‘Blueprints’ physical to digital: curation of media to support ongoingness

Through describing ‘Blueprints’, a series of fabric collages, we detail a method for translating physical properties of objects into digital materialities of media compilations. This method has emerged within a piece of design research seeking to develop new ways to curate digital media to support ongoingness. The project context centres on working firstly with people who have a life limiting illness, secondly people living with an early stage of dementia and thirdly people who are bereaved. Ongoingness is a theoretical construct denoting an active dialogical component of ‘continued bonds’, which is an approach within bereavement care championing practices that enable a continued sense of connection between someone bereaved and a person who has died.

‘Blueprints’ are fabric collages made from scraps of fabric symbolising digital media (in this case photographs) from 2 people – one bereaved and one now deceased. The physical qualities that result from making the fabric collages (variation in layerings, thicknesses, stitching, fraying) each map onto directions for how the corresponding digital media will be composed in a compilation, and serves as a collaborative method of curating media in new ways. The ‘Blueprints’ method enables us to research if and how physical making of things can serve as a gentle way to engage with the complexities of media curation. It considers the potential value of indirect ways of curating digital media to enable ongoing connections between people through the unexpected compilations that the method creates.