Alyssa Tang Creating Community

  • Tauira / Student
    Alyssa Tang
  • Kaitautoko / Contributor
    Cassie Khoo
  • Kaiako / Lecturer
    Ivana Nakarada-Kordic

Creating Community was a design-led research exploration into how critical design and public exhibition could be used to activate space and initiate conversation about how people in Auckland City thought about community. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our idea of ‘normal’, and changed the relationship between people, the publics that surround them, and their communities. As a response, Creating Community became an intervention that facilitated reflection about our communities and possibilities for the future. Taking this exhibition out into the streets in Auckland CBD created unexpected encounters between strangers and connection through conversation about the type of communities we want to live in.

Members of the public were invited to participate in this project by sharing their thoughts, experiences, and stories about ‘community’. Critically designed artefacts, inspired by contexts surrounding community such as exclusion, isolation, inequality, and connection, were displayed and presented as conversational prompts to scaffold a discussion about what community meant to people. Responses built towards a collective idea about what our Auckland City community could be.

The success of connecting to members of the public through the project presents the potential of creative research when designing initiatives or consultation for legislation. While community was the focus in this project, critical artefacts can be designed around a multitude of social, cultural, or environmental topics. This creative, community-based approach to data collection proposes a new way of community engagement that is inclusive, accessible, and engaging.

The responses to this intervention were then funnelled into a conversational card game and a set of zines. These outputs became tools to progress the conversation about what people want their communities to look like, based on what others had shared. The zines were distributed around Auckland City, giving a new form to the intervention, and helping other people reimagine notions of community and what might matter to them.