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Growing together project: Third workshop – 31/10/21

Reflections from the fieldwork activities

Date Published: 08 November 2021

The ‘Growing Together’ research team in partnership with ‘The Good Things Collective’ hosted the third of five micro-gardening workshops at the site on the corner of Sefton Road and Cavendish Road in Morecambe.

This workshop was advertised locally on posters in local community centres, on social media and at the site itself. This workshop was attended by five members of the micro-gardening group.

This workshop aimed to offer both a written and verbal critique of three designs that were created based on outputs from our previous workshop to inspire participants to ideas that could work in the micro garden. The chosen designs increased in complexity and this was a useful method for determining how simple/ complex the micro-gardeners wanted to make the barometer.

The first design offered a linear approach that we’ve termed the ‘abacus’ design. It was based upon the idea of moving an apparatus along a line with a negative icon at one end, to a positive icon at the other with its position indicating the wellbeing of a person or plants. The group felt that the pros of this design were its simplicity and ease of use. However, it was limited by the fact that each aspect of the thriving/ struggling line had to be displayed separately, which meant that more complex feelings could not be represented.

The second design again took a linear approach, but this time the line was arc-shaped and we introduced more colour so we called this the ‘rainbow’ design. This design again displayed the positive and negative icons at each end, but this time they were joined by coloured sections that ran from red at the negative end, through amber to green at the positive end. The group felt that this use of both colour and icon together improved the ease of use of the design and the gradated colours allowed for more exploration of feelings. However, again the concept was very disjointed with each pair of icons displayed separately- the design didn’t enable the interaction of multiple emotions or scenarios within a single frame of view.

The third design was the most complex. Five pairs of icons were arranged in a flower petal shape with each pair joined by a line of gradated red, amber and green sections. We named this the ‘petal’ design. Participants were asked to select a point along each line of pairs and then join them as in a polar graph. This graph rather divided the group- some members thought it the most interesting of the three designs because it had a level of complexity that allowed for more of interplay between emotions/ garden aspects within a single frame of view and it had relevant imagery through the floral pattern, whereas other members felt it was too complex to be user friendly.

We then divided the group into three sets of pairs and gave them a variety of craft materials that they could use to explore and design their own wellbeing barometer concept. The first group created a vertical abacus design based upon the use of adding coloured pebbles with holes drilled through them onto a stick. The second group created a circular design with colourful segments. The third group created a more complex ‘petal’ based design featuring an origami-style barometer that opened up telescopically revealing new colours and icons as each section was pulled out further.

We will ask the gardeners to continue to develop their barometer designs within the next workshop with the aim of unifying the group through a design that appeals to both the ‘simple ease of use’ abacus and rainbow group and the ‘petal’ group that prefers more complexity and aesthetic design.

If you are interested in attending our future workshops please contact Dr. Mirian Calvo for upcoming dates and further information.