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Reflections: FaithCloud

FaithCloud: Neha Shah & PamelaJane Mendoza

Final review consisted of showcasing our work on the research tool interface set in an experiential installation that was an extension of the context that our research tool was framed in.

Installation setting:
“Write your prayer or confession.. you never know who’s listening”
Aroma candles, Buddhist figurines, a kneeling pillow and a beautifully hand embroidered beaded spread created a spiritual atmosphere for this installation. This space was for people to engage in the experience of sharing a prayer, confession or thought related to LGBTQ in context of religion. In order to share their experience or thought they would kneel down and write on a small piece of paper. Also, they would tag their entry with a descriptive word which in relation to the interface could be used as a parameter or filter. When the person finished writing, they would stick it up on the glass with a pre-drawn timeline on it, thus replicating the post as it would appear on the online interface.
The space also featured our interface wireframes for the research tool. The wireframes displayed how the website would collect data and also how the researchers would interact with this data.

Feedback and observations:

  1. People were hesitant to submit a confession or thought because they were aware that it is publicly displayed. People felt that they needed time to write.
  2. Since the current interface requires the user to enter a specific date, Shannon Mattern suggested that the interface should be more flexible and encourage the user to specify the time period more than a stringent date.
  3. She also suggested adding various levels of administrative moderation on researcher’s interface
  4. Shana Agid suggested that this research tool had the potential to be translated into a phone application so that an experience could be recorded immediately in the moment.
  5. Rory Solomon felt that the research tool had the potential to be integrated and customized for requirements of project URT

Overall the project and thought process was well received. We found the feedback to be helpful and encouraging. As interface design strategists, it was a very enlightening to get direct feedback from the targeted users (researchers and contributors) that we originally designed for.

watch videos here:

Video 1 Video 2 Video 3

Awareness Stories Prototypes and Presentation

Group: Jamie Kennedy and Jessica Parker

Research Statement
We are studying when and how people are first introduced to people identifying as gay and lesbian because we want to find out if the average age and method of introduction changes or remains the same for different age groups to help the reader understand how other people become aware of and more comfortable with gays and lesbians.

Paper Prototypes

[pptx] [pdf]

Exposure Stories

Group: Jamie Kennedy and Jessica Parker

Research Statement
We believe that people under the age of 35 were exposed to gay and lesbian people earlier than people over the age of 35 due to the increased amount of gay and lesbian images on television during their childhood and adolescence. We want to find out if there’s a correlation between current age and television’s influence on people’s attitude towards homosexuality.

UI Ideas
1. Our first UI design has a “current age” slider that when changed will effect what stories appear on the “age of exposure” timeline. When the user clicks on a timeline point, the point will expand to show the story’s author and age, and will allow the user to play the author’s audio file.

2. For our second design there are two timelines. There is a timeline for the current age of our interview participants and a timeline for the age our participants were exposed to gays and lesbians. The timeline for exposure includes textual information for how the exposure to gays and lesbians happened.

Interview Results
1. Jun, 35, from Japan
Jun first met a gay person at age 16 or 17 through a mutual friend. He says the media has influenced his attitude towards gays and lesbians because in Japan homosexuality is frequently made fun of on tv. [Audio]

2. Mandy, 19, from New York City
First met a gay person in middle school (around age 12/13). Media has not influenced her attitude towards gays and lesbians but believes that it can influence others. [Audio]

3. Ryan, 32
He was told at age 8 or 9 by his parents (“in a bad way”) that his aunt was a lesbian. Says negative media makes him more sympathetic, but positive media has no effect because he already has a positive attitude towards gay and lesbian people. [Audio]

4. Aaron, 42
Says his parents had a number of gay friends so he was introduced to the concept of homosexuality around age 8 or 9. The media has not influenced his attitude towards gays and lesbians at all. He’s skeptical of the media; says journalism pushes an agenda. [Audio]

5. Lacey, 32
First time she was exposed to the idea of homosexuality was around age 8 or 9 when her parents told her that her aunt was gay. The media has not influenced her attitude towards gays and lesbians because a close family member identifies as gay. [Audio]

6. Deloris, 58
First time she was exposed to homosexuality was at 14 yrs old when someone told her they were a lesbian. The media has not influenced her attitude towards gays and lesbians because she doesn’t need someone else to give her their opinion of other people.

7. Chelsea, 25
Her first exposure was at 14 or 15 by seeing classmates of the same sex holding hands, sitting on each other’s laps, etc. She says the media hasn’t really been an influence since she identifies as a lesbian. [Audio]*

8. Kathleen, 53
Her first exposure was at 16 by finding out from classmates that another classmate was gay. She says the media has not influenced her and she’s always been accepting of gay and lesbian people. [Audio]*

9. Marya, 25
Her first exposure was around 7 or 8 through classmates. She says the media has been an influence by highlighting hate crimes against gay people and has made her more sympathetic towards them. [Audio]*

10. Jaime, 22
His first exposure was around 14 through a lockermate at school coming out to him. He says the media hasn’t influenced him; he’s become more accepting of gay people through working with them. [Audio]*

*Audio will be uploaded later this week.

10-26-10: Workshop OUThistory

Brief update – 5 min each group
Workshop projects – develop: 1) refined research statement, 2) user scenarios for a contributor and a external viewer.  3) Sketch out paper prototypes for each.  Post to the class blog by the end of class.

Test paper prototypes (and document this with photos);  adjust accordingly into formal wireframes & mockups for critique next week.  Edit down sample interviews/content to present with this.  Each presentation should be no longer than 10 minutes total.

10-19-10: OUThistory studio workshop & discussion

- Presentation of design briefs, audio samples, project scope
- Workshop:  project scope, interface development, research statement
- View and discussion of broader URT wireframes
- Precedents:  LGBT flag re-design, Small town Trans-mayor, Being out in the Bronx (NYT story)

- Mindmap how your project will focus on a specific topic or method
- Craft your research statement (in one sentence) to convey this succinctly
- Continue work on gathering oral histories, within refined project framework
-  Develop UI ideas for project interface.  Next week we’ll make  paper prototypes

Religion & LGBT

Group: PamelaJane Mendoza & Ryan Oh

Topic: Religion and Homosexuality in the NYC. How does religion reflect on homosexuality? NYC is known to be the most culturally and religiously diverse city. Originally, immigrants have come to the states to escape from religious oppression, today how can we reinterpret and follow our traditional religious morals without discriminating homosexuality?

- How does your religion reflect on homosexuality?
If negative, why?
- Do you agree or disagree that homosexuality should be a religious concern?
- Do you have an experience or a memory of someone (or yourself) religiously discriminated based on their sexuality?
- Should LGBT discrimination in church discourage gays to follow a religion?

Who should be interviewed?
General public. Anyone with or without a religion, gay or straight.

We interviewed 9 people. Most were interviewees were born into a traditional religion (Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism, Mulism) then converted into a more spiritual practice rather then a rule orientated religion. Some were a part of a religion as active and non-active practicers. From what was common with all the interviews was that they all felt that the misinterpretation of the old archives of religious text was the base of the discrimination between religion and homosexuality and that today religious parties are more compassionate and welcoming of LGBT for the sake of beliefs and practice now look past sexual preferences. What was interesting were the responses that were unaware of how their religion deemed homosexuality, because they felt it was something that wasn’t allowed to be spoken about. Majority of our interviews were via phone, one interviewee, Taye Mendoza, connected our conversation as to the confessional room. A confessional is a small, enclosed booth used for the Sacrament of Penance, often called confession, or Reconciliation, where the priest and penitent are in separate compartments and speak to each other through a grid or lattice. Taye felt that even though she was conscious she was being recorded or that someone on the other end of the line was absorbing the information, she was in the comfort of her own space, (in comparison to a confessional in a space where she was in a room with herself and her own thoughts).

What now?

To frame religion exploration to be more concise, because there are many religions, and sub religions that the research would be too broad. Therefore our interest would be more focused on narratives. From what we found compelling from our interviews were their stories of an homosexual based experience through religion.


LGBT Exposure

Group: Jamie Kennedy and Jessica Parker

We are studying how people were first exposed to people identifying as LGBT because we want to find out if the average age and method of exposure changes or remains the same for different age groups. We believe that people over the age of 35 were first exposed at an older age than people under the age of 35, and that they were exposed through peers instead of the media, like most under the age of 35. We want to help our audience understand how the media is introducing children and adolescents to LGBT people at a progressively earlier age.

Interview Questions
1. At what age were you first exposed/introduced to people identifying as LGB or T?
2. How were you first exposed/introduced to people identifying as LGB or T?

Another interesting question to ask would be “in what city were you raised?” so we could also look for a correlation between location and age of exposure.

We plan to interview students and faculty at The New School. It will be interesting to see the responses from different age groups, to see if over time the average age of exposure either changes or is roughly the same. In addition, it will be interesting to see if the method of exposure will be consistent for each age group.

The Visualization
With the responses we receive from the people we interview, we will be able to create a timeline/map showing (what we believe will be) a correlation between age group and age of exposure, as well as age group and method of exposure.

Related News Stories and Studies
LGBT Rights To Come with Exposure

Homosexual Teens Coming Out Earlier to More Accepting Environment

Media exposure and viewers’ attitudes toward homosexuality: evidence for mainstreaming or resonance?

10-12-10: Framing OUThistory

In Class:

  • Brief discussion of readings: writing the research question
  • Presentation of OUThistory project & CLAGS collaboration w/ Shana Agid and Lauren Gutterman
  • Precedents:  Storycorps OUTloud, Studs Terkel, existing Wiki GLBT timeline
  • Field recording demo
  • Brief review of wireframes & festival posts – outlining future iterations, related to URT.


  1. In new groups, create a project focus related to an existing topic that relates to LGBT history.  Develop your design brief to focus on what questions you want to know about your topic.  Craft your research statement.  (Your topic + your question + your rationale) What resources you will be looking into? How does it relates to mapping NYC and/or a timeline? What questions might frame a larger understanding of your topic?  Who should be interviewed?  Post this on the blog by next Monday.
  2. Check out one of the sound recorders at the AMT Photo Cage (2nd floor, N building) ask one questions to at least 20 people.  Upload or bring this to class next week.