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Lab 1: The colored flashcards

By Maaike Meindertsma, BA Fine Art Student from Hanzehogeschool, Groningen Netherlands, e-mail:

Personal memory

During the week we spend in Venice for the first STEAM+ innovation lab, I experienced so many things, but somehow Kelli’s colored cards and what they were used for, stuck with me even in the weeks after the lab was finished.

At the beginning of the week Kelli introduced us to the colored cards, which, from that moment onward, we would use to express our thoughts on different topics.

Before I start, I have to say an artist and bookmaker, I’m very attracted to paper, especially when it’s firm and good quality like the ones that were used in the lab. So maybe that made the cards special for me before I even knew what we were going to do with them.

At the beginning of each day we, as a group, would often be sitting in a circle in a lovely air conditioned room with a beautiful view. It was a great atmosphere for talking, but this was also the place where we had our silent discussions. This meant no talking, only writing, watching and combining. We would be handed colored cards and a marker (I “accidentally” took one home to The Netherlands) and were given a question or topic to think about. The day before we went on an excursion to Ca’ Roman we were, for example, asked to write down different stakeholders we sympathized with and all apart from each other we would write these down. The fun part of everyone separately writing the cards, was that we could not be influenced by each other on what we would write on the cards and that everyone, outspoken or shy, would have equal input.

After we had written the cards we would put them on the floor in front of us. This was the moment of matching similar topics together. It was great to see the variety of ideas come together and to see how other people thought of something completely different than you did yourself.

After every round of silent discussion (or feedback/reflection round) Margherita and Kelli would put the cards up on wooden panels throughout the room. And because the cards had different colors every day, it became, apart from a great source of information to look back at, a very colorful and joyful whole.

Of course, this wasn’t the only great memory I took home from the lab, but it was certainly one of the most prominent ones. It’s a method of discussion and communication that I would like to remember and use in the future.

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