Anna Louise Spencer

Embodied Etymology: how design can enable young people to shape their futures

My research builds on my passion for conversation and my preoccupation with how to live well in an increasingly complex world. This project specifically explores how young people living in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland become more connected to their own developmental journeys and play a formative role in the everyday futures of their society.

Through playful anticipatory design experiences my research seeks to provoke conversation and experimentation about the worlds we create through our choices of expression. Tracing the etymology of social communication beyond just words to encompass the senses, I seek to uncover the metaphors within which our existence is bound. Using performative practices I take a playful and recreative approach to articulating new social narratives which extend beyond the stability of the status quo.

With an emphasis on rhythms of attention and intention in personal and public life, my research offers two new contributions to knowledge. Firstly, an emerging discipline of embodied etymology which traces and translates the worlds which have given rise to us and in turn the worlds we then give rise to. Secondly, the experiential insights of young people as collaborators in new experimental modes of social change.

This research is part of the Creative Campus cohort in the Highlands and Islands.

Research Keywords:Conversation, Anticipation, Design, Futures, Young People, Highlands and Islands, Performativity, Provocation

Primary Supervisor: Laura Gonzalez

Contact: a.spencer1@student.gsa.ac.uk

Conversational Landscape. Image Credit: Jane Candlish

Conversational Landscape. Image Credit: Jane Candlish