At the last workshop we set the mothers some homework: to draw an imaginary space that encapsulates the qualities they had identified in Tagpuro. Predictably this didn’t happen.
Even more disappointingly only around 8 mothers came to this workshop as the rest were at a Red Cross housing event. We decided to delay the workshop activities we had planned for that day and instead carry out the homework with the mothers who had showed up.
After some confusion over the definition of an imaginary space, the mothers set about drawings their imaginary spaces based on qualities such as: a relaxing space, a place to socialise, cool, safe place etc. Those who were most successful imagined and drew themselves inside the spaces. Others who were a bit lost for ideas started to draw buildings they already knew, such as the local Barangay Hall.
We asked one of the mothers to present her work as a good example of an imaginary space. She had drawn herself sitting under a palm tree which to her represented a relaxing place to sit and think. Encouraged by the first mother, the others then followed suit. It became a lovely show and tell session, with all the mothers laughing at each other’s selection of images and drawing styles.
At the following workshop we wanted to take the qualities one step further by trying to relate these back to the programmes and activities for the study centre. Building on information (the programme and activities of the Study Center) we had got from the previous workshops. The ultimate goal of the workshop was to generate a definitive list of rooms for the Study Center and three key qualities of each room.
Firstly, we played a game which would help the mother’s remember the various activities connected to the Study Center. This involved splitting the mothers into two groups and them taking it in turns to mime out the activity written on a card for the other groups to guess (a bit like charades). The mothers really enjoyed laughing at each other miming out the activities, such as dancing, cooking, or going to the loo, etc, and really got into character.
We then asked the mothers, still in the two groups, to fill out a table on pre-pared cards. On each card was the heading for each programme of the Study Center (Study & Tutorial / Culture, Arts & Sports / Cleaning & Maintenance / Breakfast Club). The first column of the table listed activities relating to the programme heading. Alongside each activity we asked the mothers to write down three key qualities that they associated with that activity and, finally, the name of the room where that activity would occur. We then asked the mothers to underline the most important quality associated with each activity. For example for Culture & Arts one group produced this:
We could have taken a more pragmatic approach and come up with a list of spaces defined by their activities and ignoring the qualities all together. However, we felt it important that the mothers kept engaging with the feeling of the space as this will allow them to imagine themselves inside the spaces better and, we hope, will lead to a richer design.