As a design team (several of my peers and I), were approached by TASC (Teen Action & Support Center) located in Springdale, AR. Wanting to revitalize their community and particularly reach out to teens, they decided to host a community block party. Having the event be inclusive to all ages it was vital that it be a place where the community could gather, get to know one another while having a great time! This area is mostly populated by people who are Marshallese and Latinx, gave us extra pressure as human-centered designers to be inclusive and sensitive to people with diverse backgrounds throughout our designs. Especially when designing content such as signs, flyers, social media graphics, and language. We met up with TASC asking them questions about the community. We went as individuals and in pairs to observe the demographics and details about the area. All so we could get a better grasp of the different cultures. We kept our eyes and ears open for any pain points or points of joy for inspiration for the activities we would be in charge of creating and overseeing during the block party. They needed to be fun, engaging, clearly understood, and in turn, give us information about the community we were serving. This would help TASC better connect with their community and improve on future block parties.
It was definitely a challenge to expand beyond our own knowledge/experiences and what we were comfortable with. I along with my peer Gina was in charge of the Bingo booth which was also the welcome table where most people came to first. The Bingo cards were created to help motivate people to visit other booths along with incentives to win a bike, by entering completed cards in the raffle. Having some for adults, teens, and younger children, the free spaces were filled with different statements that if correlated with them they could mark off. Some of the similar things across all cards were asking about hobbies they liked to do, things they liked, and basic home-life. We had cards in Spanish and English, unfortunately, none in Marshallese. A lot of factors didn't allow this to happen, but the main one was being short on time to find a translator. We hoped that the English would be enough, but to our disappointment, we were asked for Marshallese cards. I think making an effort to have material in all three languages in the future will be extremely beneficial in making these parties truly feel that they belong to this community.
Overall the event had a great turnout for being the very first one. One observation was that the activities we had weren't home runs with teens and were dominated by the younger crowd. Though, it was amazing to see the participation of the community. This first block party was a great stepping block and foot in the door to be able to gather more community participation for the next one. Moving closer to designing with, so it can truly be their own.