Methods Lab 2011-2012
31 Oct - 3 November 2011 (part of AcrossRCA project week)
Eating in Kensington: Eat + Meet
With the current economic crisis, less people can afford to dine out. This includes older people and retirees. Team 1 went to the office of Age Concern, Kensington & Chelsea and spoke to the staff. They were told that there are over 12,000 pensioners living in the borough, many of them are isolated. To tackle this problem the team came up with an idea to persuade local businesses to offer special discounts to older people to encourage them to socialise by dining out. Working with their creative partner, a volunteer from Age Concern, they developed a series of discount offers as part of a campaign entitled Eat + Meet, and created an online subscription service called Groupon, that helps stimulate local business as well as provide an inclusive service.
Team 2: Playing in Kensington
I play therefore I am
How old is old? What is joy for older people? These were the questions from Prof Dale Russell from RCA Innovation Design Engineering to the design students of Team 2. Together they spent an afternoon in the local area and Prof Russell shared her experience of growing up in Kensington. Team members had different ideas of how to engage in play. They chose one collective moment of play and engaged local people to play with them. First of all, the team went out to collect people's smiles by taking portraits and quotations of happiness. They edited the photos and texts to create a pop-up street exhibition on a bridge and bus stop shelter.
Team 3: Travelling in Kensington
Going out with a visiting design tutor from the Media, Art & Design Faculty (MAD) in Genk, Belgium, who was seven months pregnant, illustrated the needs of a pregnant women travelling in the city. The team commented on difficulties older people have going up stairs. This problem gave them the notion of promoting a new lifestyle of 'slow travel'. Part of Exhibition Road near South Kensington tube station was chosen as the test site to run a pilot tour for pedestrians. Interesting points were identified with the aim to encourage people to observe the environment more which is possible when travelling slowly.
Team 4: Habiting in Kensington
As a starting point, the team watched the film of Queen Victoria, the iconic resident of the Kensington area. They then went to visit a local resident who has been living in an apartment on one of Kensington's Victorian roads for over 40 years. Discussions around the preservation of the Victorian building style and community participation inspired the team to set up a 'time corridor' at the tunnel between South Kensington tube station and Imperial College. Photos of Kensington from different eras were collected and showed to passers-by. At the end of this series of photos they showed one of a modern city full of skyscrapers as a comparison to the historical images of London. People were asked to comment on the transformation and show their preference for the future - Victorian or futurist?