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Today was a really interesting experience. Eva and Rebecca were the visiting speakers, and they gave a presentation about the work they had done in the past. I found the projects they had done with small societies and groups the most inspiring, especially the ones in public spaces. For example, there was a specific project they were working on in Elephant and Castle to help rejuvenate the shopping centre. I think this highlighted how communication and group events can have a really positive impact on residents. I also found the performance pieces Rebecca had done really interesting, and it made me want to push the boundaries of graphics again to try something new and different.


In the second part of the day we tried a really interactive and exciting task which was to get in our groups and create a sculpture out of alginate and the spaces between our clasped hands. This highlighted to me the endless bounds of what we could do during our research time, and how no idea was too wacky. As we waited for the alginate to solidify, we were given questions to mull over and talk through.


I think during the trip to Berlin we should do something similar to this, pick a topic and debate it each night. It’s always interesting to understand other people’s viewpoints on an issue, especially if they are different to your own. I think the interactivity is what made this task really great, and it was definitely more than your average bonding experience!


The group lunch also gave us incentive into how we should be coexisting during the trip to Berlin. This sharing of ideas, food and care throughout the day was really interesting and I think it outlines the basis of working in groups. It was also just really sweet that people had brought in dishes that they’d made, and the amount of care that went into providing for other people.


In the latter part of the day, we were split into our groups again, and had to brainstorm what our Commune manifesto was going to be about. At first, it was really difficult to find some common ground, especially when you don’t know everyone in the group that well. Also, trying to think outside of the box, and trying to make yourself inspired can be very hard. However, as I was writing down random words to spur us on, we broached the subject of old vs. new, which is something I often attack in my work, through discussing over-digitisation of everything etc. Suddenly, everyone was agreeing and we started to form a plan where we would take all our pictures on film, abstain from using any form of social media and try to really immerse ourselves in the experience of going to Berlin, instead of viewing it through a camera lens.


The only thing that worries me slightly about this particular rule is that Dom, someone in the group, will be filming everything, and refused not to use social media. (Which to me makes the whole point of the manifesto kind of useless). However, that’s just one exception.


We also decided that during the trip we’d do a collaborative drawing each night, with the subject being our day in Berlin. I think this is a really good idea as it’s an innovative way of keeping track of what happened. Like a visual journal, which is much more interesting than a ‘Today I…’ kind of thing.


I think this workshop was really helpful and exciting, and definitely got me to think about how I could push the boundaries of traditional research methods during the trip to Berlin.

© Molly Wilhelmina Johnson, all rights reserved