture was very whimsical in nature (eg. the side table that looked like a pool table). I also liked how many of the desks were decorated with objects from games, cartoons, books, etc. This serves a similar function as the utilization of wall space, but it also allows for potential priming effects. This means that creating a “creative” environment through design can actually cause workers to be more creative.
One word: Suh-weet. Wasn’t their space amazing? I particularly enjoyed our discussion in their idea/storyboard (I don’t remember exactly what they called it) room. Seeing their ideas posted all over the walls was really inspiring. It was also pretty need to get a glimpse at what inspires them and how they incorporate these inspirations into their work. The guy who gave us our tour led an interesting discussion about what they look at in terms of employees– “you’re degree doesn’t matter,” “it doesn’t matter what program/coding language you know.” It’s good to know that employers are pretty flexible when it comes to things like this. It gave me hope that finding a job post graduation may not be as difficult as it seems (…fingers crossed). Did anyone else take away something from this discussion about jobs?