Students on London College of Communication’s MA Interaction Design Communication course recently took part in a social media modelling workshop run locally in Elephant & Castle by The Trumpet, specialists in crowd-powered change.
After taking over a unit in The Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation, South Bank University’s business incubator and start-up hub, The Trumpet organised a series of community-focused events based around urban creativity. The first was Everybody Needs Somebody, run by designers and researchers Dr Kevin Walker and LCC alumnus John Fass.
Just as an architectural model shows the fine detail of a building development, a social network model shows how we are linked to the people closest to us. Participants in the workshop were invited to make tangible, physical objects out of everyday materials in order to build up a picture showing how people are connected to each other.
Each person was given a tile and was asked to stick coloured pins into it, connected to each other by coloured elastic, representing six people in their network. They then wrote short descriptions of how they knew each person. The finished artefacts externalised individual social networks, which can be difficult to see or understand as they are complex and change frequently, in a way that retained human values – and a sense of fun.