Testing a Design Project ‘Table Mats’ – Testing Storytelling as an Engagement Tool in the City « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

Testing a Design Project ‘Table Mats’ – Testing Storytelling as an Engagement Tool in the City

This project was one of 20 ideas developed under the theme of storytelling in the city. It was mocked up in afew hours and tested in a Dublin restaurant, LemonJelly on Millenium Walk, Italian Quarter, Dublin 1, lunchtime. There was a positive response from management, waiting staff and customers. Management would be happy to repeat.


To test the idea of using table-mats in restaurants to communicate, elicit or provoke engagement with Dublin city among citizens using the theme of storytelling


Sitting down to eat is a time for pause, reflection and often involves a waiting period for food to arrive whether alone or with friends. It is a natural context and opportunity for conversation. Often one fiddles with the salt or reads what one finds lying on the table. It is an ideal moment in which to have a conversation with a tablemat!

Design Prototypes

Various table mat designs were developed to get people engaged in a fun way, some to draw out feelings about Dublin, others to try different engagement tools eg. inviting to write, inviting to make, inviting to tell a story.


• can be readily produced
• low budget
• flexible in their content
• facilitate thematic content
• can bringing together various stakeholders under an objective
• have widespread reach
• have volume use
• can be collected for 2-way feedback loop
• can be posted
• can be used stand-alone or with facilitation

Sample Applications

• collect stories from Dubliners
• collect opinions
• show thematic maps of the city
• ask questions of Dubliners
• provoke conversations at meals
• display surprising statistics about Dublin
• invoke memories of Dubliners

Comments are closed.