“Start where the system is. Have empathy with the system and the people in it, particularly as it will not like being ‘diagnosed’.” (Coghlan & Brannick, 2005)
Assignment 1 for Unit 2: Architecture & Agency kicked off with a week long critical immersion exercise into Johannesburg’s Eastern quadrant of the city, Jeppestown; this part of the city is seeing much development and undergoing a fairly contentious transition at the moment with many new and old stakeholders adding much to it’s change.
Unit 2 students engaging with the Neighborhood of Jeppestown
Bjala Square – Jeppestown
Unit 2 collaborated with the dynamic team from Bjala, who provided much insight into the neighbourhood around their flagship building at Bjala Square, as well as a space to live, work and present from for the week-long immersion process.
Unit 2 settling and being introduced into Bjala Square by JJ Maia
Strategic planing for the week at Bjala Square
The assignment asked the students to expose themselves critically into the neighbourhood surrounding Bjala Square for 1 week, in order to question the pre-determined and often reductive notion of ‘community’. They were then asked to propose a short action-research exercise to engage with the neighbourhood and present their findings at the end of the week in a small exhibition.
Unit 2 students conducting immersive day/night mapping
Discussion with local stakeholders were arranged as well as a dinner at the local Odudwa Republic Restaurant in Jeppestown to support the investigation process while students conducted their own personalised action research enquires.
Dinner at Oduduwa Restuarant in Jeppestown
The immersion week culminated in an open exhibition in Bjala square where Unit 2 students presented their finidngs to a mixed audience of local stakeholders, users and neighborhood residents.