Walking Footscray

How the Australia Post Social Design Team developed a set of conversational cards to help them explore Footscray

In June 2018 our team set up a pop-up co-design lab (APCoLab) in Footscray so we could collaborate and work alongside local residents, businesses and community organisations to create new opportunities that help build more inclusive and connected communities.

As newcomers to the area, we were eager to explore and experience Footscray to understand more deeply the barriers that might prevent people from participating. Equally, we were interested in the things that people love and value in Footscray.

Our goal in the first few weeks was to connect, understand and build trust with people across the community. We brainstormed potential activities and approaches of we could do this. We thought about how to best connect with people from different cultures and backgrounds and local traders and community organisations

One idea we came up with was to create a set of cards as an interactive conversation prompt. We designed the cards so people could communicate with us in different ways that felt comfortable for them – such as writing answers, drawing, taking a photo, taking us somewhere or simply talking with us.

For example, one card read “take me to a place in Footscray where you feel most welcome”, another card said, “draw a place where you feel like you belong.”

The cards allowed us to explore Footscray through the eyes of locals. One lady we met spoke doesn’t live in Footscray, but comes here weekly and she took us to the Footscray Market, where she goes to buy spices she isn’t able to find anywhere else in the west of Melbourne.

This activity gave us a unique and personal understanding of the social and physical surroundings of Footscray, and the insights we gained helped us with our understanding of places and spaces in Footscray and allowed us to connect with individuals.