What is Woven?
Woven is a cultural icebreaker that shifts participants past a text-based secondhand experience with Māori culture, engaging them face to face through hands-on interaction in a relaxing environment that promotes discussion, creativity, and provides answers.
At its core it’s a facilitated workshop, featuring the familiar Māori practice of weaving harakeke (flax), but with a contemporary design that is approachable and unconventional to generate curiosity and bypass assumptions.
Woven is deliberately different and unfamiliar- because in order to learn something new, you may just need a fresh start.
What was my role in this?
Administration responded to the insight of our naturally flat hierarchy and the need for an organizer and a director instead of one single leader. All group members took part in major decision-making and I focused on pulling out their reasoning, aligning it with our values, and mediating discussions. My relevant experience that assists with this is that many of my inherent soft skills align with empathy, mediation, and pacification; these I exercised in the group dynamic to keep a productive order and keep our argument counter at an absolute zero. I also researched into methods of facilitating group discussions and employed them in our meetings.
Another part of my administrative duties was collating, organizing, and archiving all of our activities within our Trello board: I used informational hierarchy design basics to make each list’s purpose easily stand out to the members for efficient navigation and organization. I also continued the labeling system from our previous project: each member is assigned a color label within the Trello medium with their names; we also have an ‘All Team’ label and an ‘Important’ label.
Loosely under the administrative practice is my affinity for editorial work; I read, edit, review, and cross-check all of our copy and participate in minor copy-writing duties. This is a majorly important role as the rest of the group’s unedited writing is not quite reader-friendly. My editorial role also extended to moderating (writing and/or editing) almost all Email and instant messaging service communications to those outside of the group for absolute clarity in communication for our recipients.
What else did I do?
Working with the other major organizer of the group, who is our Creative Director & lead Art Director, we defined the Woven style and brand.
This project has its roots in Māori culture; this meant there's strong importance in researching, strategizing, and working with traditional elements of Māori art and design and bringing them into a contemporary context to fit the need of our users.
Some of my main duties in brand strategy were color palette design, concept illustration, illustration, document layout, and co-designing print collateral.
Wait there's more?
Māori culture has a history of suppression, oppression, unceded land acquisition, and many more malignant decisions under colonization by European settlers; that’s fact.
Each of the members of this group also possess a certain privilege because of this history- with only one member having actual Māori whakapapa- but was still largely disconnected from this cultural identity until just recently. Therefore, we are inherently ignorant and needed to take care in honoring and respecting a culture that we were largely unfamiliar with.
My soft skills show an empathic nature which drives my passion for helping others- because of this I’ve worked on exposing myself to social justice, politics, theory, and actively practice a methodology for interacting with sensitive topics; this became something I utilized during this project given the historic and current context around Māori culture.