This project started as self initiated design-led exploration into gender and sexual orientation inequality. Using the theme of ‘Desire’ as our lens, we explored experiences of gendered material culture, stereotypes and conformity, and focused particularly on identity transformation over summer holidays during adolescence years. After drafting a project proposal, we delivered a presentation to the Directors of the Institute of Design Innovation who challenged us with moving the project forward utilising their Cube Method. This was a rapid three day project that resulted in two successful PHD applications to the Glasgow School of Art.

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Above: Images from the Desire Cube Exhibition 

We were challenged with using the Institute of Design Innovations Cube method. Which involves undertaking a project within the space of three days, with three people. We were asked to produce one artefact to summarise the findings of our exploration.

To begin the project we used rapid mind mapping to visualise our thought processes, and explore potential areas of focus. Following this we developed a range of creative engagement tools, and an environment for the engagement to take place in order to explore peoples experiences with developing identity during adolescence, with a specific focus on summer holiday transformations. This involved crafting sculptures of disembodies school uniforms, and sourcing old school objects such as tape cassette dictaphones, chalk boards, jotters and those terrible factual posters found in geography departments. The mock school environment intended to trigger memories of participants, and bring them back to their school days. Instead of asking participants direct questions related to our area of exploration, we allowed conversation to find its way there naturally through the engagement tools.

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During the process of this project we realised that there was potential for much further exploration of the themes we had developed. The final outcome featured a small exhibition, the Desire Cube, which was an understated artefact containing two PhD applications proposing to continue our research in two avenues focusing on craft and gender, and queer rural youth. The PhD applications were accepted by the Glasgow School of Art and awarded £120,000 in the form of two full scholarships and stipends.

We presented and exhibited the desire cube project at the 2015 Wellbeing by Design Conference in Forres, Moray.

As part of this project we took on volunteer roles in our communities working with young people identifying as LGBT within a drop in service in Glasgow, and the young critics Group at Glasgow Women’s Library. We still hold these volunteer positions to this day, and continue to support third sector and charity organisations working to tackle inequality in our local communities.

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