Prototyping the T Dan Smith Walk: counterfactual maps, prompt cards and audio archives

In early January project partners, Martyn Dade-Robertson and Alex Butterworth from Amber joined us for a one-day workshop to co-design the first walk prototype. In the workshop a framework for the walk was developed for testing on the 21st of January.

The T Dan Smith walk prototype structure, tools and rules were co-designed with Martyn Dade-Robertson and Alex Butterworth and aimed at engaging small groups of participants. The walk comprised the following tools: a counterfactual map of the city which was informed by historically unrealised plans, a subjective interpretation of political visions as described in the political archives, and the initial situated research and walk with research partners. The counterfactual map also intended to stimulate reflection and new relationships between what is there and scaffold the negotiation of the walk among participants through collaborative sense making. A range of audio material from the film archive was selected. There inspired the design of 12 prompts cards featuring open-ended statements and questions inviting personal responses. NFC technology embedded in each card gave access to archival excerpts held on mobile phones.

Each group member was given two prompt cards, which they were invited to associate with particular sites of their choice along the walk. Having identified a site, participants were asked to stop the group, explain their choice and then listen to the archival content embedded in the card. Talking time was set to two minutes per participant at a time and participants were also given the tasks to audio-record and photo-document group members’ opinions and site choices.

On the 21st of January a groups of participants joined our walks, comprising of the project partners and a group of participants invited by Northern Architecture project partner Lowri Bond.

Each group member was given two prompt cards, which they were invited to associate with particular sites of their choice along the walk. Having identified a site, participants were asked to stop the group, explain their choice and then listen to the archival content embedded in the card. Talking time was set to two minutes per participant at a time and participants were also given the tasks to audio-record and photo-document group members’ opinions and site choices. Groups were given routes based on the counter-factual map to provide a loose structure and ensure groups would do their walk within the time limit.
Data gathered during the walk and post-walk discussion will be analyzed CX researcher Clara Crivellaro who is coordinating the project and will inform future developments and iterations.