Develop key findings, analysis and objectives


In Joe's discussion with Hefin Jones he unpacks the methods that Hefin uses in his 'participatory' practice to develop human centric design projects that "change peoples relationships with a place", both on a local and national level.

Whilst still a BA Student he developed a speculative campaign for promoting Wales and employed the help of Welsh artisanal craftspeople to help him make a functioning space suit for his 'Welsh Space Campaign'. The idea was not to promote the Welsh as future astronauts but to start the dialogue surrounding communities and the repurposing of traditional craft skills. The projects themselves can be irreverent, but as Hefin explains “I’m designing objects and scenarios as a way to make people consider new possibilities. I’ve been experimenting with designing situations which are in many ways ephemeral, and despite that, are successful at creating the necessary conditions to think big.”(1)

Coming from Wales himself, he is connected to a place where he has what he calls 'loose connections' through family and friends. His working-class background and the Welsh language have enabled him to connect with Welsh speaking participants and conduct fieldwork within Welsh communities.

Hefin starts his process about how to frame ideas about change that are interesting building a filter with a fiction related to a place that needs a wider discussion about social and political change. He develops a speculative proposal and then makes contact with people that he want's to be involved in the process within infrastructure and business.

In this particular instance he explores the question "can disused mines in Wales be repurposed as space training centres?". This project grew out of the process developed during the Welsh Space Campaign with same aims of bringing focus on communities in Wales that were left behind after pit closures but remain hubs of creativity and people that can bring innovation, ideas and change to their own society. He embeds himself in the community early on to build trust and develop these relationships in an informal, responsive and sensitive way. He talks about considering how you act, what you might do and who you might involve as part of the process which he has termed 'speculatory participation' – Reconfigure practices, materiality, traditions, histories, relationship and networks. He talks of the importance of remaining autonomous throughout the process "moving through ideas using key questions' and that a designer/observers position should not impose an idea but listen to the community experience.

From long conversations in the field the process starts to open up possibilities and ideas that the community themselves are invested in. He gains permission from all participants involved to collect, record and use data gathered from an ethical standpoint , but once the trust is built this part of process becomes easier. The data is refined and the fiction is tested and partially made reality. These learnings inform the final service design presentation to open up the discussion to the wider world throwing light on issues raised and 'measurable' areas of development and social change for the communities they represent in order to start the process of realising the communities own expectations. As part of this he ensures individual participants and groups are acknowledged.

In leaving behind the process and community he supports stakeholders to start to own the process to continue the discussion as well as ensuring the project is visible to the wider world to open up further debate and discussion about helping affect social change.

(1) Retrieved from:

— What issue is your area of concern? – social, political, historical, environmental etc... Ask yourself why we are doing this?
— Can you create a scenario/fiction to frame the process in a proposal format?
— Who do you want as stakeholders? – Infrastructural, business and community voices
— How will you embed yourself in the community to start dialogue and data collection?
— How do you broach the ethical question allowing documentation of the process?
— Give over 'control' and let the process take its natural course to learn new goals, ideas and insights
— Think about how you can analyse and frame the data gathered
— What practices, materiality, traditions, histories, relationships and histories can you reconfigure?
— How do you manage community and stakeholder expectations turning the process into real and measurable change?
— Who do you choose to lead and run with the process for continued dialogue?
— How is the project seen and who is it targeted towards?

Design Anthropology: Object Cultures in transition.

The design anthropologists approach – a marriage between social science using ethnographic methods and design for good, begins with asking how the future could be different for individuals and change to the status quo. We start by understanding the 'somewhere' from which a project starts which relies on a human centred approach rooted in your own experience. This human centred approach is rooted in the community you focus on, both local and global where their own articulation and values will matter to the quality of the work produced.

Colloquial and expert dialogue between communities and researchers is fostered in order to ensure the research is useful to the design process. The work is largely defined by the distinctive methodologies employed and the process outcomes. These methodologies form frameworks for the experience of the user where data can be linked to questions. To ensure the process is solid multidisciplinary collaboration and perspectives must be sustained throughout the process. These are referred to as "crystallising moments" or insights where user-centred research takes the form of observation, ideas and connections using an ethnographic process. Narrative between participants are created of how a 'thing' can become better through research, design and innovation. This process connect the 'before' to the 'after'. This is a co-creative process where integrated collaborative networks come together all working towards the same goal with the aim being to create good work with value and purpose. This 'collective' is working towards creating 'things' (material or non-material) to get something new made or for change to take place. The collective should be acknowledged through a case study by giving authorship to stakeholders to be seen in both its part as as a whole.

During the process itself we should consider the following questions:
— To what end are we doing this work?
— Why do people think the way they do?
— Why do people use what they use?
— Why do people think they need what they need?
— What's working, what doesn't work?
— How do we shape the future?
— What are the consequences of not making any change?

This is to be clear as to why 'people' are making choices as part of our research and design process. We also have to understand what our purpose is, who the stakeholders are that need to be involved and to what end. This can be framed with speculative work that would lead to the questioning of cultural orthodoxies through a critical and experimental process. Our ethnographic approach should be observational, descriptive, analytical and interpretive and design should be generative, speculative and transformational.

The future of design needs to shift away from market concerns and consumption and become a practice for political, ethical sustainability. "Our task is to present concepts and make visible what is emerging" (Rabinow & Marcus 2008). To achieve this end we need to become observers and not intervene in the process because if we use control it will affect the data gathered.

"Take notes and leave only footsteps"

Rabinow & Marcus 2008

Workshop Challenge

Research and discover issues that relate to your locality and post them on the Ideas Wall. Direct engagement and potential collaboration is encouraged to engage with relevant local communities to identify issues.

During the course of studying this part of the module I have thought about a few subject areas that could be interesting avenues to explore an ethnographic and research based approach to design.

These are:
— Tackling the cost of living crisis
— Improving the lives of zoo animals
— Improving access to food banks
— Making banking and postal services easier for the elderly
— Tackling the housing crisis
— Moving farming back to seasonal practice/sustainability (Removing the constant harvest mentality)
— Tackling individual food waste
— Reducing plastic bag waste

The problem:
The high cost of living in this country has been laid bare by new figures that show that prices in this country are the joint highest in the 27-member union.
- Prices here are 40pc higher than the average across the European Union
- Irish people forking out more on food, drink, energy, transport and restaurants
- Healthcare costs highest in EU (2)

Irish people pay far more than the EU average for food, drink, energy, transport, communications and restaurants, according to a new report from Eurostat. Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site said: “No-one is under the illusion that Ireland is a cheap place to live. However, the scale of the difference in prices between Ireland and our neighbours is pretty shocking. Wages in Ireland are also above the EU average, but not by over 40pc for most people. I would urge the Government to look at measures that are within its control to lower the impact of high prices and the cost of living in Ireland. Consumer bodies such as the CCPC, and regulators such as the CRU for energy and ComReg for telecommunications need to do better jobs and stand up for consumers more. I would also like to see a new ministerial position for consumer affairs created. We rightly have a huge focus on business and enterprise in almost all areas of government in this country. But that same focus isn’t extended to consumers.

Potential Stakeholders:
Communities, economists, infrastructural organisations, consumer groups, banks, activist groups, charities, hospitality, tech companies.

(2) Retrieved from:

The problem:
My personal take is that zoo's are from a bygone age, a Victorian introduction to bring the exotic and wild for people who couldn't travel to observe. While some do great work in growing decreasing animal populations and have rewilding projects the animals themselves should reside and be treated in their natural habits.

"Zoos are prisons for animals, camouflaging their cruelty with conservation claims," Mimi Bekhechi, director of international programmes at PETA, explains. "Animals in zoos suffer tremendously, both physically and mentally. They often display neurotic behaviour, like repetitive pacing, swaying, and bar biting. Not surprising, perhaps, considering the typical polar bear enclosure is one million times smaller than the area they would naturally roam."

"Only 15% of the thousands of species held in zoos are considered 'threatened'," says Will Travers OBE, president of Born Free. "An even smaller proportion are part of captive breeding programmes and, of those, a tiny fraction have been released back into the wild. That's not a record that justifies tens of millions of wild animals kept in zoos."

PETA's Bekhechi adds, the aim of breeding programmes is just "to produce baby animals to attract visitors."

A 2014 study by the Society for Conservation Biology found that of over 2,800 children surveyed following visits to London Zoo, 62% showed no positive learning outcomes.

In the age of social media, high profile culls have sparked heated debates. The shooting of Harambe the gorilla spawned the most-shared meme of 2016 and caused a hounded Cincinnati Zoo to suspend its social media accounts. When it comes to lethal force and animal welfare, at least, public opinion swiftly sides against zoos.

Zoos across the US can take credit for reviving the wild Arabian oryx, golden lion tamarin and Californian condor populations, among many others. And Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo has an on-site Wildlife Hospital to save sick and injured native species.

(3) Retrieved from: (3).

Potential stakeholders:
Communities, animal rights organisations and conservation charities, scientists, tech companies, farmers, zoo owners, experiential designers, architects.

(3) Retrieved from:

The problem:
The cost of living crisis is pushing more people towards food banks and soup runs, amid stories of elderly people going to bed early to cut their fuel bills and people turning up for food assistance unannounced because they do not have enough phone credit to make an appointment.

Charities have warned the rising cost of living has increased the risk of food poverty, and Br Kevin said this was certainly the case at the Capuchin centre on Bow St. "People are living in fear and in the unknown of what is going to happen with the rising costs of food," he said. "Especially the older people, they are very, very frightened. The centre only reopened to in-person visitors last week, but its food parcel service has continued and has seen steady take-up throughout the pandemic and now amid rising inflation.

Lorraine O'Connor, chairwoman and founder of Muslim Sisters of Éire, said: "There is a new pandemic, and it is Covid poverty." At last Friday's soup run in Dublin, 236 meals were handed out, some way short of peak levels during the pandemic, when it was one of the few soup runs that carried on its service. "We would have a lot of clients who may not have an appointment when they come to the door, and we would never turn anyone away," Ms Byrd said. (4)

(4) Retrieved from:

Potential stakeholders:
Communities, charities, foodbanks, foodservice and hospitality organisations, tech companies, government.

The problem:
The closure of more than one-third of Bank of Ireland branches today has raised concerns about the impact it will have on older people, particularly those in rural Ireland. Age Action said older people who don’t bank online are now in a vulnerable position if their nearest branch was among those who shut their doors today due to a downsizing of Bank of Ireland’s network announced in March.

“Many older people want to be online, but it’s not possible for everybody. Some people can’t afford digital devices, and of course, many people around rural Ireland where the banks are closing don’t have broadband,” Dr Nat O Connor, Senior Public Affairs and Policy Specialist at Age Action, told TheJournal. “People value their independence and don’t want to rely on anyone else,” he said, noting that a large proportion of older people lose independence and are required to divulge their private information to others when they are not able to access services themselves. “People value their independence and don’t want to rely on anyone else,” he said, noting that a large proportion of older people lose independence and are required to divulge their private information to others when they are not able to access services themselves. “In some cases, people may have their children who will do online banking for them, or they might not have children, or in the worst-case scenario, people are relying on neighbours, or maybe somebody they don’t know. This should raise red flags as this risks leaving older people vulnerable to different types of abuse.

A recent survey carried out by Age Action found that some 65% of people over the age of 65 experience “digital exclusion” in Ireland – meaning that they are not using the internet or they lack the digital devices or necessary skills to navigate the internet safely, and therefore are limited in their ability to access public services online. “People want to have control over their own affairs,” he added. However, the changes still mean some Bank of Ireland customers will have to travel significant distances to carry out financial transactions in person. (5)

(5) Retrieved from:


A positive human centric solution:

Postmen and postwomen will now not just deliver the post, but they will also ring the bell to check in on older and vulnerable people living in communities around the country. A new service will also mean they will now take parcels and letters from the elderly and vulnerable – around 160,000 homes – and distribute them for free. An Post is also working with the National Newspapers of Ireland on a new scheme which will see postmen and women delivering local and national newspapers to people’s homes. An Post’s David McRedmond told reporters that postmen and women will now take messages and connect to local shops and pharmacist and through to a wider network of support organisations, to ensure that the needs of the elderly and those in need are being met. “They’ll go in with a set of questions such as, do they need food, do they need pharmacy, do they need to send out messages? “The postman or postwomen will then take that back and we will look after that and make sure that that gets fulfilled,” he said. The set of measures “have been developed between Government and An Post, and the Communications Workers Union, with ideas coming from the postmen and postwomen,” he added. (6)

These measures were implemented during covid and it is not clear whether they have been rescinded. More research will need to be carried out should I choose this option.

(6) Retrieved from:

Potential stakeholders (to improve banking access):
Communities, bank and financial organisations, charities, tech companies, infrastructural organisations.


The problem:

The housing crisis is worse today "than at any time in the last 40 years", according to campaigner Fr Peter McVerry.

The founder of the Peter McVerry Trust was speaking on RTÉ's News at One following the relaunch of the Raise the Roof housing campaign, which held the first in a series of regional and national public meetings on the housing crisis in Dublin today. Raise the Roof is an umbrella group comprised of trade unions, housing and homelessness charities. women's groups, Traveller groups, children's advocacy groups, students unions, opposition political parties, housing academics and others.

Among the proposals he put forward were the implementation of the 1973 Kenny Report, which among other things would allow local authorities to compulsorily purchase land for development, paying lower agricultural land prices. It will also propose a ban on evictions for up to three years, a 20% reduction in rents coupled with a 50% reduction in tax paid by landlords and making it illegal for people for people to rent properties on short-term rental websites if they are not compliant with planning permission requirements and other regulations.

"We know what works. There was a ban on rent increases and a ban on evictions during Covid and the number of homeless people dropped by about 2,000 in a relatively short period of time," Fr McVerry said. "That ban was rescinded about seven or eight months ago, the number of homeless people is going through the roof again."

"The alternatives are clear. Massive expansion of public housing to meet social and affordable housing need. "Greater protections for renters to stop rent increases and reduce rents. "Increased focus on homeless prevention and measures to ensure that no section of society; whether Travellers, migrants or people with disabilities are left behind." (7)


The 'Raise the Roof" coalition have sourced expert knowledge from various stakeholders. I think any input from a design to affect a solution would at this stage in their own process and from my own perspective an unnecessary intervention.


As I am a city dweller and do not have connections with the farming community I think this option would be hard to pursue from an ethnographic standpoint.


The problem:
In Ireland we waste about 1 million tonnes of food each year, according to current best estimates. Growing, processing and transporting food uses a huge amount of resources, such as land, water, energy and fertiliser. If food is wasted, these resources are wasted too.

Globally, more than 25% of food produced is wasted. Food waste is also a significant contributor to climate change. It is estimated that food waste generates about 8% to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing food waste is therefore an effective climate action. Preventing food waste should be prioritised, and any unavoidable food waste should be treated in the most resource efficient way possible. Diverting food waste from landfill has environmental and financial benefits, and the benefits of preventing food waste are even greater.

The EPA’s food waste prevention programme is implemented through the National Waste Prevention Programme. The programme delivers campaigns and supports targeting food waste in households, across the supply chain and in the hospitality sector, with a view to achieving the national target for a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Household food waste: awareness raising activities through and application of behavioural insights to achieve widespread public awareness of environmental and social issues around wasted food; leading to a significant increase in the number of people taking action on the issue.(8)

(8) Retrieved from:,these%20resources%20are%20wasted%20too.


In Ireland there is over one million tonnes of food waste disposed of each year. Around 1/3 of this comes from households. Every household in Ireland is responsible for 117 kg of Food Waste. The cost per household is between €400 and €1000 per year.

There are 3 types of food waste thrown out:

– 60% is Avoidable food waste - Plate scrapings, leftovers, gone off fruit and veg and passed its date perishables.
– 20% is Potentially Avoidable food waste – things like bread crusts, potato skins.
– 20% is Unavoidable food waste – general rubbish such as banana skins and chicken bones

In recognition of the agreement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and the Circular Economy package , Minister Naughton indicated that he wished to promote food waste prevention efforts nationally. As a result of this commitment, work is now ongoing to develop a suitable initiative that builds on the work already underway within the National Waste Prevention Programme and the local authority system.(9)


Potential stakeholders:
Communities, food charities, logistical services, tech companies, schools, environmental agencies.


The problem:
The first-ever analysis of the role European supermarkets play in addressing plastic pollution, “Under wraps? What Europe’s supermarkets aren’t telling us about plastic” is a result of collaboration of over 20 NGOs, members of Break Free from Plastic movement, from across Europe. Here in Ireland the Sick of Plastic Campaign has facilitated this report, reaching out to Ireland’s top five Supermarkets; Dunnes Stores, Supervalu (Musgraves), Tesco, LIDL and ALDI.

Of 130 retailers contacted, only 39 retailers (30%) provided a written response to the coalition’s questionnaire, but many of these responses did not provide meaningful replies to the questions. "Only three of the five Irish Supermarkets surveyed responded. Because of this both Dunnes Stores and Musgraves came last alongside twelve other European retailers getting a disappointing 0/100. Tesco received 3/100, LIDL 16/100 and ALDI scored an impressive 61/100, making them second overall. The Irish average score is a dismal 16. Irish supermarkets positioned at both top and bottom of the scale highlights the inconsistent approach our major food retailers are taking to fight the plastic crisis." (10).

In December the United Nations passed a unanimous resolution to address the "crisis" of ocean plastic. China subsequently announced it would no longer import waste to incinerate, placing a greater onus on wealthy countries to sustainably manage their own waste rather than ship it overseas, while the EU launched its first-ever Europe-wide strategy to reduce single-use plastic items and to promote greater recyclability.

Last year saw an upswing in scientific and public concern about the impact of plastic waste on the oceans, lakes and rivers. The UN estimates that eight million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the ocean annually. Millions of whales, birds, seals and turtles die because they mistake bags for food, such as jellyfish, or because they become inadvertently ensnared in nets, packing bands and other items.

As a result of the 15 cent plastic bag fee (raised to 22 cent in 2007) in Ireland, annual bag usage dropped from almost 350 to 14 per person by 2012. Annual bag usage dropped from almost 350 to 14 per person by 2012, and plastic bags now account for only 0.14 per centof total litter compared to 5 per cent in 2002.

According to the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags are now commonly found floating as far north of the Arctic Circle near Spitzbergen, and as far south as the Falkland Islands. The resulting micro-fibres eventually enter the food chain. A recent study found that 74 per cent of Irish tap water is also contaminated, but the implications for human health of direct exposure of plastic-associated chemicals are unknown. (11).

(10) retrieved from:
(11) retrieved from:

Potential stakeholders:
Communities, schools, recycling centres, tech companies, supermarkets and hospitality, logistics companies, activists, influencers.

Distill your research to identify one issue you would like to resolve and reveal through a visual outcome. Write a short 200-word project brief that reports on the issue to be solved.

One of my personal goals has been for a while now to discover ways in which we can live alongside the planet in a sustainable way whether that be through small gestures such as recycling, changing our personal habits and interactions with the world from our consumption, the products we use to the amount of water and energy we use.

In exploring and looking at top line research into issues that I both care about and feel have immediate problems that could be solved on a local and global scale I have identified some crossovers in my thinking that could possibly be combined into one project to tackle multiple problems within the same process.

These are:
— Improving access to food banks
— Moving food production back to seasonal practice/sustainability (Removing the constant harvest mentality)
— Tackling individual food waste
— Reducing plastic bag waste

Project Brief: 'Green Kitchen' (working title)
In Ireland there is over one million tonnes of food waste disposed of each year. Around 1/3 of this comes from households. Every household in Ireland is responsible for 117 kg of Food Waste (1). This form of waste impacts the environment generating about 8% to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions (2) as well as our pockets with the cost per household being between €400 and €1000 per year (1). 60% is Avoidable food waste such as plate scrapings, leftovers, gone off fruit and veg and passed its date perishables. 20% is Potentially avoidable food waste; things like bread crusts, potato skins (1). Knowing that by simply wasting less food, reducing landfill, protecting the environment and providing individuals with more yearly disposable income should make the changes appear simple - a no brainer.

The aim of my research project would firstly be to give participants the facts and observe the reactions to this information to see if we can identify innovate ways to resolve the problem and hopefully to integrate a philanthropic act within the process, rewarding individuals for making small life changes and helping other to change theirs.

Design and produce a visual summary to contextualise your issue and project brief. Your summary can be a digital, print or moving image, but it must be succinct, to enable third party viewers to quickly understand the requirements, needs and challenges.