Working on the Project

Had a long meeting with my group mate yesterday in the library. We were discussing where we are going with the project – theories, viewpoints and how it all relates to the degree we’re doing.

Because it is a new professional degree, only 5-6 years old, it’s still very much up to us to define what we want to do with it and exactly what the profession should be. At the same time, of course, it is important that we are sufficiently in alignment with what our lecturers think it is about, so on Friday we have a group meeting to bounce some viewpoints off our supervisor, also. See what that does.

In order to get some empirical material, I did a telephone interview with a female naturist yesterday, it was a very lovely lady who was friendly, open and happy – very pleasant to talk to, and I had multiple laughs along the way. She is also a model, so I got a few bits of input on that front, too.

She also told me of their mobile sauna – an old camping caravan stripped of all the furniture and fitted as a sauna, so they are going to drive that one around on the beaches this summer, inviting people in. I’ll admit to giving them a great LIKE on Facebook. What a great idea for an experience design. And simple, too.

Apart from this, I still take some photos, and try to make time for some good long walks.

Purple Flower

Effect Monitoring in the Experience Economy

I’ve just read a book about effect monitoring in the experience economy – it was quite interesting and provided some good models for estimating the effects, not only economical effects but also cultural effects in the short, medium and long term on a participant and societal level.

I don’t have any doubt that cultural and experience projects work. I think we all know they do. The problem comes when we try to talk about it in a causal way – there are too many confounding variables and we simply can’t guesstimate exactly, nor can we compare apples to pears, quantitative and qualitative values. What’s worth more – meaning or better conditions in a field? Hard to tell, huh.

Of course, just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. At the same time though, if we want ROI for things to be worth it, then we certainly do need to have a greater range of returns, more ways to succeed. Because we probably will not make the cash investment back in most areas here.

If we expect that, then we have a problem. If we expect to make societies where people experience meaning, relate, where businesses are creative, innovative, networking – yeah, then maybe it adds up.

I would like such a society. I believe I already live in one but you can never have too much happy!

It’s just when we start trying to measure it, we expect a bottonline. And even for me, who is all about psychology and sociology and aesthetics, it’s difficult to accept the limiting idea of ‘measurements’ and then also not have the result of ‘facts’. I would personally prefer to do things along the lines of ‘Do the right thing and let go of the result’.

Some things, like nature, love, friendships, favours, faith – which all matter to most of us – actually lose value when we try to capture them in words. In a sense, maybe we should just enjoy and get on with it. Definitions by definition limit perspectives.

Hmm. Just pondering.

Next stop: Naturism

The problem statement for my next project is taking form. I will be writing it with a fellow student and we will look at how art and advertisement change the female body ideal and how we might get back to a more realistic sense of how we look and should look. She will be looking into art and I will be looking into live modelling and naturism as ways of getting back into an immediate relationship to oneself.

I am starting to think about places to get data and who it might be good to interview.

Projects are always interesting in an intercultural education like mine – and at the same time tricky because Stuart Hall gets in the way. Well, not Stu himself but the idea that one can send out something with the best of intentions but if the receiver is not close enough to you in a cultural sense, your preferred reading of your intentions can be turned into an opposing understanding. I am hoping this time it will be a bit simpler to land on something that we can be happy with and that the process can be a bit more pleasant, too.

It’s going to be great fun though, I know it. The project topic is one that really matters to me.