Design for Grassroots community: A proposal for designing creative activities

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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The influence of globalization has rapidly spread across different levels of social development all over the world. For instance, current developments in art, culture and urban in Asia have been heavily influenced by economic demands. Urban development often takes place at the expense of art and culture. This work studies the creative environment in Hong Kong and the difficulties that the local artists and creators have in continuing their creative work there. The aim of this thesis is to propose a possible design solution to improve their creative environment. This study is a design research inspired by a grassroots art project founded by the author and real-ized in collaboration with a group of amateur artists located both in Hong Kong and in Helsinki. This project led to the present thesis work, which also addresses a bottom-up movement that has influ-enced the transformation of the creative scene over the past twenty years. This thesis takes a retroactive approach and uses constructive design research as a method to reactivate the collective experience and knowledge in the grassroots art project. In-depth inter-views were conducted with the project co-creators, participants, and other project stakeholders with the aim of reaching the local creators directly in order to collect and understand their opinions. Analyzing the participants’ reflections revealed problems that the project participants were con-cerned about and elements that they valued in their experience. With this understanding, a possible design solution was sought to reconstruct the spontaneous art project into a constructive service idea for amateur artists. Service blueprinting and stakeholder map were then used to illustrate the sustainability and flexibility of the design proposal. In the end, this insight was converted into a “four-layers” design framework, which aimed to provide guidance on establishing sustainability in other grassroots activities or existing bottom-up communities. In order to envision the future use of the proposal and the framework, the case study was then ap-plied as an example of a way to improve the creative environment in Hong Kong. Finally, the work reflects on and discusses the challenges in the research process as well the future difficulties that the local grassroots communities in Hong Kong will have to overcome in order to become a powerful support for the creative field and to achieve positive changes in a true bottom-up movement.
Mäkelä, Maarit
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no, no
service design, grassroots community, user experience, art activities, Hong Kong, exhibition
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