If, as if, then: the implications of framing econosociolegal questions as design problems

Mission for the moment from Amanda Perry-Kessaris on Vimeo.

My mission for the moment is to approach econosociolegal questions using graphic design processes (thinking-doing) and products (artefacts-experiences).

Frame Innovation: create new thinking by design  by Professor of Design Innovation Kees Dorst prompted me to consider this as a ‘framing’ mission.  A frame is a metaphor, a way of thinking about a situation as if it were something else, in order to open up creative possibilities. Dorst draws on a range of problem-focused design practices to specify a nine-stage process for creating new frames through which to explore, and innovate in relation to, a problem. Once a possible new frame has been identified, it is activated through a series of propositions following the pattern ‘Ifas if… then‘.

Seen in this light, my ‘mission for the moment’ is to consider propositions beginning ‘If I approach my econosociolegal question as if it were a design problem then…’

I want to understand the implications of such a re-framing across the entire research process. So I will set up a proposition for each stage of that process (conceptualisation, data collection, analysis, dissemination, reflection); and conduct experiments around it.

Conceptualisation

Proposition I

If I approach my econosociolegal question as if it were a design problem then I will use design-based methods to conceptualise that question.’

I have experimented on a number of occasions with helping others to use design-based methods (typography, collage and 3D modelling) to conceptualise their research, their relationship to it, and where they would like it to be. Modelling allows people to physically and visibly think through a complex set of ideas. They are forced to place concepts in relation to each other, or to see that they do not know how they interrelate. The concepts relationships are made available for discussion/wondering with others and for their own decision making. Finally, their thinking process is documented:

Sociolegal model making 4: Discussion
Sociolegal model making 1: Decision
Sociolegal model making  3: Conceptualisation 

I have also experimented with visualising (a design-based technique) perspectives on, and characteristics of, law and related concepts such as value:

Visualising sociolegal concepts using found images
Exploring the potential of materials to ‘fire imagination’ and ‘advance conceptualisation’
Object-based econosociolegal brainstorming
What can graphic design reveal about law?
Using colour theory and typography to think about multi- and inter-disciplinarity

Data collection

Proposition II

If I approach my econosociolegal question as if it were a design problem then I will use design-based methods to collect data relating to that question.’

I have collected data from objects, images and materials:

Object-based econosociolegal brainstorming
How to read an object
Visual communication of division and reunification in Cyprus
Legal Treasure Tour 2016: an audiovisual essay

In future I will collect data by asking interviewees to model their answers in 3D.

Data analysis

Proposition III

If I approach my econosociolegal question as if it were a design problem then I will use design-based methods to analyse data relating to that question’

I have used design-based methods (storyboarding and modelling) to analyse legislation:

Sociolegal model making 2: Analysis from Amanda Perry-Kessaris on Vimeo.

I have used design fiction techniques to imagine the possible futures

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Finally, I have also use design-based methods to typologise materials:

Categorising visual materials

Dissemination

Proposition IV

If I approach my econosociolegal question as if it were a design problem then I will use design-based methods to disseminate my responses to that question’

I increasingly use videos, audio and visual essays to communicate my findings:

STANDARD
VALUE
EXCHANGE
FATHOM

Reflection

Proposition V

If I approach my econosociolegal question as if it were a design problem then I will use design-based methods to reflect upon my research process’

I have used design-based methods to reflect upon ethical and funding issues arising during my research:

Externalise, materialise, confront: on the making of sociolegal worry beads Part 1

Externalise, materialise, confront: on the making of sociolegal worry beads Part 2

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