During my exchange, we have been looking into the refugee situation facing the world today. Throughout this semester, the two courses I am taking: “Communication and Presentation BAPD2200” and “Product Aesthetics and Cultural Understanding BAPD2300", will look into the challenges refugees face, identify design gaps and find out how design can offer support to this situation for both refugees/asylum seekers and the helping institutions.
The project first started with an intense research faze. I looked into all different aspects of the situation that interested me, such as: Education, Housing, Child Marriage and Unaccompanied Minors. I made the decision to work with Education in the Product Aesthetics and Cultural Understanding BAPD2300class.
After digesting all of the information I gathered on education, I found my problem definition and brief.
Problem definition: How can we help refugee families learn about their new culture together.
After a process of brainstorming ideas, I began to think of where families gather. The dinner table. The dinner table is an important part of family life. It is a place where they share a meal together, hold family meetings, share stories and do homework. This was important to me as a designer as I wanted to make sure that I could meet my users where they are. I wanted to keep the idea of family and togetherness at the heart of my concept along with education being the main focus. So I came up with the idea of educational placemats. This way families could learn their new culture together as the concept meets them at a place they come in contact with daily. The idea of the place mat is that after the family has used them to eat a meal, they can then put them together to make a game. The placemats come in a set of 4. Each place mat has its own typical Norwegian theme i.e. Vikings, Fairy Tales, Wildlife and Snow sports. The idea for the mixed themes is that the family can start to learn about their new countries culture together in a fun way.
This was the first iteration of the Placemat.
A digital example of the dinner mats being used as a board game.