Persona tools – spreading ideas

VEIL uses a series of tools to kickstart the process of engaging with 2032 during the Hubs.  These tools have developed and evolved from work with Social Innovation & Systems designers like Francois Jegou, Ursula Tischner and Ezio Manzini.

Some of the most effective tools we use are persona exercises in the form of diary entries. ”A day/week in my life” is a one-page exercise (although both sides of the paper often end up covered with ideas and scribbles) that gets designers and academics imagining the minutiae of a day in this future city of Melbourne 2032. The stories allow us to collectively examine the details and assumptions that are embedded in these imaginary lives.

More recently Dianne Moy has been using these tools to great effect in workshops with students.  Below are some examples from Sidh Sintusingha’s Creative Technologies studio, run in Semester 1, 2009.

In Russia, I grew most of my own food – if I didn’t grow it, I would buy it from a farmer at the local market.  When I moved to Melbourne, I was not too happy about buying “perfect” veggies from the supermarkets.  5 years ago, a group of us teachers started hooking up our school with the local community gardens on “Garden Day Fridays”.  These days, more than 15 schools are involved, and each has a 2km radius of connected food-producing gardens around it, providing food for the students and employment for asylum seekers.

Marina, 38 (Teacher)

These days, school-places are allocated according to where parents work, instead of where the family lives. My kids wait for me to finish every day in the company’s family centre and can play with the other children. Our office building supports vertical farms, like most others in the area, and some of my workday includes time for seed-saving and hand-pollination of the vegies.

Martha, 35, Office worker & vertical gardener

The Community Aged Centre where I live now is involved in the Urban Food Program.  There was an abandoned roof garden here that was supposed to be a recreation area for residents.  New materials and technology helped us to reinvigorate the area.  Now that it is used for growing food, many of us have become really involved in the day-to-day gardening or the vegie sales to the surrounding area.

Von Deer Bree, 78, Retiree

After I lost my insurance job, I learnt about water harvesting and earthworks at the local community gardens. Now I teach newly-arrived immigrants about watering their food gardens using greywater and wetland filtration. I am also involved in teaching propagation techniques for the heirloom fruit and vegetables we grow here in the Biodome – our major defense against genetically-modified seed-contamination.

Judy, 75, Water-systems teacher

In my day-job, we farm intensively across the EBD, using closed-systems as much as possible. We have reached the stage where we can produce our own mulch now. In my spare time, I volunteer with a program set up by the Salvos. The HomeGrown Balcony Initiative connects volunteers with low-income families. We work together to construct and install food-producing balcony gardens, and provide ongoing training where requested.

Ryker, 32, Urban gardener