Touching the State the final publication of this project is available for download here. (pdf 5.5MB)'Voting is not a very up-to-date act; it is an under-involving act. You turn up, you have Corrupt Practices Act literature on the walls, and that's it. This is the one occasion in five years when 30 million voters are going to interact with their Government as citizens. But the message projected by government is one of complete indifference.'
From the voting booth to the citizenship ceremony, our interactions with the state are designed, often it appears, by default and in ways which are increasingly out of step with experiences in other areas of life. Can these encounters be designed differently to increase engagement and a sense of citizenship?
RED collaborated with the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) to identify some of the major opportunities for redesigning these experiences. Over eight weeks in 2004, we tracked the experiences of nine citizens as they participated in jury service, the new UK citizenship ceremony, and the run up to the European elections.
Experts from a variety of fields including design, policy, social sciences, media, commerce and academia took part in creative workshops, looking at the ways that design mediates the most important encounters between our state and citizens. A challenge was set to the wider international design community to redesign state-citizen encounters. The project culminated in a magazine-style publication, Touching the State, which was launched with a debate held at Portcullis House.
Touching the State sets out to raise awareness of designís potential in this area. The magazine features contributions from Hilary Cottam, Ben Rogers, David Blunkett, Clive Grinyer, David Curry, Deyan Sudjic, Henrietta Moore, Jane Roberts, Louise Ferguson, Ralph Ardill, Stephen Coleman, Thomas Heatherwick, Tony Walter and Colin Burns, plus the results of our Design Challenge.
Citizenship Ė why now?
An introduction to citizenship and the need to advance a culture of citizenship in the UK By Ben Rogers, ippr
This presentation shows the key findings from our research, tracking people carrying out jury service, voting, and becoming new citizens of the UK. It shows their emotional journeys and highlights opportunities for improvement.
Suggested design briefs
These briefs were set for the Touching the State design challenge. They may be useful to design tutors in setting briefs for student projects.
click here to download
AcknowledgementsTouching the State was a collaborative project with invaluable contributions from the project partners, expert contributors and participants. We would particularly like to thank all the designers who took up our Design Challenge. This publication has benefited from the involvement of editor, Grant Gibson, and art director, Gary Cook. Our user research was undertaken by Acacia Avenue and captured on film by photographer Giulio Mazzarini. Finally, thanks to Claire Hartten for her outstanding commitment in what was the RED unitís first project.