Planning for the Future – Semester Two – Assignment 5

Research Proposal

Throughout semester one I looked at how designer makers connect with each other and future clients, paying particular attention to social networking; facebook, twitter and weblogs.  What became apparent was how we showcase our work, often using images containing great detail, with the hope of attracting future clients. This led me to ask the question of the security of our designs, our Intellectual Property. This is an area that few designers are fully aware of but for those of us who try to understand IP, we find it confusing and difficult to navigate through.  We know we should be doing something to protect our designs but are scared off by costs and the time investment needed. In an age where the brand, logo and design ideas could make a business, it is especially important for us to consider all aspects of design and branding security.

In “Are our designs safe online? Research into Intellectual Property, Copyright and the Internet” I explained briefly how the Internet and the World Wide Web work and after accessing the University cross-search found journal articles and books to explain the different aspects of Intellectual Property law and looked at the different areas of IP that designers should protect. Lawyer and expert Stokes (2003) looks at how copyright protects different areas of art and design and Lane – Rowley (1997) discusses copyright within the world of textiles and fashion.  However throughout my research I found the majority of published work is written with lawyers in mind.  Considering this, my proposal is to look into different, more up to date areas to gather information on this subject, with the aim being, to put together a simple directory and a cross referencing table, to make it easy for a newly established textile design business to follow and be aware of where the help is and what is needed.

Initially my research will be collating information, this will be gathered from contacts within a wide field of my research area with whom I connected with during and after my last piece was written. I will contact through telephone and email, designer makers to ask their experience and understanding of IP law and local and national companies to ask how they help and support designers in this area; an example being The Cultural Enterprise Office who supports creative enterprises throughout Scotland, they deal first hand with new designers and are an excellent starting point in this instance. Craftscotland is a Scottish charity promoting designer-makers also offering training and support and Design Nation is another contact that promotes British Design and offer business education for new graduates.

From these and other contacts I hope to receive both quantitative and qualitative information and permission to use their details in my directory.  A variety of tools will be used to collate the information I receive, depending on how extensive the replies are. In the first instance I will create knowledge swatches of the companies who offer advice to designers, with their name, contact details and how each company offers help.  These swatches can be added to if and when more information is gathered. They will be available in hard copy or word document, be easy to read and like a large-scale business card. The information from the designer makers will be plotted as I receive it, quantitative will be plotted on a graph and qualitative recorded on a matrix. Their feedback will help illustrate where to focus the information for the cross referencing table of advice.

I will then look more closely at protection of Intellectual Property, covering the four headings; copyright, trademark, design and patent. I have discovered a podcast series of online lectures delivered through own-it to new graduates by artists and IP experts. Using information gathered here and because it is vital that I access the most up to date facts, I will also use the Intellectual Property Office web site and Intellectual Property Affects You (1993) to create a matrix chart, using the four main headings and cross-referencing them with information relating to textile design.

As the companies I will contact are there to support and help recent graduates and new businesses I believe they will reply in some way however there is a certain amount of information I can access from their web sites if I receive no response and from this I could still put together a directory, although I would prefer to have their support.

Time-wise the project will be divided into three parts,

  1. Contacting and collating, for which I will allow 5 days.
  2. The knowledge swatches, which will form the directory will be created at the same time as above, as the information is received.
  3. The cross-reference matrix will be created once all information is received to allow it to be organised according to IP headings and textile design requirements. For this I will allow 10 days.

Problems could arise from working alone and ideally having someone to help collate the incoming information and talk through the IP rights would ease any pressure, which in turn could lead to errors. The directory will be quite simple to put together but the cross referencing matrix may be undermined by my limited knowledge and understanding for such a huge area.

I have used the following references to help me in my research

Craftscotland, (online), available from:

Accessed 3rd April 2011

Cultural Enterprise Office, (online), available from:

Accessed 3rd April 2011

Design Nation, (online), available from:

Accessed 4th April 2011

Intellectual Property Office, (online), available from:

Accessed 4th April 2011

Lane-Rowley, Ulla, V., 1997. Using design protection in the fashion and textile industry. Chichester: John Wiley.

Own-it, (online) available from:

Accessed 4th April 2011

Scottish Enterprise, 1993. Intellectual Property Affects You. Glasgow: Design Council.

Stoke, S., 2003. Art and Copyright. Oxford: Hart Publishing

Interesting article on  IP from DLA Piper Scotland

Summer holiday reading with descriptions supplied by Amazon

These are some of the books I want to read over the summer they have been recommended by various sources

  • Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

You’re either a Purple Cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice. What do Apple, Starbucks, Dyson and Pret a Manger have in common? How do they achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and-true brands to gasp their last? The old checklist of P’s used by marketers – Pricing, Promotion, Publicity – aren’t working anymore. The golden age of advertising is over. It’s time to add a new P – the Purple Cow. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable. In his new bestseller, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It’s a manifesto for anyone who wants to help create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place.

  • Using design protection in the fashion and textile industry. Ulla Lane-Rowley

This book explores the use of intellectual property law to combat the problems of piracy and copying in the fashion industry, a serious threat that can put small companies out of business. It provides a clear overview of legislation and helps industry professionals protect innovative designs from plagiarism in the textile and clothing industry.

  • The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures. Dan Roam

This original book provides a whole new way of looking at business problems and ideas. Dan Roam demonstrates how thinking with pictures can help you discover and develop new ideas, solve problems in unexpected ways, and dramatically improve your ability to share your insights with others. Used properly, a simple drawing on a humble napkin is more powerful than Excel or PowerPoint. It can help us crystallise ideas, think outside of the box, and communicate in a way that other people simply get . Drawing on 20 years of visual problem solving combined with recent discoveries in vision science, Roam shows us how to clarify a problem or sell an idea by visually breaking it down using a simple set of visualisation tools. His strategies take advantage of everyone s innate ability to look, see, imagine and show.

  • What the Dog Saw: and other adventures. Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is the master of playful yet profound insight. His ability to see underneath the surface of the seemingly mundane taps into a fundamental human impulse: curiosity. From criminology to ketchup, job interviews to dog training, Malcolm Gladwell takes everyday subjects and shows us surprising new ways of looking at them, and the world around us. Are smart people overrated? What can pit bulls teach us about crime? Why are problems like homelessness easier to solve than to manage? How do we hire when we can’t tell who’s right for the job? Gladwell explores the minor geniuses, the underdogs and the overlooked, and reveals how everyone and everything contains an intriguing story. What the Dog Saw is Gladwell at his very best – asking questions and seeking answers in his inimitable style.

  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Malcolm Gladwell

Intuition is not some magical property that arises unbidden from the depths of our mind. It is a product of long hours and intelligent design, of meaningful work environments and particular rules and principles. This book shows us how we can hone our instinctive ability to know in an instant, helping us to bring out the best in our thinking and become better decision-makers in our homes, offices and in everyday life. Just as he did with his revolutionary theory of the tipping point, Gladwell reveals how the power of ‘blink’ could fundamentally transform our relationships, the way we consume, create and communicate, how we run our businesses and even our societies.You’ll never think about thinking in the same way again.

  • Brand Rewired: Connecting Branding, Creativity, and Intellectual Property Strategy. Anne H. Chasser & Jennifer C. Wolfe.

Discover how the world′s leading companies have added value to their company by rewiring the brand creation process

Brand Rewired showcases the world′s leading companies in branding and how they have added value to their company by rewiring the brand creation process to intersect strategic thinking about intellectual property without stifling creativity.

Features interviews with executives from leading worldwide companies including: Kodak, Yahoo, Kraft, J.Walter Thompson, Kimberly Clark, Scripps Networks Interactive, the Kroger Company, GE, Procter & Gamble, LPK, Northlich and more
Highlights how to maximize return on investment in creating a powerful brand and intellectual property portfolio that can be leveraged economically for many years to come
Reveals how to reduce costs in the brand creation and legal process
Illustrates how a brand strategy intersecting with an equally powerful intellectual property strategy produces a greater economic return and more rewards for the brand project leaders

Innovative in its approach, Brand Rewired shows you how how leading companies are abandoning the old school research–and–development–driven innovation philosophy and evolving to a Brand Rewired approach of innovating at the consumer level, using multi–disciplinary teams to build a powerful brand and intellectual asset to maximize return on investment.

  • Dyeing and Screen-Printing on Textiles

Dyeing and Screen-Printing on Textiles is a clear, easy-to-follow guide for both students and accomplished artists and designers who wish to expand their knowledge of a range of fascinating techniques. Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor covers many of the key processes used in creating dyed and screen-printed fabrics using a range of synthetic dyes. This comprehensive guide includes recipes for cloth preparation, dyeing and printing, fixation, designing a repeat, and preparing imagery and screens for exposure. Advice is also given on equipment needed for setting up a studio and safe working practice. The step-by-step instructions are accompanied by inspirational illustrations from practitioners around the world. This new edition of Dyeing and Screen-Printing on Textiles has been fully updated, contains a number of new images and features a refreshing new cover.

  • Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designer

In this new book from one of the great authorities on graphic design, some 100 of the worlds leading graphic designers open up their private sketchbooks, giving the reader an unparalleled insight into their creative development, design philosophies and visual influences. Samples range from typographical explorations to fully fledged illustration ideas, from scrappy scribbles and eccentric handwriting to photographic collages. Contributors include such world-recognized names as Stefan Sagmeister, Christoph Niemann, Sara Fanelli, Christoph Abbrederis, Shogo Ota, Art Spiegelman, Uwe Loesch, Milton Glaser, Michael Bierut, Bruce Mau, François Chastanet and Jordi Duró. Graphic is a treasure trove of design inspiration for professionals, students or anyone engaged in the visual industries.


Over the summer holiday I intend to clean up my blog, below is the list I hope to achieve by September 2011

  • review my links
  • create a Delicious account
  • new header  picture
  • new avatar for use across all my online presence
  • look into a changing the blog into a web site

People to connect with over summer

  • Claire Heminsley, Incahoots, contact to ask if I can shadow or do work experience with her
  • Contact all links on my blog to ask permission to link to them
  • Dawnne McGeachy – Service Innovation Designer – connect through Linkedin

Dundee College once again offering me a new experience

On Friday I gave my first ever presentation as a Textile Designer to the Textile Design and Textile Design for Fashion students at Dundee College, Graham Street, Dundee.  It was here that I did my City and Guilds Machine Embroidery, HNC Textile Design and some HND Textile Design units.  The time at Dundee College was incredible for my growth as an artist and here I was allowed to experiment and push myself with design, this in turn was amazing for my confidence in myself, allowing me to apply to second year as an direct entry student to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design to study Textile Design.

I was asked to deliver the presentation by James Donald my former tutor who teaches the HNC unit with Claire Heminsley and Laura McGregor. My brief was to talk about myself, my background  and the journey through to where I am now in terms of my art and design. I was also asked to talk about my experience of blogs and web sites and how I feel about social networking tools. I also talked about Design Studies as it linked with a project I did in semester one about how people connect and about the Embroidery Guild and the importance of keeping skills and craft alive with younger members too.

The presentation was to last 30 – 45 minutes which is quite along time for a first timer but I used a power point presentation (mostly images) and post cards to prompt me.  In hindsight I would probably try to have a live link to the internet and my blog in particular. I would have my examples of work closer to where I was standing and probably focus more on what I am doing now (although it is mostly uni work at present).

It also highlighted for me where my strengths and weakness are and I realise that my strengths are in talking about textiles and techniques involved  in my work and just about my own blog and as I’m still in the beginners stage of social networking felt that the content was perhaps not strong enough.  Maybe this is just doubt on my side!

As this was my first ever presentation I was understandably anxious but I believe it was well received, the students were very encouraging with smiles and nods and lots of questions and I received a lovely message from one of the students thanking me.  It was also  lovely to see that I’d inspired the majority of students to go on to university and if they had already made the decision to go, reinforced for them what an amazing experience it is!

I would like to say thank you to James Claire and Laura and all the students for making me so welcome.

me with the students

Assignment four – How people accumulate stuff

I accumulate stuff both without realising and on purpose. I’m one of those people who has a good old tidy up and if you visit me that day you’d think I was incredibly well organised and ‘sorted’ but by the end of the week the spoils of my work would be scattered over the  dining room, creeping into the kitchen and as for the sitting area – get the picture? A lot of this is due to me being an artist and the need to be surrounded by the tools of my craft and just the need to create like breathing and eating. So most of my stuff is related to my life, I accumulate paper, new and recycled,  but I especially love brown paper/envelopes, graph paper, music scores and general paper ephemera. However fabric has been an obsession from a child, I’ll see a beautiful fabric design and have to have some, even if its only a small amount, I love to go to charity shops not looking for clothes but at the fabric – but I am particular – it has to be cotton linen or wool, a fabric snob perhaps.  The thing is I then find it really hard to use the fabric and I feel there must be something psychological to this!

my fabric stash photographed in 2006!  its no longer like this

For my next  assignment I’ve collected information on “How people accumulate stuff” by questioning through interviews.  To help direct me in in my questioning I did a mind map, and decided to keep it quite simple so I could use it when questioning and not be so rigid with the questions, this is called a semi-structured interview.

My first opportunity to ask questions came about quite by chance last Saturday when I met up with a group of ladies I’d not met before, I  started the conversation by talking about how I accumulate stuff and  the conversation got going really well and at this point I asked if anyone would mind if I took notes  as this was an area that really interested me.

To record their thoughts I used mind maps as they help my brain to see things easily and I can then follow on from a line of thought with another branch. I have looked at other service design tools but for this process I needed to make notes quickly and am comfortable using this tool. Once started I let the conversation flow and didn’t stick rigidly to a set of questions.

Women – Over 30’s

Moira – Designer and Crafter

Accumulating is done through collecting and her love for blue and white pottery, which she was first introduced to in the late 70’s as a young girl when visiting a gallery.  There was something about a plate she saw and she had to buy it.  She returned a year later and had to buy another piece.  From then the love of blue and white pottery and china has grown and if she is out and about will look out for more.  Charity shops are always a good source and regardless of chips and cracks if she loves it, she’ll buy it. It makes it more appealing if items can be bought cheaply and the collection is not seen as an investment but one to be looked at and give pleasure.  They are displayed on a dresser and the extra pottery/china is stored in the loft and occasionally changed.  She feels no guilt at all from having accumulated these items and would never part with them. As a final question I asked what she would save if there was a fire, not including people and pets, her immediate response were her photographs.

Dawn – Teacher

My second interviewee showed  lots of  accumulating – the first being the love of all things African which started by seeing books, magazines and fabrics from Africa, particularly the Masai people and more generally the dress and jewellery of the tribes  – this prompted a holiday to South Africa and all the items are treasured and the books looked at often.  The holiday memories hold lots of emotion too.  Dawn also accumulates childrens’ books and at this point it was quite difficult for her to talk  as it bought back memories of her childhood.  Her Mum didn’t save anything and she mentioned things which I wont talk about here as they were quite personal, I did ask if she was willing to continue talking and she was. As a child the library was the only source of books available to her and now collects them as she loves the illustrations and pictures.  Beach detritus is something which is continually being collected especially driftwood and metal as she loves the textures and has it on display through out her house.  I asked what her husband thought of her accumulating things all she said was that he trips up over it! She mentioned that she sometimes feels weighed down by all the things she has, as her home is small and does feel a certain amount of guilt that it takes up space and it has to be looked after but I could see that her collecting gives her pleasure.  Her sister also collects. As a final question I asked what she would save if her house was on fire, after a few seconds her response was her Dads bonnet, jacket and ring and any photos she could get her hands on.

Late teens early 20’s

Maria – Nutrition student

Doesn’t accumulate at all, the only exception are things which hold extreme emotional ties, things that her dad gave her before he died and special gifts from her mum.  Most of her belongings are items she has chosen and will easily get rid through throwing away or through selling on Ebay.  She had thought of donating to charity but gives the majority of items to her friends.  She impulse buys but the majority of her money is spent on good quality food.  She feels no obligation to keep gifts and gives presents she doesn’t like as presents to other people and she doesn’t feel people should keep her gifts unless she has spent time creating them.  She only keeps what she knows she’ll use.

Jemma – Speech and language student

Jemma accumulates clothes! She has wardrobes full.  She buys them in high street shops e.g. Topshop, M and S and New Look or they are given as gifts.  She buys clothes if she wants them but never because she needs something and she never impulse buys. She thinks its good to accumulate clothes because fashion comes round again and she might need them in the future and she doesn’t want to be wasteful, however if she has totally finished with something she will give the item to a charity shop, she would never think of having a car boot sale or selling on Ebay. If an item is ripped she will throw it away, however she has started a dress making course and is now recycling fabric and cloth to make something else.  She doesn’t feel the need to keep something some one has given her although it depends on who gave it – if her granny had given the item she couldn’t give this away but if it was one of her aunties she wouldn’t feel obligated to keep it.  She doesn’t think someone should keep something she gave them but it does depend what it was – if it was hand made and something she had spent time making then she would be upset if they didn’t keep it.  If it was something she had bought then she wouldn’t be offended.  General ephemera, cinema, train tickets etc are easy for her to throw away.

Alison – Psychology student

Alison also accumulates clothes,  which she buys from charity shops if they are vintage, from high street shops e.g. Urban Outfitters and  Topshop and also keeps clothes that have been given to her which are also vintage. She keeps the clothes because she doesn’t like throwing things away, she likes to look at them and she just likes having them.  She has more than enough clothes but still feels a need to keep them all and buy more and often feels she doesn’t have anything to wear. Alison is emotionally attached to quite a few of the items as they were given as gifts, they are vintage clothes a  “Going Away outfit” from the 60’s and scarfs.  Alison is an impulse buyer and gets a huge rush when buying and often regrets buying.  She thinks that she’ll keep all these clothes whilst a student but once she has her own home and job will buy more classic items which will last.  If she does want to get rid of anything she will give them to friends or charity and has thought about selling at car boot sales and Ebay but has never got around to it.  Other items which she has accumulated over the years are items associated with good memories e.g. T in the Park tickets, cinema tickets, restaurant cards etc.  Stationary is something she goes out in search of and loves buying notebooks which she fills like a journal, she has a notebook for money spent, a notebook for things to do, a notebook of a wish list and two diaries one for Uni things and one for personal things – here she says she thinks she is quite obsessive! She admits (through laughter) that in the last year she has bought four kingsize duvet covers and has also been given some from her mum. She wont part with these until they look shabby.  Her ambition is to collect vintage china.

Male over 20

John – Store manager

John does not accumulate as he “doesn’t see the point of having stuff which keeps you tied down as its a hassle if you have to move home”.  His only possessions are the clothes he wears from day to day, his car, computer and X Box. He prefers people to things and the only nice things he buys he gives to his girlfriend.  However he has realised that he does collect digital media in the form of film and music.

below are some of the mind maps I created


From pottery to clothes, notebooks to driftwood its seems that accumulating stuff has more to it than it would seem  than simply storing items in a drawer out of sight where no one can see them.  From interviews I carried out over a week I realised that emotional attachment to items has a huge effect on us.  Its what stops us from living in a minimalistic way.  Speaking to a variety of people – age, background and gender there was a distinct difference between the women. The students all accumulated clothes whether through their own buying needs, gifts or from friends.  The late teens early 20’s is an important age, having left home and a time for making their mark on the world, a lot of this is done through the image they portray through hair styles, makeup and clothing and in this throw away society it could be easy to discard things however my younger interviewees all had an emotional attachment to items that had come from those they were close to.  Only one of my students collected something other than and as well as clothes and admitted herself that she was bordering upon obsessive however keeping and using the items gave her pleasure, kept her organised (which was very important in her day to day life) and had lovely memories attached.

There was a huge similarity with my over 30’s women interviewees, neither mentioned clothes but both mentioned items they loved to collect, even though space was an issue.  Neither collected for monetary gain only for the pleasure this collecting gave.  It was interesting that the collecting was associated with childhood/late teens, the pottery had a huge effect on Moira as a teenager and with Dawn the lack of collecting as a child almost encouraged her to collect as an adult because she could, as it does her sister. Guilt was a mixed thing and the only way it was attached to the accumulation of stuff was because of the space it takes up.

I only interviewed one male aged 27 and his response was quite different, he sees no need at all to collect and accumulate stuff – feeling it would weigh him down.  He doesn’t have anything with which he is emotionally attached too either. Whilst we were chatting though he realised that he did accumulate films and music both digitally and these are all contained on his computer which he can easily lift and take with him where ever he moves to.  He has enough clothing to see him through different occasions but not so much that the stuff is built into an accumulation. If he has finished with something he would throw it away. Stuff just isn’t important to him.

Although not mentioned in the interviews my husband is the same, he doesn’t see the need to accumulate stuff either.  The most important thing to him are the memories he has collected over the years. Doing things is more important to him, when the children were little he always made a point of spending time with them, reading, playing, talking and day trips at weekends. He has what he needs and never impulse buys.  He too has clothes for any occasion he needs to attend and has his collection of vinyl albums from his teens and twenties, his golf clubs and his history reference books  – he says the only thing he would save in a fire would be me!

Whilst researching this subject I became aware of the psychology surrounding collecting and hoarding and having had experience of someone with OCD this was of interest to me.  According to Elliot (2009) there are 5 features to the nature of excessive (compulsive) hoarding and accumulating stuff ‘excessive acquisition of large numbers of unnecessary and often worthless objects or items; apparently irrational, emotional attachments to the objects; vigilant protection of the collection; cluttered living conditions; emotional and behavioural resistance to discarding the objects/items’.  These in turn have a knock on effect, creating day to day problems either with those in the home or for neighbours. The hoarders realise what they are doing and are willing to have counselling but cannot give up their collection or see the need for medication. So where is the line between hoarding and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD often includes repetitive behaviour which causes distress ( Rachman and de Silva, 2009) and along with excessive hoarders they feel the need to carry out these actions. Those with OCD often know the distress they are causing to both others and themselves whereas hoarders are not aware of distress they may cause, for them hoarding gives them a positive or neutral feeling.  Differences can be seen in the table below taken from Behaviour research and therapy 47(6), 520 -522. Separating hoarding from OCD, by Elliott 2009

Table 1. Differentiating excessive hoarding from OCD.

Treatment response Excessive hoarding unresponsive to traditional CBT or medication for obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Demographic distribution Excessive hoarding far more common than OCD ([Kessler et al., 2005][Samuels et al., 2008] and [Tolin et al., 2008]).
Insight/complaints Excessive hoarders seldom complain about their ‘problem’, rarely seek treatment and have limited ‘insight.’
Age at which seek treatment People with OCD appear earlier for treatment.
Distress OCD causes primary distress; the distress associated with excessive hoarding is secondary and arises from complaints made by others.
Purpose The purpose of OCD compulsions is to reduce threat and/or anxiety; multiple reasons for excessive hoarding including taking advantage of opportunities to add to one’s collection.
Emotions OCD compulsions are emotionally negative; excessive hoarding is emotionally positive or neutral.
Stability of problem Hoarding is extraordinarily stable; OCD problems show variability over time.
Cognitive analyses Cognitive analysis of OCD centres on appraisals of intrusive thoughts. No similar conceptualization for excessive hoarding.
Over-inclusiveness Verbal reports of people with excessive hoarding tend to be over-inclusive.
Attachment/sentimentality People with excessive hoarding often have overgeneral and overdeveloped ideas regarding attachment to their possessions.

I believe the majority of people do accumulate to some extent, whether we realise it or not. Thankfully none of those I interviewed are in either of the above categories and their accumulation of stuff was for total pleasure and enjoyment not impacting on anyone to any great extent and don’t we all have that kitchen drawer where the old batteries, the double glazing window keys, case padlocks and charity brooches are stored along with receipts we keep just incase.

Elliott., 2009. Separating hoarding from OCD.  Behaviour research and therapy 47(6), 520 -522

Rachman, S.,  and de Silva, P., (2009). Obsessive-compulsive disorder: The facts (Revised 4th ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press ).


The subject of my assignment fascinated me but interviewing strangers has not be my favourite thing to do, Kirtsy Walk you’re job is safe.  I was nervous although it did break the ice and most people do love to talk.  I do believe that if I had been allowed to interview people I know, family, friends and friends of Jim  I wouldn’t have been so hesitant in getting started. I also think that being more relaxed I could have taken more time and used the service design tools which are new to me.



Design Safari – Football

I’ve now reached the finale of this assignment, the football match. Eventually I chose to attend McDiarmid Park, home to St Johnstone Football Team. The match was on Wednesday evening and as the day went on I started to get a little nervous. As I had no idea about anything I decided to take advantage of my communication skills and use the telephone! I phoned the football ground and was greeted by a lovely friendly voice, which put me at ease immediately. I explained I was going to the match that night and that this was my first time, this didn’t seem to surprise her as I thought it would and she asked which team I was supporting! Didn’t expect that, so said I was supporting St Johnstone (as they are closer to my home and I thought they would have a greater amount of fans to observe being the home team). I was told to get there early 7pm for a 7.45 kick off and that I could park on the site but there would be a charge of £2.00, that I should head to the East Stand and it would be £12.00. So off I set not realising there were road works on the motorway up to Perth, arriving at the ground but then wasn’t sure which entrance to go in with my car! Not sign posted at all. I decided to go to the one where there were police/security! It was a bit daunting seeing such a police presence and so many people on foot walking at speed, full of determination. After talking to a man with a walkie talkie and fluorescent jacket I was directed where to take my car then a lady with a walkie talkie and fluorescent jacket asked me for £3.00 – the price had gone up in less that 2 hours.

As I walked to the ground I felt a rush of anticipation I wasn’t sure where the East Stand was so had to ask again then came upon a barrier of walkie talkies and fluorescent jackets – MY bag would then be searched by another walkie talkie fluorescent jacket man! Such security and how naive am I, I obviously looked really dodgy and suspicious, of course they didn’t realise I was a Design Student only there to observe! I got in a queue to find out it was for season ticket holders only – arghhh! so then had to go to the next entrance and pay £20.00! In front of me was a huge steel barrier – floor to ceiling, at this stage I really wanted to turn round and go home, I had to ask how to get through and realised it was a turnstile. Once through this steel monstrosity I was faced with a concrete wall and not sure which way to go – people were just standing and talking so decided to go and explore and pretend I knew what I was doing.  I found an opening in the concrete and was faced with the flood lights and green – it was actually quite amazing to go from such hard and cold surroundings to this vast expanse of green and light.  Then the fun began where do I sit?   I had to ask another fluorescent jacket where I sit and was told anywhere there wasn’t a sticker and a number – hunt the seat began.

so this is where I sat and my worry and fear of crowds and being crushed started to vanish as the rest of the supporters started to arrive – it was a real eye opener, families, couples, children and groups of men/ women and both.  There were all ages of men and women and I would say there were as many women as men and certainly a lot of children who all felt quite at home and were running about. Grannies and Grandpas with daughters and their children.  Every one seemed to know where they were going and even though they weren’t all in numbered labelled seats they all headed for particular seats.  The seats were pull down plastic and very cold to sit on, I noticed two older ladies had bought cushions (wish I’d thought of that).  Children climbed over the seats to save disturbing those in the row and at one point a girl in front slipped as she was climbing and spilled her juice all over herself and her brother, their granddad was oblivious to what was happening! One couple who caught my eye were  late 20’s early 30’s they were wearing designer clothes very stylish with 3 young children all dressed immaculately.  Perhaps he had been a footballer, his wife had perfect makeup and hair and big jewels, they disappeared from view so I couldn’t watch them through the match but at half time he collected enough refreshments for a party!

Younger children continued to play and run about throughout the match and even though it was late they seemed really happy.

I was becoming to realise this wasn’t just a match but an occasion and more than that – it was very normal for those who continued to arrive, friends were greeted and the barrier in the photo above was the meeting point where groups came chatted amicably and then went to their seats.  Juice, huge bags of sweets, pies, the biggest pink coloured hot dogs in creation with bright orange mustard (Lucys’ project came to mind) and cups of tea etc were being consumed in vast quantities.  Music was played very loudly at the beginning which enhanced the party/occasion atmosphere and although it was far from Disney land I imagined some sort of mascot running around the pitch.  The football ground has to some degree been disneyized  – there’s a restaurant, Super J’s childrens’ club, conferencing and events, lotto and a business club.

Below on the mind map are some of the observations I noted from the fans ….

We discussed in a semester one lecture Simmels thoughts of  how those who mix together dress the same to fit in and be accepted, with the football match it was inevitable that the majority of the home fans would have the colours of the team and they certainly wouldn’t wear the colours of the opposition, “fashion on the one hand signifies union with those in the same class, …… and the exclusion of all other groups”, Simmel 1957 could easily have been talking about football fans here.

What was also interesting whilst observing, was the reaction of the young fans, if something happened on the pitch they immediately looked to the older middle aged fans for their response and then they followed by doing exactly the same, social anthropologists would have been fascinated  I’ve never seen such a response before and got quite excited as this happened throughout the match.  The middle aged fans behind me were ordinary guys who when they first arrived were chatting easily with each other and were obviously friends who meet often and were talking about their families and children.  However they became animalistic when their team were fouled and constantly booed the no.11 Aberdeen player when he kicked the ball when I asked why I was told he had previously fallen down in the penalty box to try and get a penalty, I found this really awful and seems like a form of group bullying but was told this happens all the time and in some cases makes the player improve his game!   They were very abusive against the referee who apparently earns £800/ game and many times I ‘jumped out of my skin’  as they were shouting and booing and telling him how to do his job.  In January we discussed the Canon, a list of Art works which was said to be the best in the world but each person has their own thoughts on what should be in this list, or any list of favourites.  The fans at the match were also doing this, discussing players and tactics, saying who they thought should have been played, each with their own personal view.  As the match progressed the atmosphere also got exciting as the home team had missed 3 attempts on goal and play had moved to the park in front of me I found that I had started ooing and aahing with every goal attempt missed and had to laugh at myself for getting carried away with the crowds enthusiasm.

There wasn’t much singing at all and again was told that the crowd wasn’t big enough for them to sing however at one point the Aberdeen fans did sing.

Just before half time a lot of the crowd disappeared to get more refreshments probably to beat the queues and I decided I too would have a Bovril as by now I was freezing cold and shivering and I’d heard it was tradition to have a Bovril at half time.  This was a very social 15 minutes with lots of chat between the crowd I chatted to a young boy behind me and asked if he was enjoying the match he said “no he wasn’t that he wanted a goal!” Then to my surprise I met someone I knew and started chatting and he was saying he’d been given the job of encouraging and looking after family membership.  It seems that St Johnstone is one of the most family oriented clubs and I feel that you would soon be accepted if you were a regular there and obviously supported The Saints.

Initially my fear of going to the football match was of crowds, bad behaviour and getting swamped by the crowd etc but Im wondering how much of my preconceptions were influenced by what is reported in the press and seen on the TV, bad behaviour is always reported and when you think that sometimes at a football match there are 30,000 + supporters its always the 6% of bad behaviour not the 94% of great behaving fans that we hear about.

The fact remains that this was my first time, had I been excluding myself for 50 years from this obviously huge occasion? Where does this fit with Bourdieus’ theory in “The Love of Art” that having a taste for art is learned rather than naturally inbuilt with in us – his argument that working class people don’t go to museums because they exclude themselves thinking they’re not sure how they would fit in or how they would behave once there , could it be that they don’t go because they haven’t, like me been brought up with football so don’t actually think about going, I don’t suppose I would ever have attended this or any other match had this assignment not been set . The short time in the ground made me realise its not even about class but tradition into which you’re born.  It was obvious by the different generations that were there, that this was something that crossed all ages, abilities and social classes. I had been bought up to go to museums and art galleries, libraries and church but not football, my dad loved motorbike scrambling and that was where, as little children we would go with a flask of coffee and luncheon meat sandwiches smothered with Daddies brown sauce, that was our tradition!  What would Bourdieu think of todays museums and galleries which have been made far more interactive and family friendly through disneyization even Historic Scotland make adverts to appeal to the young and make historic buildings more exciting to draw in the crowds.

Here is the link to the highlights of the match 🙂 enjoy

One of my daughters also went to a football match for the first time that night – hers was a very different experience to mine though, it was the Rangers v’s Celtic match, need I say more?

Simmel, G., 1957. Fashion. The American Journal of Sociology 62(5), 541 – 558.

Observations over the week

As part of the design safari for assignment 3 we visited a number of places where we could quietly observe people going about their everyday business. Here are the places I visited


I arrived at the Drs early so I could observe! On arrival at the surgery you have to sign in with a touch screen computer – its very user friendly (or so I thought) whereby you have to press whether you are male or female, then your date of birth, then your appointment comes up and you press ok.  The screen is in an area which is quite dark and low down, I presume this is for those who are in wheel chairs but am not sure why the area is so dark.

I sat in a corner so I could watch and three elderly people came in one after the other, one went to the screen and had a go – then went to the reception desk as the screen was working!  one got the screen to work and the next went to the screen and then had to go to the receptionist too.  The seating area is very big but most people sit near the door so they can hear the doctor/nurse/physiotherapist/chiropodist come and call their name.  If you sit near the back of the room you can’t hear your name called.  Most people were sat with a seat space between them and kept their heads down reading magazines (one on trains, one on yachts and one looked like maps) probably didn’t want to have to answer the question “how are you” if someone came in and recognised them.  Some one came in and was with a carer, its along way to walk from reception and then back through again to the surgery.

For children, there is a huge play area but the little boy didn’t want to leave the toys when his mum tried to take him through with the nurse.  Three ladies waiting were chatting one kept her handbag on her lap and held on to it quite tightly.  Apart from the child coughing no one looked ill!

Then my doctor called me early so the observing had to end


Out for lunch. The  cafe is very busy and we have to wait to be seated, this is quite normal for this particular place but its worth the wait.  We are shown to our usual table and wait to be served.  There’s a group, possibly a family of Gran and Granddad Mum and Dad and teenage daughter.  The mum is in her 30’s and looks like she’s made an effort for the day, probably over dressed for the cafe we’re in – she is wearing make up her hair is perfectly straightened, her clothing matches, a red and white patterned top, black trousers, black Christian Louboutin style stiletto  shoes with a red sole and heel (which are very worn) and a red handbag with big white flowers.  She smiles a lot and seems really happy to be with all the people, the man presumably her husband is not so smiley but chats away with the group.  Their food arrives and they have a mixture of hot cooked meals and paninis, I can’t see the faces of the others with her.  A couple in their 50’s pass their table and stop to chat, the woman moves away and the man shows the seated lady something on his phone she then laughs and shares a joke with him. He then leaves and the whole table listen to the lady.  After a while the table get up to leave too and the Louboutin lady puts on a bright red coat and she walks confidently away in her very high heels.  I wonder what was on the phone, realistically it was probably a photo of a grandchild but I guess I’ll never know!

Three tables are filled with more mature couples the men are all dressed similarly in creamy brown wool trousers with brogue shoes, checked shirts and classic wool jackets one with large checks and the other two are a plain wool jackets. They all look like former army officers and don’t talk at all to their wives apart from discussing what they will eat. The wives all have very well coiffured hair and have probably just been at the hairdressers that morning.  One lady says she won’t be able to eat everything on her plate.  The staff are very busy and professional although they don’t have time to stop other than to take orders and deliver food.  One of the couples leaves and the husband helps his wife with her chair and coat.  A real gentleman.  Two ladies sit next to us one is probably a carer, I don’t think it was mum and daughter as the younger lady calls the other by her first name Dora.  Dora needed a lot of help to sit and get comfy and she looked like a granny with white curly hair and a lovely face. They talked about people they knew and the younger lady had to keep repeating herself and asking if Dora was alright.

We then had to leave as it was very busy.


The library is somewhere I often go to now to use the computers.  5 pm the day time staff have left and the evening staff take over.   Student comes in and he cant take out the book he wants, it seems he owes a fine of more than £10 but the machine wont take £5.00 notes, he approaches the desk and the gentleman on duty comes over and tries the £5 notes himself.  They don’t work so the librarian gets his wallet out and changes the money for a £10 note!

This particular member of staff is so friendly and helpful and over the last few weeks I’ve witnessed numerous occasions where he changes notes for coins.  Nothing is any trouble for him.