Positions through Dialogue

The researcher I engaged with is Laura Knight, who is a practitioner in data visualisation. My previous enquiry was, "How does design influence individuals' perception and contribute to their engagement in social discourse?" In my prior projects, I first explored how graphic design translates people's dissent with censorship into symbolic visual expressions to challenge the censorship system. My second project explored using sarcasm to provoke discomfort and initiate discussions. I found my inquiries lacked depth and specificity, and I wasn't sure how to proceed.

Laura introduced an approach - shifting my inquiry from solely "what" to "So what? Now what?" Previously, my focus had been on recognising issues and articulating familiar topics. However, it's essential to delve deeper by asking "Why does it matter to us?" This self-questioning has compelled me to scrutinise the deeper connotations of these issues, contemplating practical outcomes rather than remaining superficial. It has encouraged me to envision its potential influence on the audience.

Laura also emphasised the audience-centric perspective. I had often been preoccupied with my own aesthetic preferences and showcasing what I already knew. However, Laura inspired me to clearly define my target audience and, more critically, to ponder what new insights or actions they would derive from my work after engaging with it. This perspective is particularly important, because my focus is on initiating discussions and participation in social issues. So viewing projects from the lens of the target audience ensures that they can resonate effectively with the intended viewers.

Following our discussion, I also recognised the value of starting projects from smaller entry points. I could involve identifying common misconceptions or entrenched thought patterns in society, and challenging them through visual means. Also, it could be helpful if I consciously incorporating audience feedback into the creative process, so I can fine-tune my work to be more impactful and relevant.

And, incorporating data into my research was another invaluable lesson from Laura's practice. While it is not necessarily requiring the standard of scientific papers, my projects would benefit from a degree of research support, such as testimonials, interviews, and qualitative data. These elements add depth and credibility to the work, making it more informed and persuasive.

In conclusion, my discussions with Laura have provided me with a method to advance my approach in visual research. Transitioning from superficial inquiries to deeper reflections, adopting an audience-centric perspective, and acknowledging the importance of data-driven research represent pivotal shifts that will shape my future projects.

Tuesday Oct 5 2021