Making Things Together workshop

Getting excited now about the Crafting Health and Well-being event, Beyond the Toolkit, that starts this afternoon.  More to come on this later.  For now, the following is a description of the workshop that Neil Tinson and Lizzie Masterton of the Guild of Sage and Smith ( gave for the Making Things Together part of the Co-creating CARE project at the Poly ( in Falmouth on the 18th January 2014.  Engagement and participation were great; there was a range of activities and they would be good ones to use in a co-creation workshop setting.  You can see this workshop again without searching through the blog on this page).

We started atP8 10:30 with the “housekeeping” elements of the day – getting permissions from people to take their photos, record them, etc.  Fiona outlined the project and the day’s intentions, and then Neil and Lizzy introduced the session.

At 10:45 we began an activity called Consider All Factors.  This was designed by Edward de Bono to consciously expand our scope of considerations.

During a defined interval of time, we had to mentally list every consideration about a topic P9as opposed to just the first few that come to mind.  We put paper tablecloths on a big table in the centre of the space, and for five minutes, everyone considered all the factors involved in buying a second-hand car. (This was the “dummy run”).  The actual exercise was to consider all the factors involved in deciding to make.  “What do I consider when… I make something?”  The purpose of the exercise was to: warm-up, encourage expansive thought, encourage sharing publicly.  It was noted afterwards how different the atmosphere was in the room when people were thinking about their making passion.  It was interesting – and hard to capture as data!

P7 At 11:00 we started Decode and Draw.  Everyone had brought in a small item of sentimental value/meaning from home.  Neil and Lizzie asked for two people – one with their object and the other to draw on a large sheet of paper pinned to the wall.  The pair sat so the object could not be seen by the person drawing (but could be seen by the others in the room).  For two minutes, while the person holds their object, the other person asks questions about the P5object and draws it. After two minutes, both the item and the interpretation of it are revealed to the other person. Each time there was a quick review to see where any confusion arose, and how things might have been made more accurate.  The purpose was to understand use of language and terminology, and to observe interaction between people when an object is the focal point.  This activity proved to be quite frustrating in interesting ways.

At 11:30 P3we had a Cake break, leading into, at 11:45 an Active discussion.  People tend to chat and open up when sat around in a social context, particularly when there’s a focal point for their attention (eg. making something with their hands).  Everybody had been asked to bring a craft item to work on and we all got these out and sat round the big table.  (We recorded the discussion at this point). There were three questions posed at approximately 20-minute intervals, with the resulting discussion captured: P2

Is ‘skill’ important to what you do?

What do you use the internet for?

Are you ever too old or wise to learn?

The purpose of this exercise was to identify aspirations and motivations, understand use of language and terminology, and scope participants’ familiarity with online technology.

P12Lastly, at 12:45 we did the exercise Five Whys.  This is an iterative question-asking technique developed within Toyota, used to explore cause-and-effect relationships, it helps to get to the root cause of a problem or the motivation behind a certain decision / behaviour.  In this activity the group sit round together, and individually answer each of the facilitator’s questions on a sheet of personal paper. The paper was folded like a concertina, with each response carrying on from the next, for example:

Why do you [exercise]? (“It’s healthy”)P4

Why is that important? (“It raises my HR”)

Why is that important? (“I burn more calories”)

Why is that important? (“I want to lose weight”)

Why is that important? (“There’s a social pressure for me to look fit”)

P11 After each ‘why?’ people invited to share their answers at their discretion.  All pieces of (anonymous) paper were collected at the end for us to examine closely.  There were two rounds of questions:

Why do you ……………. (individual to describe own craft activity)?

Why are / aren’t you part of a crafting group? (individual to choose as applicable)

This purpose was to identify aspirations and motivations.P10

At 13:00 we finished the workshop with a summary and thanks.  People left their names and numbers with us in case they wanted to be part of further workshops.  I think most of us felt that it had been a good experience, and some people are already signed up to more workshops – these are being organised by a group of the participants from this day who wanted more of the same – see previous blog entries.

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