WHAT DOES THE QUEER WORLD LOOK LIKE TO YOU
Queer World - Co-creation Workshop
Participatory research/ Experience design
Queer World is a co-creation workshop as a part of my graduate thesis work “Queer China — Proposals to Empower Chinese Queer Youth.” where participants use a game board to map the power dynamics among stakeholders in the world of LGBTQ.
The purpose of the workshop is to:
1) test my hypothesis, which is a power dynamics map of the LGBTQ community in China;
2) gain insights from participants’ personal experiences and perspectives;
3) find design opportunities.
MFA Products of Design
School of Visual Arts
Thesis work, Guidance from Allan Chochinov and Andrew Schloss
Queer World Wrokshop
1. The rules of the Queer World
The workshop started with an introduction of the game rules. There are no right or wrong answers in this workshop: the Queer World needs your point of view. I hope everyone can participate with an open mind and be respectful to each other through the experience.
I set these rules for two reasons. On one hand, my thesis started with the argument that there is discrimination between different subgroups within the LGBTQ community. For instance, trans folks and bisexual folks are facing discrimination from straight people and queer folks. So it is important to remind the participants to have an open mind and be respectful to each other, because that is what we, all queer people, should do all the time.
On the other hand, I want to create a safe, fun, easy and relaxed atmosphere to make the participants feel they are heard.
2. Create your characters
Then as an ice-breaker, the participants were instructed to create their own characters by cutting images from magazines and team up to introduce themselves. Besides the idea of gamification, these characters they created could be used as tools to make it easier and more fun for participants to get to know each other, such as their names, hometowns, preferred pronouns, occupations, and personalities. And it worked, people started smiling and laughing while they introduced their characters to each other.
3. Which has the biggest impact on you
After people got relaxed, they got to create and explore the Queer World on a game board. The first question I asked was, among all the stakeholders, which had the biggest impact on you, choosing between "a large impact", "a small impact" or "never thought about it".
Then among the stakeholders that they believed had an impact on them, I asked them to consider whether they could also make an impact on those stakeholders. For instance, I felt like I could barely change the social norm right now, I would draw a bigger arrow to “you,” a small one toward “social norm.”
After that, using the board they had created as a prop, they compared their choices in a group, discuss why they made those decisions, and started a dialogue.
4. Where do you see the connections
The second part is about connections inside this system. I asked them to draw a line between the stakeholders that had a connection with one another.
One interesting insight I gained from the group discussion was that I wish there was a connection between my chosen family and my family of origin. This reminded me of another related insight I got from a conversation with Adam, a therapist who has lots of experience working with queer folks. He told me that, frequently the struggles faced by his clients struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identities came from the conflict between their own identities and the expectations of their families, both of which were important to them.
5. What changes would you like to see
Lastly, the participants pointed out which they would like to see or make changes among all the connections.
One thing that popped up in this session was that every participant was not happy with the government. No matter which country they came from. It did not surprise me, and I am holding the hope that it can be changed.