WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU ACKNOWLEDGED A STRANGER?
Project #Knowstanger is an exploration into social design. It’s aim is to help the inner city citizens of Melbourne and facilitate connections with each other to inhabit greater well-being by improving interactions through authentic conversation within a safe and comfortable environment.
In this digital landscape, meeting people and making new acquaintances face-to-face has become absent from our social library and has left us without a sense of community and lack of happiness.
“Humans need social connections, and without them, people experience physical and psychological problems.” -
-Baumeister & Leary, Williams
This approach was not to single out mental illness alone but be inclusive in the preventative theory and if any one were to experience such extremity they would be referred to a trained professional.
It would work by turning individuals in their communities to become advocates, an expression of wellness. De-stigmatising mental health as an abnormality and more as something we all deal with. #KNOWSTRANGER has the opportunity to build up a network of volunteers to improve the wellness of individuals and the community within the city of Melbourne. They are the catalyst to the improvement of social connection.
Along with the faces of the project there would be other initiatives to get the conversation going through advertising, social media, a website, partnerships and the kindness challenges.
“Each time you say hello to a stranger your heart acknowledges over and over again that we are all family”
Process and mehtod
We went into the hubs of the city and talked to people as 'volunteers' of the project. We devised prototypes to start a conversation with the community. We asked questions. We expressed our ideas to them. They loved it. Our Prototypes included:
- Handing out packets of candy to strangers, a direct opposite of the saying "never take candy from a stranger".
- Small round signs with short, witty and engaging questions to allow strangers to chat with volunteers.
- Volunteer t-shirts that share a similar trait to the signs and also lets people out in public see what the volunteer is there for.
- Small emoticon cards that users can choose by themselves and write their desired feelings.
- Social media including a Twitter and Instagram for the intention of allowing users to share their experience and knowledge.
- Website for users to gather information on the topic and to engage with the services available.
This project was a collaboration between students at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. With guidance from Sarah Drummond, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Snook, Glasgow, Scotland.
a project by: