"Understand that what you are about
to do will change you in some
shape or form forever."
- Raymond Holt; US Military Veteran

Description
This project investigated crisis within the USA Military Veteran experience by taking a proactive approach to care. We developed a suite of design interventions at the earliest stage of the military journey: the recruitment and enlistment process.

Time
Sept - Dec 2019

Team
Anna Lathrop, Julia W. Szadgaj, Emily Franklin, Antonia Yunge

Tags
service design

A Journey of Care:
Reestablishing Trust in Military Recruitment

What if we could build trust and accountability at the very beginning of the military journey so that Veterans might be better cared for once they’ve left?

“Beyond Health: Designing for Care” was a Fall 2019 Studio in Parsons’ Transdisciplinary Design MFA Program, co-taught by Patricia Beirne and Eduardo Staszowski. We focused specifically on how we might reimagine the current military journey in a way that established trust, transparency, and accountability through a series of design interventions. The current military journey from enlistment to retirement is confusing and isolating, and we wanted to design for proactive, as opposed to reactive care.

In order to immerse ourselves in the topic, we gathered secondary research, conducted interviews at recruitment offices and across different stakeholders (veterans and their families, recruiters, and government employees), and spoke to people on the street about their perception of the military. We held a participatory design workshop at Parsons with members of Lab at OPM, veterans, and veteran service organization administrators to explore ways to build trust.

Based on our research, we proposed a suite of design interventions that would subtly but fundamentally shift the recruit's journey so that they would avoid some of the trauma and confusion that had been expressed by veterans we interviewed. While we couldn't guarantee that a military recruit would avoid harm entirely - that is impossible - we could shift the experience to prioritize transparency and accountability so recruits could make fully informed choices.

participatory journey mapping

Download the Report here

Speculative Future Imaginings with TONYC

Could using speculative design and Theatre of the Oppressed methodologies in a transdisciplinary approach, make imagining just futures feel more attainable and real? What if it is done by those who are rarely, if ever, asked to be a part of futuring and speculation? What might those worlds be like?

Description
This project used speculative design tools, along with Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, to imagine new worlds, and then create speculative legislation to build a bridge. It was done in partnership with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC)

Time
April-May2020

Team
Anna Lathrop,Liz Morgan, Sulu Leo Nimm, and the TONYC Rapid Response Team

Tags
speculative design, policy design, futuring,
Theatre of the Oppressed

FUTURES TOOLS USED IN WORKSHOP

I partnered with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC’s Rapid Response Troupe to explore these questions. We used a combination of poem writing, speculative design tools, and speculative legislation crafting to build an image, and bridge, to a more just world.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our rehearsal process took place over Google Hangout. There were multiple obstacles with using the platform, however the limitations of the platform pushed us to deepen our verbal expressiveness and individual reflection in the work. Each actor was tasked with writing near-future poetry, followed by discussion to pull out common themes. We then crafted legislative policies that were aimed at building a bridge from our current world to the future one detailed in our poems and wheels.

Finally, the question I had gone into this process with - does this process make a just future feel more real and attainable - was answered. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic was source of significant, acute anxiety, the group response was that the process had been therapeutic, useful, and created a feeling of ownership and urgency regarding the future. I believe there is further research to be done in experimenting with the blending of speculative design, justice work, and Theatre of the Oppressed, as well as its applicability in the fields of reconciliation, conflict resolution, and restorative justice.

"So we got to think of ways that how we, within this community that's within a society can make change...- Mersadez George
Process shot from rehearsal on Google Hangout

Download the Zine

Download the Addendum

SELECTION FROM A PARTICIPANT'S POEM
SELECTION FROM THE ZINE - WITH CUT OUT CHARACTERS

A Journey of Care: Reestablishing Trust in Military Enlistment

What if we could build trust and accountability at the very beginning of the military journey so that Veterans might be better cared for once they’ve left?

Description
This project investigated crisis within the USA Military Veteran experience by taking a proactive approach to care. We developed a suite of design interventions at the earliest stage of the military journey: the recruitment and enlistment process.

Time
Sept - Dec 2019

Team
Anna Lathrop, Julia W. Szadgaj, Emily Franklin, Antonia Yunge

Tags
service design

“Beyond Health: Designing for Care” was a Fall 2019 Studio in Parsons’ Transdisciplinary Design MFA Program, co-taught by Patricia Beirne and Eduardo Staszowski. We focused specifically on how we might reimagine the current military journey in a way that established trust, transparency, and accountability through a series of design interventions. The current military journey from enlistment to retirement is confusing and isolating, and we wanted to design for proactive, as opposed to reactive care.

In order to immerse ourselves in the topic, we gathered secondary research, conducted interviews at recruitment offices and across different stakeholders (veterans and their families, recruiters, and government employees), and spoke to people on the street about their perception of the military. We held a participatory design workshop at Parsons with members of Lab at OPM, veterans, and veteran service organization administrators to explore ways to build trust.

Based on our research, we proposed a suite of design interventions that would subtly but fundamentally shift the recruit's journey so that they would avoid some of the trauma and confusion that had been expressed by veterans we interviewed. While we couldn't guarantee that a military recruit would avoid harm entirely - that is impossible - we could shift the experience to prioritize transparency and accountability so recruits could make fully informed choices.

“After talking to vets day in and day out who just didn’t understand their benefits, their priority groups, why we were billing them, etc I realized how lacking info was.” —Angela, former VA admin

Download the Report