Several MA Design: Expanded Practice students/graduates took part in Makerversity’s Re-Making Place Civic Hack this year. The project brought together practitioners with diverse skills to answer the question: “How can we create new conversations around the use of public space in cities in terms of inclusion, interaction and civic good?”
After an initial event in July facilitated by Hefin Jones (an Associate Lecturer in the Design department at Goldsmiths), three teams worked over the summer on their ideas for reimagining the function of urban public space. The outcomes were then presented in an exhibition at Somerset House during the London Design Festival, competing for a chance to put the proposals into practice and win a six month residency sponsored by the Northbank BID.
The winning team, Hydro-Commons Civic Hack, which included MA graduate Helen Tartaglia, explored ways to drain, absorb and re-use excess rain water. MA students Jheel Kankaria and Tajwar Aziz were part of team ‘Caring for Carers’, investigating how public space can acknowledge the work of unpaid carers. MA student Mingyi Liu was part of the ‘Tree FM’ team looking to turn trees into active stakeholders and city space users.
Before the final presentation, Tajwar and Jheel of team Caring for Carers explained for the Design blog how they developed their project. Their initial focus was on accessibility for people with disabilities, beginning with public transportation; they soon realised that unpaid carers of disabled people (such as family members, partners, friends) also face many issues that are often invisible in public discourse, such as the need to take a break from their caring responsibilities.
The outcome of the team’s work was a pop-up space for relaxation focusing on the carers’ needs, an installation that acknowledges both disabled people and their carers. Alongside MA Design students Tajwar and Jheel, the team also included a legal practitioner.