Family to Family (F2F) Meals

As part of a larger project to help create a "Refugee Ready Region"in Michigan, our small team of three student-designers engaged with new citizens to better understand how their experience settling into a new place could be improved. We went in without a specific project, intervention, or solution in mind -- just curiosity. After several months of engaging and working alongside families, we came up with the idea for Family to Family Welcome Meals or F2F, a way to develop social connectivity between arriving families and those who have already spent time in the area. Below is an overview of the project process.

Summary

The Team

Kayla (me)

Akhila

Joie

The Timline

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01

Understanding Context

As we began the project and built relationships, we kept both the big picture as well as the individual context in mind. Conducting relevant background research was an important way of reflecting on our own biases and experiences, as well as the project power dynamics.

"We lost our home, which means the familiarity of daily life. We lost our occupation, which means the confidence that we are of some use in this world. We lost our language, which means the naturalness of reactions, the simplicity of gestures, the unaffected expression of feelings."

Arendt, Hannah, Kohn, Jerome, and Feldman, Ron H. “The Jewish Writings.” Book. New York: Schocken Books, 2007.

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On a global scale, 82.4 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced at the end of 2020.

02

Stakeholder Mapping

Stakeholder mapping helped our team consider who was important to involve in each step of the project and what resources we could connect to provide the most value.

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03

Problem Hypothesis

Beyond shelter, there is so much more that contributes to human wellbeing -- access to opportunity, social connection, and economic agency -- to name a few. We wondered how we might allow for vulnerability and closeness among people who had little other social structure. 

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

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How might we create programming that fosters social connectivity?

How might we increase social connectivity through vulnerability among refugee community members and women especially?

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04

Shadowbox Workshop

What makes you feel safe? What does your ideal place look like? Narrative prototyping -- wanted to understand how families conceptualized home, safety, and comfortBoxes revealed creativity and identity with materials, colors, textures chosen

The activity was helpful  and allowed for a creative, non-threatening environment
Something kids and adults could participate in
The non-language materials were really great to quickly get started on

Second visit people recognized team and felt more open/comfortable
Showing up the second time made a lot of difference

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Helped us see how that might foster connections
They wanted to create a sense of giving back and it looked like food was a medium to do that
Music and Dance seemed to bring out people to be more light-hearted and just have a good time with each other.

05

Affinity Mapping

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06

Prototyping

How might we create programming that fosters social connectivity?

07

Final Project Focus

Many of the women we spoke with had dishes from home they could cook, an asset we decided to focus on to amplify as our project direction --> our next step was to experience cooking with the families

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08

Cooking Together

How might we create programming that fosters social connectivity?

09

Design Activities

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10

Feasibility & Value Analysis

How might we create programming that fosters social connectivity?

11

Summer Fieldwork

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12

Collaboration & Feedback

How might we create programming that fosters social connectivity?

13

Implementation

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