RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014
||Scrapheap Challenge for Everyday Security
Social and Cultural Geography Research Group
Lizzie Coles-Kemp (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Debi Ashenden (Cranfield University, UK)
Lizzie Coles-Kemp (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
||Wednesday 27 August 2014, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
||RGS-IBG Education Centre
This session will share and explore the design and evaluation of artefacts used in innovative research methods to co-produce understandings of ‘everyday’ security. The term ‘everyday security ‘ relates to security achieved by people on their own terms without institutional intervention to protect aspects of space and place.
Walking the Line
As part of the World Café session that will take place at the RGS-IBG conference 2014, I propose to display a film in which a transatlantic communications cable is followed in its entire length from the point of view of a submarine ROV vehicle.
This film will contrast the theme of “everyday security” with the unseen global infrastructure that we take for granted in our daily online activities. It will also act as an intersection point between the conference’s specialist audience and the specific theme of cyber-security.
The film will be displayed using a large format projection which will act as a backdrop for discussions and informal presentations on the history of undersea cables as well as contemporary challenges they pose in the “post-snowden” era. The timing of the whole “trip” between the landing stations will most likely take several hours and may be timed to fill one full day of the conference, thereby adding a sense of anticipation. The audience may be tempted to return and check on progress in between other sessions, or gather around to see the “arrival” at the end of the day.
This artefact will operate on a couple of levels. First as an approach to data collection, in the time leading up to the conference I will explore various available datasets for seabed topology (easy) and communications cables trajectories (hard). Once the two datasets are combined into the film, it will provide a way to engage with research participants in the conference and provide opportunities for discussions and new insights.
Counter-fictional – Nineteen Eight Four
People often focus on the practical problems associated with money; like earning money, paying bills or protecting what they have. This is understandable as the pressures, which come from a lack of financial stability impact upon almost every aspect of day-to-day life. Although the issues of personal finance are likely to always be of major importance, some of the challenges surrounding money are systemic, even ideological in nature and not always a basic practical problem.
This project will draw upon the research methodology that I’m currently developing within the design interactions department at the Royal College of Art; called counter-fictional design. This method uses social science fiction novels as a framework to develop alternative socially dependent technologies; in this instance an alternative monetary system. The output of these design proposals are then intended to be disseminated within popular culture; through exhibitions, press releases and short stories. Encouraging the general public to question and dream how the monetary system might improve for the betterment of society and not simply personal gain.
To date this methodology has been used to question the traditional economic functions of money. Within this specific project I propose to question how security functions surrounding money and how it might operate within an alternative culture.
Making / Contested / Futures
I am currently doing a design-led research project working closely with a U.S.-based social justice organization on an activist campaign aimed at building alternatives to policing based on the needs and desires of local residents. Our goal is to learn from the stories, experiences, and insights of under-represented city residents to begin to build and / or amplify projects and possibilities (spaces, systems, interventions, environmental changes, etc.) that reflect and expand self-determined ideas of and capacities for creating security, which the organization and allies sometimes describe as “freedom” as opposed to “safety.” We are gathering stories and ideas through interviews and recorded conversations, and are in the process of designing a paper-based outreach and research / data-collection tool that shows the basis and goals of the campaign and is also a markable map of the city, which will allow people to draw or write the concerns, ideas, proposals, and places that tell their stories of the city and its history, present, and future. This project, and the artifact, touch on two areas of interest for the conference and this session: 1) participatory design research on community-based approaches to security, 2) and the use of design to engage broader communities’ ideas and possibilities for alternative visions of, and models for, security.
Cheque Mates – Digital provocations to understand everyday experiences of financial security
Cheque Mates is on the surface a series of three familiar looking artefacts—each is a slight variation of the traditional paper cheque developed as part of a project where we explored the experiences of banking and money management of people over the age of 80. Each of the artefacts represent different approaches to preserving the experiential qualities of the cheque should the British banking sector remove them from circulation, as they often threaten to do.
Being There: The power of cartoons in the understanding of everyday security
This artifact is a toolkit for creating narratives about everyday security. The toolkit helps communities to develop cartoons that reflect how security concerns relate to their everyday lives.
Lego brainstorms: co-producing innovation
This Lego artifact articulates the co-constructed model of everyday security concerns of an organisation. Lego is used to facilitate the articulation of service design demonstrating the effect of space and place on the perception of everyday security.