Extremely belated post here, but better late than never.
On October 13th, we ran our first interview process. In attendance were; Nessa Darcy, representing OWLS; Diana O’Connor, who works with youth Theatre; Mervyn, a social worker; Jenny O’Leary, an architect who volunteers with Smithfield community gardens and Tom Stewart from The Exchange in Temple Bar. An ad-hoc addition was Moira, who thought what we were doing looked interesting and so joined in the interview process.
Segment 1 – Introductions
We welcomed everyone into the space as they arrived and tried to make them feel comfortable by offering them tea, coffee and cakes. We explained a little about what our plan for the day was and what Designing Dublin was about. We then asked them to pair off and find out a little about each other. We then sat on some sofas arranged in a square (we referred to it as the squircle). Everyone introduced their conversation partner, describing what they’d discovered about them. Then everyone was given the choice to add anything else they’d like to say about themselves or make corrections, but everyone was content with how the other person had summarised them.
Section 2 – First round of discussion
Initial warm up questions revealed that two of our group lived in the city. Another two in addition stated that they visit often. We asked them what their last good experience was, or to talk about any good experience they’d had in the City in the past.
Jenny told us of an experience she had at the central bank where a group left musical instruments around so as people could try them out. Even children tried it with tambourines.
Mervyn spoke about the humour of people. He also spoke of the pull of the City when he returned home after living abroad.
Nessa told us of the twilight sun shining along the Liffey on the recent culture night. It was a golden yellow and created a sense of beauty along the river.
Diana spoke of the music she hears walking about.
Tom spoke of the blood bond in the City, he loves the sense of this.
This tended to drift into some of the negative sides of the City as well.
Tara expressed a wish to explore this later.
The conversation then moved to community but tended to leave Diana out.
John steered the conversation so as to include youth as a community.
Section 3 – Ideation and Voting
Tara handed out markers and small pads to the participants and asked them to write down one change they would make to the city if they had a magic wand and explained there would be a vote to determine which one the group thought was the best.
When this was done the participants hung them on the wall and were asked to pitch their idea and to explain why people should vote for their idea. The vote was held by placing small stickers on the voter’s favourite idea. The most popular were;
“Listening Posts” – an initiative to have quiet sections in bars, without loud music, etc., where people could have an opportunity to chat.
“Hug Dublin Monument” – an idea to either hug a pre-existing monument or to build a new one specifically to be hugged to act as a focal point for the city.
“Celebrate Without Alcohol Abuse” – an idea to hold festivals, parties, etc, without alcohol.
“Public Pride in the Environment of the City”
Section 4 – Discussion
We then placed these four post-its on the wall next to the ‘squircle’ where all the participants could see them. Tara asked if there was an identifiable thread running through the four chosen ideas.
The consensus appeared to be ‘We are not very proud of Dublin’. Some discussion took place around this;
Jenny stated that we need a focal point like the Eiffel tower in Paris.
Diane felt there was a very negative feeling toward the spire and maybe we should focus on Molly Malone.
Moira spoke about the lack of pride in Dublin amongst her friends, yet John was of the opinion that she was very proud of the City but maybe felt it lacked a focal point. She also noted that Dublin had a draw on the citizens of Ireland and that globally the move is towards the City.
Mervyn asked how can we harness the pride of Dublin. (This again made me feel there is real pride but we can’t see it)
Tom spoke about the difficulties he had with the council(DCC). In attempting to establish a venue for all-ages, alcohol-free gigs, he had been aided by one department in the council while the planning department refused to grant them a license, illustrating a severe lack of internal communication and joined-up thinking within the council.
Section 5 – Short Project
Since the theme of the day was about empowerment and pro-activity, we felt it would be appropriate to prototype or actualise one of the ideas.
Since the conversation had revolved around loving Dublin and having a pride and affection for the much-maligned city, we decided to prototype the Hug Dublin idea.
As the spire was too far away for our time constraints, we decided to ramble into Temple bar and hug the palm tree seat. Some giant chalk was sourced and we walked down Temple bar and drew an invitation on the ground for people to use the tree to give dublin a hug.
We then continued on towards the ‘money tree’ outside the Central bank. Again the chalk was used to write an invitation on the ground and we had a hug for Dublin around the tree.
Nessa noticed a post box close by and decided it looked lonely so we gave that a hug. We then walked back to the Exchange building talking and looking for some hidden gems along the way. (Which we did find). When we arrived back we collected e-mail addresses and gave out our cards.
We also explained that the photos taken of the process would be placed on flickr and on our blog.