Design Research Society Meetings
My article on design anthropology at Abobe Think Tank

Weird and productive day in Santa Fe

So this morning started out very weird. I woke up worrying about my apartment catching on fire because I left one light on. Later when I called a friend to leave a birthday message, he told me that there was a fire in his home. Spooky.

Each day, Jerry and I explore more of Santa Fe to see what is similar and different from my other trips. The local cafe where I was looking forward to spending my mornings has been replaced by a clothing shop. The self-serve laundromat that I was looking forward to washing my clothes at is gone. I need to get a bike to go to the next "nearest" one, but bikes are so expensive here. Even on Craigslist, the cheapest bike was $200 dollars and they were all for men.

The afternoon I spent doing cool research for the book. I've laid out the chapters of the book, In Design We Trust: Design, Democratic Values, and People's Experiences of American Governance:

1. Introduction: Governmentality, Values, Design, Experience

Part 1: Of ballots and ballot boxes
2.    A design history of American fraud
3.    Design for Democracy and governmentality

Part 2: Insuring good health
4.    A design history of government health insurance
5.    Cook County Bureau of Health services patient billing and payment policy

Part 3: Policy is designed
6.    Mapping design policy
7.    Citizen-centered policy design

8.    Conclusion: DIY policy design

The chapters from Part 3 have been written based on conference presentations. They will just need to be cleaned up and recontexualized within the broader themes of the book.

I am conducting the research for Part 1 on the design history of ballots (for graphic design) and ballot boxes (for industrial design). Today, I searched through all of the US Patents regarding ballots and ballot boxes. It was really exciting because you have all of the sketches and  the designer's intentions written in the documentation of the patent. From a Values|Design|Experience perspective, this will go nicely with the newspaper articles that capture the citizen's experiences of ballots and ballot boxes. I spent the afternoon flagging the instances in which design enabled election fraud in the book, Deliver the Vote: a History of Election Fraud by Tracy Campbell (Published by Carroll and Graf 2005). The design history chapters are framed by the elements and principles of design and their effect on democracy.

For example, I track several instances from the 1700s to the 1800s when the color of ballots were used by partisans to know which political party a citizen voted for and thus intimidate or violently attack the voter. The story seems to be about design trying to stay one step ahead of election fraud.

I found the local independent bookstore today and met the owner, so I can order any books I need from him. Luckily, I am less than a block for UPS when I have to ship my books back home.

This week I hope to wrap up the research of ballot history so that I can begin writing that chapter next week. I think I am going to do a strict 9am to 12pm, lunch and reading siesta until 3pm, 3pm-7pm writing schedule. Not including breaks to walk Jerry, of course. 


Natalie Hanson

My goodness you're prolific - one of the benefits of being an academic, I guess. :) Your book plans look fabulously interesting, I can't wait to learn more! Natalie


Don't forget about Interlibrary Loan. :-)

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