Cartographies of Ambition

This research project explores the occupational segregation of the working age population in Moray, a region in the North of Scotland. In particular, it mines the data commissioned, produced or possessed by the client - Highlands and Islands Enterprise, as it relates to this population. This data identifies various demographic groupings or population segments as they exist in relation to productive activity, either in paid employment or other value-generating activities.

The ambition of the project was to identify the statistical populations and explore the factors that constrain or delimit an inclusive and equal participation in the workforce (defined as productive labour, either for paid labour or contribution to social/community enterprise or care). Exploration of stakeholder data combined with analysis of user/citizen experience will be used to generate mapping of factors preventing more equal participation in a productive activity by underrepresented groups/populations, most likely women, but not limited to women.

By visualising and bringing the form to the experiential and causal factors it was be possible to identify, more clearly and accurately, the nature of possible interventions aimed at ensuring greater and more equal participation in productive engagement.

In collaboration with:

Lorenzo Lattanzi

Marianne McAra

Emma Murphy

The Innovation School

Phase 1 : Pop-up engagement

While drafting the project brief,  the idea of constructing the alternative workforce emerged from the HIE report. The sections of the population that we were about to engage with were highly capable and passionate but also experiencing factors that prevented them from expressing those valuable skills in the current job market. We decided to explore the idea of an alternatively organised workforce, and we decided to conduct some pop-up events in strategic places in Forres to engage with the largest possible amount of members of the community.

We asked them to tell us about the passions, special knowledge or skills that they felt proud of, not necessarily related to formal qualifications. This information was recorded on branded postcards and supported by a map of Forres, where the participants could note the areas where their activities were taking place. To maximise the number of skills gathered, we positioned some postboxes in 4 busy locations in town (Tesco, Community Center, Credit Union, and the Library), where visitors could fill in a postcard and leave it for us to collect. We gathered more than 240 skills that we organised by categories.

Phase 2 : Workshops

We designed our workshops divided into three main sections.

We engaged with several groups of participants composed by young mothers,
high school pupils and college students.

Section 1

As an ice-breaker activity, right after a brief introduction, we asked the participants to fill in the same postcards we used in our pop-up events to gather data about their passions. This introductory phase featured also other activities, which will be specified accordingly.

Section 2

In the main phase of each workshop, we connected the data gathered on the postcards with the territory using the large format maps, where the participants could gather around. We used this phase to start conversations about opportunities and logjams in the area, leveraging the geographical format to organise them.

Section 3
In the final phase, we challenged the group to a small co-designing task: different for each workshop, we asked the participants to re-imagine an object or service related to one of the issues explored.

Phase 3 : Analysis

© dominika świerad, 2020