Tag: playing


Visual Moderation

The Botanic Concrete version of Visual Moderation involves real-time note taking using drawing as it’s primary tool. Simple illustrations are used to explain and capture ideas, concepts and discussions in a concise and accessible format. Visual Moderation is a two way process where the moderator checks in and refines their notes in discussion with the people involved in the event that they are attempting to capture.

Large roll of paper

Blu tack

Selection of marker pens/drawing materials

  • It’s a good idea for the Moderator to develop a short lexicon of imagery that they can refer to, to ensure that the process is efficient and delivered in real time. For example, if you are moderating a meeting about families and green spaces you should figure out how you will represent ‘family’ or ‘people’ as well as trees/plants/green spaces ahead of the meeting so that you have that idea in your head before you start. 
  • Remember that you are taking notes and that you don’t need to capture every single detail- go for the key ideas and concepts with an economy of language and then check in with the group to see if you have missed anything that they would like to include. 
  • It’s a good idea to think about how you will share the notes after the event: will this be through photographs or can you refine and digitise the notes?

The notes created using Visual Moderation throughout Botanic Concrete so far have been digitised and shared with the group via email and a dedicated Facebook page. The illustrations from the notes have formed a visual identity for the project and have been used for the website and for the branding of different tools and events.


Botanic Concrete Notes

Botanic Concrete overview

Mini brainstorm



Participatory Web Design

Participatory Web Design invites the community project members to use the existing tools, future tools and all the information gathered to understand how they would like to see them documented on a website. Participants would go through a variety of exercises in both groups and as individuals to come up with ideas, share inspiration and begin shaping and informing the website design.

What do we need:

 Two days

 Set up room with 4-5 tables (how many people are attending?)

 Print A3 Brainstorm notes from past session (4-5 copies)

Use case cards

 Vision Statement - What is the outcome we want to see? What purpose will it serve?

 Scissors

 Tape

 Bluetack

 Brown paper

 Post-its

 Markers

 Pens

 Blank A4 paper

Previous ideas printed on A4

Day One

 Introduction

 Plan of the workshop

 Review Brainstorm notes

 Use case cards - to understand who will use the website and why

 Review previous ideas

 Vision statement - to understand the purpose of the website and the overall project

Day Two - Prototyping! - sketch, brainstorm ideas

 Show inspiration on similar projects and using post-its, everyone writes down what they like from each site.

 Crazy 8 sketching - Fold A4 paper in half, then again in half two more times until you have 8 equally folded boxes when you open up the paper again.

(1) run an icebreaker where you give everyone 30 seconds to draw random things (i.e. cat, flower, garden, horse, community) starting from easy to more complex.

(2) run the activity again, but this time sketch ideas of how the homepage would look like. Everyone will get 1 minute per pox (8 minutes) to fill each box with a different idea. 

(3) everyone shares their ideas and discuss what people like. Repeat it again with the tools page. 

 Wireframes - Sketch ideas on single A4 sheets based on how you envision the main pages i.e. homepage, about, tools page, specific tool page.

 How do we categorise the content? Using A4 sheets with the title of existing/future tools (one per sheet), pass around post-its and pens.. Everyone can write what they feel are appropriate tags/categories for that tool. Pass each paper around until everyone has added their tag to it. This will inform the category/tag for that tool.

In a later session...

 Define roles for the website and project

 Walk-through and provide training to project members on updating the website

This website is the result of the collaborative nature of the participatory web design sessions. A spreadsheet was created to gather all the ideas from the workshops, which informed the design of the website.

Participatory web design ideas, use cases, vision statements, etc 



Brainstorming Session

The Brainstorming session took the key questions and what was found about what people knew and would like to know from the Project Launch to form the themes. This would further help to think of new ideas and create possible tools, events and collaborations between the community.

  • one curator/organiser/facilitator
  • participants/local community/people from different fields and interests
  • paper and pen, pencils
  • 5 tables
  • one title written on each table- COMMUNITY, GREEN, CULTURE, STORIES, FOOD
  • one long wallpaper for visualisation, by an illustrator, of the main ideas expressed during the night by the participants

Four questions were asked as the brainstorming was happening, and one illustrator would visualise on a wall paper the words and things we would describe. For example:

  1. Talk about the word “GREEN”
  2. Find a definition for the word and link it to one or more of the following titles: Sharing, experimenting, making, teaching, playing
  3. Find one or more actions that can be created in the field of your title, in the area of Garnethill and then discuss in which way you can all contribute in these actions with your own skills and knowledge. Share a proposal and understand how that could be part of the Botanic Concrete laboratory. Start from ground 0. Imagine that there is no architecture, no urban space. How can this action contribute to the world?
  4. Open discussion: Are these proposals achievable? What are the next steps?

"Very productive session. People started discussing about their Right to the City and their way of reimagining their neighbourhood. The Brainstorming ended with lots of wonderful ideas and concepts, such as the Photocoffee project which took place at the Project Cafe a few months later."


Botanic Concrete Notes

Botanic Concrete overview

Mini brainstorm




The De-Tour is a self-guided, alternative tour of a neighbourhood or other walkable area. Directed by prompts, questions, suggestions and invitations, the De-Tour encourages participants to explore familiar spaces from a new perspective, to creatively reimagine the spaces of our everyday lives.

The De-Tour developed in response to and conjunction with Botanic Concrete participants’ desire to “get in the space,” to interact more directly with Garnethill.

The most important material for the De-Tour is a list of ideas and questions. Participants should meet beforehand to discuss their interests–what about the location is of interest to them? What questions do they have? What are their hobbies?–and use these ideas to formulate prompts and alternative ‘lenses’ through which to view the sites of the De-Tour.

A physical kit of tools (e.g. cameras, pens and paper) is a highly productive though ultimately optional component of the De-Tour. A box or other container can be used to hold not only these tools for exploration, but also for gathering any found objects during the walk. A map of the area is also useful, though not mandatory. Outdated maps, technical maps (e.g. sewer maps), or other alternative renderings of the area can stimulate investigation, and these maps can be used to create a ‘route’ for the tour.

De-Tour materials (.zip file)

The Botanic Concrete De-Tour allowed small groups of Botanic Concrete participants to explore Garnethill, investigating themes including green space, architecture, birds and words among others. After discovering that Garnethill was once the site of an observatory, we decided to use images of constellations to create our tour routes: constellations visible from Glasgow were printed on transparencies and overlaid on outdated maps of Garnethill, arbitrarily designating ‘sites of interest’ at each of the stars. The groups each focused on very different suggestion and tools within the box of suggestions and ideas assembled, and the process led to creative and verbal articulations of participants’ interest in the area as well as their interests for future projects. Participants discovered the remains of a night nurse’s residence, hidden courtyards, obstructions of public access to public space, and many words written on and carved into buildings expressing the history and voices of Garnethill.