I had my IRE evening on Thursday 14th November. I was very excited to meet people from different companies and discuss my concept directions form educating women. I made several boards to show my research and how I would like to change the perception of the menstrual cycle.
I’ve also made a board with some examples of negative message that is usually sent across media. It worked as a great starting point of conversation, people found it funny and paid more attention to my speech.
But unfortunately, all feedback provided during the evening was not as useful as I expected. I spoke to one woman and 5 men during the evening (without counting design students). I am not even sure if they were assigned to look at my project, only one person came to me who had to see me. It was ……. from Integrity, she graduated Brunel several years ago. I haven’t received much of ideas from her but she was genuinely interested in my project.
Other people I spoke to were or lighting engineers or just managers, no one from very creative field (that I was mostly hoping for). They were interested in the project but never really talked about it. Believe it or not, all of them changed conversation to “Where are you from? Are you from Russia?”. This tell me that men in their 30’s 40’s 50’s are not very eager to discuss this stigmatised topic, it will always stay like this for them.
This gave me a direction for my project, make it available strictly for women. Also, after talking to students about their relationships, I realised that men mostly obeyed women when it comes to menstrual cycles. There is definitely an issue I could solve but I think the challenge there would be to make men talk which is another issue.
Another point from this evening is to actually decide if I want to educate women or raise an awareness about education. I think as a Product/Graphic/Creative Designer, my responsibility here is to provide a simple yet detailed education tool for women and possibly teenagers about their bodies. Raising an awareness sounds like a job for an artist or salesman (which I am at some point but it is not my profession). Plus, if women will find this tool very useful for themselves, they will definitely share it with their friends/family/coworkers. Making another art piece will not make my major project more valuable. The way I will provide information will.
There is one last question to answer: concept direction. As I mentioned previously, people from IRE evenng did not give me any suggestions on how I can achieve what I want to achieve. So I had to look for inspiration in different places. Idea came after Graphic Design Lecture on arranging information. There was an example of a holographic globe that showed live information about earthquakes and daylight. Something similar I saw in Science Museum:
Ref.: Science Museum Holographic Globe, 2011, Jay Smith [image] Available at <https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6042/6343983758_ab898da578_z.jpg> (accessed 17 November 2014)
This gave me an idea of looking into Interactive Design solutions. This makes information to look not only interesting but also provide knowledge about the topic you’re trying to promote. This could be a great mix of raising an awareness and educating women.
My next step would be to look into interactive designs and their purpose and come up with concept direction. The one’s I looked at already are packaging designs and 3D installations.