inspiration news

Agencies of Engagement – A creative thinking and doing tool

In April 2011, Proboscis began a collaboration with the Centre for Applied Research in Education Technologies (CARET) and Crucible at the University of Cambridge, on a research project exploring the nature of groups and group behaviours within the context of the university’s communities and the design of software platforms for collaboration.

Our output of this project, Agencies of Engagement, a set of four books designed to act as a creative thinking and doing tool, has just been published – via our short run printing service, as online bookreader versions, and on our publication hosting platform, Diffusion.

                   “We believe in creating and using tools that reflect our values and practices – making use of them in our projects and research enables us to embody this ethos in the ways in which we collaborate with our partners and share the outcomes. The structure of each of the four books has, at its core, our desire to inspire others and to illustrate ideas and practices – sharing not just the fruits of our work, but the processes and methods which we have employed. Publishing the books with bookleteer enables the potential for the insights and observations, methods and practices to resonate widely both through sharing physical and digital versions. This was also a core value for the project’s output, that it would be of value not just to CARET and Proboscis as documentation of what we achieved, but to others as a guide for developing their own engagement practices.

  – Giles Lane

Method Stack describes a number of the engagement methods and practices used by Proboscis in our engagement work as well as other tools and sources of inspiration.

Project Account sets out the process used in the project as a case study for others to guide their own engagement practices.

Drawing Insight illustrates the observations and insights of the project in a simple and accessible way.

Catalysing Agency explores the need and concept for using a ‘Catalyst’ (an individual acting as a change agent) to trigger meaningful engagement with wider communities.

For the printed sets, twenty five copies are contained within a limited edition, handmade slipcase (displayed above left); the remaining copies are bound with handmade wrappers (above right).

Download, print and make up the set for yourself on Diffusion here.


“Sculptural Photo Albums”

Courtesy of FastCoDesign, I came across this cleverly designed photo album, a corner of which doubles as a stand, allowing it to balance upright in a striking pose. The unusual, dynamic design of “The Whole Story” encourages people to pick it up and leaf through, physically engaging with snapshot memories of their lives and others. Despite the stonking price tag, it’s designer Debra Folz’s intention is admirable; to change our current cursory engagement with digital photography (albeit the range of interactive iPad / iPhone photo albums and similar gadgets) and the way images are shared – placing them into the hands of friends and family has more emotional resonance than simply e-mailing or posting links, surely?

Check it out here.