WHAT IT IS
Awkward Middle Place is a co-creation workshop that engages participants to visualize their cultural identities in a fun, 3D collage project. 12 immigrants and children of immigrants participated to address questions about race, equity and acculturation in their identities. I hosted this experimental workshop as part of user research for my masters thesis at MFA Products of Design on November 18, 2017.
HOW IT WORKS
The participants were asked to answer questions about their identities in each of seven rounds. At the beginning of each round, the banner with the next prompt was revealed. Then the guests were given seven minutes to shuffle through magazines, find images that best described their answers, rip them out, and collage them onto the banners as their responses. At the end of each round, we gathered around the banner to share and exchange comments as a group.
Questions on the banners
The workshop confirmed many insights from the user interviews that I had conducted. In both, users identified the central tension in their identities as the one between their heritage and white America. Many expressed feelings of shame in both being white-washed and in their cultural heritage. Furthermore, this tension was deeply colored by their relationship with their race as they perceived the signs associated with their heritage as exotic, primitive, or even childlike in comparison to the dominantly white communities that they now belonged.