Journalism as Design Research

One of the main themes of the Bespoke project is how journalism can be used to feed into the design process.

After a long set-up period we finally have a number of citizen journalists working in the housing estate that we are designing for, the Callon estate in Preston. A couple of months ago we set them briefs revolving around themes that have emerged over the last year and a half of work, themes such as green spaces, community communication, crime, growing old in Callon and activities for kids.

The journalists took on some of these briefs and last month showed us their pieces that they had create, some video, some written and some slide shows. We then had a few days to discuss the responses and come up with some idea concepts to then present back to the journalists in a press conference style event.

The press conference went well with some blunt and brutal questions coming from the press. We then had some conversations with the citizen journalist before they went back out onto the estate to generate more news content. This next wave of journalism allowed us to narrow down and fine tune our ideas. The hope is that there will be a constant flow of journalism reporting on our ideas and their deployment throughout the whole design phase. We are currently in the process of finishing up the first two prototypes to take down for the estate to see, and hopefully for the journalists to report on. Here are sketches of the two ideas.

The answer to the question can journalism help the design process? will only really become apparent at the end of the deployment when we can gauge the success of the designs.

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