I’M NO SHEEP - Design Research for Youth Civic Engagement︎ 2023
In response to our increasingly polarized and often hostile political climate, my design research project, I’M NO SHEEP, hopes to see young people thinking for themselves. The two-party system forces perspectives under limiting labels, fencing them in. I’M NO SHEEP targets individuals ages 17-21 and asks them to consider their role in the electorate through a more nuanced and personal lens. The vision of the workshop series is to build authentic and confident civic agents.
My research started with an investigation of the problem space: the political binary. It then focused in on how my specific young audience is affected by the political binary. Ultimately my research question turned towards a workshop series. This direction allows for critical making exercises, and space for a more approachable (IN PERSON!) political discourse to occur between young people.
The brand identity for I’M NO SHEEP is loud, cheeky, and meant to catch the eyes of members of Generation Z. The name itself is a confrontational cry of independent thought, and plays on the feelings one might have towards the political buzz word “sheep”. The logo shouts at viewers and it’s handrawn word is reminiscent of both wool and thought bubbles.
Workshop 1 in this series is all about the identification of one’s core values. The topic is not inherently political, so it invites a more approachable kind introspection for those who aren’t politically engaged. Additionally, core values are the foundation of political beliefs.
The facilitator of an I’M NO SHEEP workshop is provided with a workshop framework and a presentation deck to lead the atendees. Workshop 1 in the series includes a worksheet for participants and materials for a critical making exercise.
The critical making excercise designed for Workshop 1, builds off of the idea that core values are foundational. It first asks participants to identify their core values given a list of over 90 examples. Next they find the corresponding “value brick.” I designed and fabricated these bricks using lazercut pieces of acrylic. The material allows the particpants to write on the bricks with a dry-erase marker. They are asked to define their chosen value in their own words, and write key words on the brick. Finally, participants use their bricks to build a core value structure. A unique sculpture that is the foundation for every activity, discussion, and self reflection to come.
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