It went very well. Engaging members of public with the research was actually great fun. This project has been quite a drain, researching some of the worst in public discourse, having to dive into some fairly demoralising and at times infuriating research. This however, like the workshop was an energising experience. I actually told one lady that she’d restored my faith in humanity.. 90% true.
Centred on the public perception of immigration, an image of Prince Philip was shown to visitors accompanied by the question “where was he born?”.
A broad range of shoppers participated – ranging from recent immigrants, naturalised citizens and those who have lived their entire lives in south London. Designed to be a quick and playful interaction that presented an alternate perspective on immigration; participants need only answer a question and hear a short response as to the Prince’s immigrant status. No more than two minutes from start to finish. In actuality, the intervention served as an excellent entry point to further discussion with members of the local community. The average time spent with each person was over fifteen minutes. The issue of immigration is close to many people’s hearts, and many people have opinions and are willing to hear alternative perspectives.
I originally created this to test the effect on the narrative. Again, like the workshop, it would seem that I encountered people already open to immigration. Much data points to the bubble of London – in a city as culturally diverse as this it is no wonder. There is no doubt, that I need to continue this research in other locations – perhaps my hometown of Newcastle, where the benefits of immigration are less widely acknowledged.
There is still valuable insight here into how further iterations can be applied, and one thing I am sure of, is that these methods are effective means of engaging people with ideas. I will continue to pursue the answers to these questions and others, in the coming months.