Street engagement « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

Street engagement

Wednesday evening again! A bunch of Out Louders met in Ormond Quay, all of them keen as mustard and gunning to go. The suspense in the room was palpable so we wasted no time in revealing the evening’s theme – Street engagement.

On hand to share their own experiences with street engagement were Love the City team members Lindsay and Vincent, who presented their own engagement project ‘chat couch’; (reference blog of LtC) a fantastic example of how questions can be used to engage people.

The first thing Vincent expressed to the team was the importance of having a clear purpose. Knowing what it is you’re trying to find out helps to focus the questions you’re asking — in their case, Vincent and Lyndsay were trying to uncover the ‘hidden gems of the city’. Vincent also encouraged the team to be open when engaging with the public, to really listen to what people had to say and not to be precious about their ideas. Adding to this, Lyndsay explained that in order to get to richer dialogue, they found that questions sometimes needed to be re-iterated and expanded upon with tangible examples. (For instance: Do you know of any magical or amazing places in Dublin? — such as the lake in Stephen’s Green or the benches by the canal.)

Vincent and Lyndsay finished presenting and the evening’s challenge was revealed – 5 questions/5 people. For this challenge, the team were invited to review the questions they had generated the previous week and develop 5 new questions that could be used in street engagement. To complete the challenge, Out Louders needed to find 5 people they could ask their questions to.

Basing ourselves around the Capel Street and Jervis Street area, the guys set about talking to people on the street — I must say they did a great job getting stuck in, no time wasters here! In a very short space of time, the team began hearing important feedback on their ideas – Niall heard a few people say they were interested in a digital notice board, Joa spoke to some teenagers who expressed an interest in public seating with celebrity pictures on them. After half an hour spent loitering on street corners, Out Louders returned to base and shared their experiences. They talked about, and marveled at, the sound of the street.

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