Sunday, 12 December 2010

Assignment 4: Reading and Reviewing.

 Assignment 4 asked us to look more closely at two of the articles/books we chose in assignment 3 and write in detail about them both. I chose two articles that looked into the area of designing out crime. My first article was "Ghettos Blasted" by John Glenday and my second was "Seeing Is Believing: Notes Toward a Visual Methodology and Manifesto for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design" by Lorraine Gamman and Tim Pascoe. I chose these articles as I found their way of thinking and how they would look into crime prevention interesting.

Assignment 4

The first article I looked at was “Ghettos Blasted” by John Glenday. In this piece he spoke to Miles Watson, founder of Urban Eye, about his campaign to revive downtrodden streets with considered scaleable interventions. He asks the question - isn’t now the time to take a fresh look at our secondary spaces? This article covers all of Watson’s ideas for combating vandalism on the streets, how he would improve them by using art and design rather than installing CCTV cameras and bright lights in a Big Brother type of way.
The most important information in this article is how people are responding to the outlook of the streets just now. Urban Eye took surveys from different cities around the UK and these were the results. 61% of residents would consider taking a taxi rather than walk or cycle through streets covered in graffiti and a whopping 83% would seek to avoid the streets altogether. There is sometimes an exception and graffiti can be considered as art, but only when enough time and effort has been put into it. No one will consider a spray painted wall that has taken barely 5 minutes to do as art. People respond to the work that Urban Eye has done because they take a lot longer and more artistic energy has been put into the pieces.
The charity has looked at James Wilson and George Kelling’s “Broken Windows Theory” and have taken that into account when creating their installations on the streets. They look to create pieces that will discourage vandalism. Some graffiti is inspiring, for example Banksy’s pieces are individual and creative, if more graffiti had the same qualities as Banksy’s work then it may be considered as art. Its all about discovering the fine line between art and vandalism. Watson states - “Graffiti artists are sheep, they’re not people with original ideas. Making that first move requires more.”
Watson comes to the conclusion that improving how an environment looks is much better than controlling what happens within that environment. Basically there’s a better chance of decreasing vandalism by putting up art installations like brightly coloured mosaics to discourage graffiti than to install CCTV as they are more likely to respond badly to the CCTV. Vandals will most likely increase the amount of graffiti they do around the area as it gives them more of a thrill. Miles Watson puts across the idea that a negotiated environment is better to one that is regulated as it places responsibility into the hands of people who are well able to live up to that.
The main point of view presented in this article is that good civic design is about responding to context, not to the general fix. Developing different approaches to crime prevention within an area is better than to just roll out one idea across a city. The idea of fighting vandalism with art installations is more likely to work than just painting over the graffiti, it just creates a blank canvas for them to start again, and once one tag appears then another will follow and so on. By engaging with a community and giving them an input in their local environments Urban Eye believe they can help reduce crime and vandalism in an area

The second article that I read was from Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal, and was written by Lorraine Gamman and Tim Pascoe. The article is based on The Designing Out Crime Association and their thoughts towards a visual methodology: to offer a manifesto for practitioners. So far members of the association have expressed some disappointment that there isn’t much visual evidence of practice-based crime prevention work referred to in their recent debates. They believe that greater emphasis on visual communication will help make the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design case.
The most important information in this article is the documented facts from successful or unsuccessful design so far. This is important to the DOCA as it will help them to improve their designs. For example the “Alleygater” project was presented as a “success story” of crime prevention design, but they had very little visual illustration or assessment of the types of gating. In the photos that were shown in the article they didn’t seem to compliment the housing they were supporting and it was suggested they had a “criminal appearance”. Gamman and Pascoe mention that the gates may have reduced the actual recorded incidents of crime but may also have increased the fear of crime for some residents. This shows that we cannot really know how successful something is unless we have the facts and visual aids. These will help the DOCA to monitor, assess and manage the designing out crime projects.
The writers of this article have come to the conclusion that a visual methodology and a visual archive of designing out crime will help the prevention of crime. The use of visual imagery of before and after design processes may help the success of designing out crime. Without the aid of photographs of previous designs DOCA

Both of the articles make strong and quite different points about crime prevention and how to go about it. Some points are quite contrasting but overall they both aim to prevent crime within an environment. While the first article focuses in on how to discourage the vandalism side of crime within an area the second article looks more into crime prevention in a larger sense. John Glenday talks about Urban Eye and their idea of reviving downtrodden streets with art installations such as ceramic mosaics while also preventing graffiti vandalism. Whereas Gamman and Pascoe look at how gates and walls can prevent crime. They also believe that visual evidence is always an important part to the success of designing out crime. The idea of gates and CCTV in article two contrast with article one’s views on how CCTV and harsh white street lights create an almost prison like atmosphere on the streets and that they can increase the fear of crime. Miles Watson from Urban Eye in article one says “Good civic design is about responding to context, not the general fix”. I believe that the concept put across in article one is better as it involves the communities input and tries to see the best in the people living in an area. It is as though the charity Urban Eye hopes that people will respond well to being treated as responsible citizens, rather than dangerous children that need looking after.


Gamman, L. and Pascoe, T. (2004) "Seeing Is Believing, Crime Prevention and Community Safety". An International Journal.

Glenday, J. (2010) "Ghettos Blasted, Ghetto Concerto". Urban Realm (Summer Issue)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Textiles in Practice.

So a few weeks ago I had my textiles in practice 3 week block. During these 3 weeks we got to try out some knitting, printing and mixed media, and in each section managed to translate our sketchbook work into samples. I really enjoyed my time doing knitting and mixed media, not so much printing though. I found I couldn't really produce anything that I liked and went well with my sketchbook work but I will post some photos of the most successful pieces. I think my favourite must have been the mixed media week. Don't get me wrong, I loved the knitting week too but I feel much more comfortable on a sewing machine than a knitting one. Mostly because if I do anything wrong I know how to fix it. Here's some examples of the samples I produced:




Some development work..

So this past week or so I've been rather busy preparing all my work for my assessment. Everything is now handed in to be marked so I thought there would be no better time to do a few posts as I've been neglecting my blog recently. Managed to take some more photos from my sketchbook today while I was setting out all of my things so I thought I'd post them. Here is some examples of the type of development work I have been working on:

In the two drawings above I worked with photocopies. Cutting out shapes from previous drawings in my sketchbook and working into them by adding a background or drawing on top of them.

In this drawing I put down a brown ground just by using a pencil which I smudged in and applied some masking tape to the bottom right. I also used some old brown packing paper which I had rolled up to create a crinkled effect in the first drawing. I then melted a gold wax stick to draw with, I really like the textured effect it created.

In this drawing I again put down a brown ground and used strips of thick masking tape but I only did a simple drawing using brown ink and a dip pen.

In this piece I again worked on top of a photocopy which I have cut up into strips. I then added some more vibrant yellowy/golds and browns on top using paint on top of which I drew some simple linear trees.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Assignment 3: Looking Up, Looking Down.

In assignment two I looked at the chapter "The Power Of Context" and from this I chose to look more into the "Broken Windows Theory" and the rise and fall of crime rates. I focused more into how the environment of an area affects the crime rate and how new housing developments and estate clean-ups can cause a decrease in these rates. For this assignment I have furthered my research into this topic and have found books, journals and websites that relate particularly well to my topic.

  Colquhoun, I. (2004) Design Out Crime: Creating Safe and Sustainable Communities.

Ian Colquhoun speaks about how the public's concern about crime is at its highest and he approaches this subject throughout his book. He looks into the design and management of the urban environment in residential areas.

  Crouch, S., Shaftoe, H. and Fleming, R. (1998) Design For Secure Residential Environments. United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.

This book looks into how the risk of crime can be reduced through sensible design of houses, community buildings and small commercial premises and the environment immediately surrounding the buildings.

  Ganman, L. and Pascoe, T. (2004) "Seeing Is Believing, Crime Prevention and Community Safety". An International Journal.

In this journal Ganman and Pascoe also look into how design can prevent crime. They look at how maybe even though something is designed and works to prevent crime it can cause people to fear crime more. They believe that how things look can also create a negative aesthetic in some contexts.

  Glenday, J. (2010) "Ghettos Blasted, Ghetto Concerto". Urban Realm (Summer Issue)

In this article John Glenday refers to founder of Urban Eye, Miles Watson's campaign to revive downtrodden streets with considered scaleable interventions. Watson talks about how certain areas are becoming so bad that people would rather take cabs than walk through their town. Also that we need to address the issue of where the line can be drawn between graffiti and vandalism. He also mentions the idea of the "Broken Windows Theory" which helps to tie in this article and my topic quite well.

  Glenday, J, (2010) "All Hail Polphail, Rural Decay". Urban Realm (Summer Issue)

Glenday looks into how graffiti can be seen positively rather than negatively. That it can also be seen as a piece of art. He talks about an old derelict, ghost town of a village attracted talented enthusiasts that brought life to the place. The rotting canvas has liberated the creative impulses of artists who have infused their personality onto a forgotten landscape and have added some culture to it. 15 November 2010.

This website not only has examples of how design can help prevent crime in a large sense but in a smaller sense too. It provides designs by many different artists working together. Some examples of the pieces found on this website are, the Grippa design for tables in coffee shops and bars. These are hooks that will be attached to under the table which hold your bag, making it harder for it to be stolen. There is also the Bikeoff Secure Bike Parking Stands which encourage people to lock up their bikes frame and both wheels. It also provides support for the bicycle to stand against. 17 November 2010.

This is a brochure that has more examples of products that have been produced to help prevent crime. It includes some of the designs that are shown in the design against crime website I have also looked at but in this brochure it goes into more detail and has more information about the designs.

As a part of assigment two we were also asked to look at ten websites of our choice. We could choose anything we wanted as long as five were related to textiles in some way or another and the other five could be to do with anything else that we found interesting. I found some pretty interesting websites for my textiles five, I will definitely be using them a lot more in the future. For the other five I chose some basic news websites that have information from all over the world.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

Assignment 2b: Discussion / 2c: Thinking

I met up with my brainstorming group for lunch today to begin our discussion about the ideas we came up with last week. We looked into more detail about how the power of context related to design in a number of ways. I had chosen to look more into detail at the "Broken Windows Theory" and how it could be pursued. I thought about how this theory is used around us in the world today, that it just isn't used within the subways but all over the place.

Back home where I live there is lots of housing estate developments happening. The "Broken Windows Theory" is all around us and we just dont notice it. The cleaning up of urban areas is making places a lot nicer to live in. Where I live now used to be an old school that had been shut down for many years. They demolished it all and now there is a large housing estate. They have also now knocked down the high rise flats nearby and are in the process of building new houses just across the road. Where I live was once referred to as scummy and not a very nice place to live but its moving up. It's attracting more and more people to live there.

Below I have hopefully summarised all of my thought processes throughout this assignment into a poster. One that shows how my specified chapter "The Power of Context" relates to design.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Assignment 2a: Brainstorming.

For the first part of our second assignment we were to have a brainstorming session. So thats what we did last friday. During this time we looked at the chapter we chose as our detailed part of our mindmap in assignment one. We discussed the ways in which design relates to our Tipping Point chapter, for me this was The Power Of Context. Here are a few photos from my groups brainstorming session.

Make Things Make Sense.

In today's lecture we had a guest speaker, Hazel White. She spoke about jewellery design, how she personally went about her projects and other designers and their work. There was a particular piece of hers that I found really interesting. It was the "Hamefarers Kist".
This particular piece was developed after Hazel came back from a visit to Shetland. It was a piece that incorporated both technology and beautiful handcrafted objects.An iPhone was integrated into the box and rfid technology embedded into small knitted cushions. So when the cushions passed in front of the iPhone photos were shown up on the screen. Another great thing about this piece was that each cushion in the box could relate to a different person, therefore showing different photos and memories. It is said that it is like a more modern type of memory box.
I think the "Hamefarers Kist" is an amazing piece because it is so easy to use. Older and younger people can both use it as its so basic. The iPhone embedded in the box is also a single use device which means people wont get distracted with emailing, texting or calling others, it is focused on only the photos on-screen and the memories held within each photo.

Video of the "Hamefarers Kist".

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Luck Factor.

I decided to do a little research into the whole lucky/unlucky part of last Friday's lecture. I found a book called "The Luck Factor" by Dr. Richard Wiseman online and I found what he was saying very interesting. He looks at the power of luck and investigates how our lives are affected by it. This research revealed that there was four main differences between lucky and unlucky people, these are;

1. Lucky people consistently encounter chance opportunities and meet people who have a very beneficial effect on their lives. In contrast unlucky people rarely have these sorts of experiences or they meet people that have a negative effect on their lives.

2. Lucky people make good decisions without knowing why. Unlucky people’s decisions tend to
result in failure and despair.

3. Lucky people's dreams, ambitions and goals have an uncanny knack of coming true. Unlucky people are the exact opposite.

4. Lucky people have an ability to turn their bad luck into good fortune. Unlucky people lack this ability and their bad luck causes nothing but upset and ruin.

He then concentrated his research efforts on understanding the different ways in which lucky and unlucky people thought and behaved. He asked the question - "Do lucky and unlucky people approach life in the same way, and if not, were different viewpoints responsible for creating the positive and negative events in their lives?" He came up with four principles in the way in which lucky people think.

The first principle is "Make Your Luck". He found that lucky people create, notice and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives, they also aim to build and maintain a strong "network of luck". Lucky people also have a relaxed attitude toward life and are open to new experiences.
   The second principle is "Your Gut Is Right". This is all about how lucky people make successful decisions by using their intuitions and gut feelings. They also take steps to boost their intuition.
   The third is "Expect The Good". This principle is about how their expectations about their future help them to fulfil their dreams. Lucky people also expect their good luck to continue in the future and attempt to achieve goals even if their chances of success seem slim.
   And lastly the fourth principle is "Fix Your Luck". Wiseman believed that lucky people are able to transform their bad luck into good fortune and they can even see the positive side of their good luck.

I found all this extremely interesting as it just shows just by the way in which a person is thinking can alter how lucky or unlucky that person is. So in reality someone could create their own luck. Just by taking a few simple steps someone could bring luck into their life bit by bit.
Luck is only believing you're lucky.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Good design, Bad design.

Today, our lecturer Jonathan Baldwin, tried a little experiment on us. Male vs female. Some of you may have heard of it, others not.
We watched a video of six people split into two groups of three. One group is wearing white t-shirts and the other group is wearing black t-shirts. Both groups were passing a basketball to each other. So everyone in the lecture had to count how many times the people in white passed the ball around between them.

Seems simple doesn't it? It was. Too simple, but there was a catch. Before Jonathan played this video though he told us something. That some people he knew discovered something - "Females cant count". So as we were all watching this video all the girls were concentrating extra hard to prove this statement wrong. During the video though there was a gorilla walking between the two groups and dancing. Surprisingly when our lecturer was asking us questions about the video there was quite a lot of people had missed the gorilla, they hadn't noticed it. Jonathan revealed to us that what he had said before about females not being able to count was a lie. He told us it so we would focus more on the video, therefore missing the gorilla.

I find this really strange but also fascinating, that some people focus so hard on something that they filter other things that are happening around them out. There was another experiment that we were told about. A bunch of people who thought they were either lucky or unlucky were asked to go through a newspaper and count how many photos of people there were in it. But in the middle of the newspaper there was a plain advertisement with no photos, just text, that said "once you see this advertisement stop counting the photos and go claim your £200". All of the unlucky people missed this advertisement because they were focusing so hard on finding the photos and all of the lucky people saw the advertisement as they were just casually looking through the paper, taking everything in.

After the lecture I thought about these experiments and about how they affect everyone. Its scary to think about what we could miss just by focusing too much. I never knew it could be possible. I've always considered myself as unlucky and to know that I would have probably been one of those that had missed the advertisement is kind of gutting. Missing out on £200 just because I was concentrating too much. So from now on I'll definitely be taking everything in. Make sure I don't miss anything that goes on around me.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Patterns in Nature: Research.

I have eventually gotten round to taking some photos of my sketchbook work so thought it was about time to post some of it on my blog.It took me quite a while deciding on what to do for this project. What kind of natural pattern I would branch off into. Branch being the important word here, I finally decided on trees. In my drawings I tried to portray a sense of pattern within the shapes and textures found in trees. Here us a little sample of some pieces of work:

In this piece I have focused on the shape of the tree and drawn it using masking tape. I then put a light wash of watercolour over the page and removed the masking tape. Last of all I added some more detail to highlight the shape using brown ink and a dip pen.

I have concentrated on the texture in this particular piece. Even though you can't see it very well I have layered masking tape to create lots of texture. I believe this worked quite well but next time I'd use more masking tape to give it a more 3d effect.

In this piece I tried to recreate the image thats stuck on the left sketchbook page. I first put down a ground by rubbing in small flakes of charcoal with some newsprint. Then I stuck down some ripped up pieces of masking tape and painted over them with some white and cream coloured paint. And after I pulled off the masking tape I was left with the effect shown in the photo above.

In this sketchbook page I first put down a painted background, then I did a left hand drawing on top using black ink and a dip pen. When I closed my sketchbook I also managed to get a mirror image printed onto the opposite page.

For this piece I applied paint using a small plastic spatula, I really liked the effect it created and the paint also dried quicker than usual which was a plus. On top of it i drew the shapes made by branches of a tree using a fine liner pen.

Assignment 1 - Annotated Bibliography.

As the last part of the first assignment, we were asked to create a bibliography for the section of “The Tipping Point” that we chose to focus in on. For me this was “The Power Of Context”. The bibliography was to be in Harvard Style, this I found quite difficult but I think I have managed it. Each of the references were also supposed to be annotated, so I'm hoping I've done it right.


Fletcher, G. (1988) A Crime of Self Defense, New York: Free Press.
  - Bernie Goetz became a symbol in New York History, when the crime problem had reached epidemic proportions. He was treated as a hero, the “Subway Vigilante”.

Rubin, L. (1986) Quiet Rage: Bernie Goetz in a Time of Madness, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  - Gladwell has included this reference as it backs up what he says about how Goetz wasn’t acting normal when approached by the four men. He acted viciously and savagely, his field of view had changed.

Massing, M. (1998) “The Blue Revolution” New York Review Of Books, pp.32-34.
  - This book has been referenced as it gives a good summary of the New York City Crime Statistics. This helps backup what Gladwell is saying about the state of the streets and the underground, and how it could only be described as chaotic.

Kelling, G. and Coles, C. (1996) Fixing Broken Windows, New York: Touchstone.
  - The Broken Windows Theory was the brainchild of James Q. Wilson and George Kelling. They believed that if a window was broken and people saw it then a sense of anarchy would spread. Minor problems would escalate into more serious crimes.

Friedman, M. (1985) My Neighbour Bernie Goetz, New York.
  - Gladwell has referenced this so he can tell the reader about the background of Bernie Goetz and provide them with some information of what he was like before the shooting.

Miller, G. (1956) “The Magical Number Seven” Psychology Reports (vol. 63, no.2)
  - This “Magic Number Seven” Miller speaks of has come about from the idea that we have some sort of limitation built into us. This is a limit that keeps our channel capacities in a general range.

Buys, C. and Larsen, K. (1979) “Human Sympathy Groups” Psychology Reports (vol.45) pp.547-553
  - This reference backs up what Gladwell says about the people on your sympathy list. The people that we devote most of our attention to, people that we have invested our time in.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Assignment 1: Mapping Meaning

Our first assigment in Design Studies was all about creating a mindmap to summarise Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point. I have to admit I was a little wary of this assigment when we were first told about it as I'm more a bullet point type of person. I found it a little hard to get into at first but after a while I managed to get the hang of it. This assignment has also helped me to condense how many notes to take as I usually make far too many and end up with pages and pages of them.

This first mindmap is a summary of what I thought were the main points in each of the chapters.

My second mindmap is a much more detailed version than the first mindmap. It is also only based on one chapter, the one I found most interesting, The Power Of Context.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Patterns in nature.

For my main project I have been looking at the patterns found within the way in which trees grow, in the shadows they create and also patterns found in their bark. So far I have been experimenting with different materials and techniques to show these patterns. Here are some examples of the photos that i've used in my sketchbook so far;

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Here it goes ...

So this year we’ve been asked to start a blog as a part of Design Studies. This means attempting to post regularly, recording my progress on assignments and studio projects. Wish me luck!