How to bring together the expertise of many people in a collaboratively produced visualisation? During Jij Maakt de Stad! (You Make the City), an event organised by De Gezonde Stad and various collaborating partners on 6 April 2017, we held a plot party as an engaging manner of gathering information and personal views from its 300 participants who had come together to discuss ways of improving the city. A plot party is one or a series of collaborative visual interventions that can be used to elicit responses about certain issues, to formulate (better) research questions, gather opinions and start a discussion, or identify priorities around a specific topic.

Such plot parties hold a playful and informal middle ground between a questionnaire, an infographic and a discussion starter. As such it can be an attractive exploration and research tool for events and gatherings. For this event we designed and created a total of 8 plot party installations and posters to be used in and around the workshops held during the event. The topics and questions ranged from: what do plants and flowers do for a neighbourhood? To who is responsible for a sustainable food chain?. The main installation explored the visitors’ willingness to make a contribution to a greener city starting tomorrow and was also the site for more qualitative interviews and conversations with visitors.

The information and insights gathered were used to formulate and refine questions for further applied research projects to support citizens and professionals working on making the city greener and healthier.

The design of all plot part posters are freely available and can be fabricated using a combination of hand tools, print technique of choice and digital fabrication tools (vinyl cutter & laser cutter, which are included in the inventories of most makerspaces). Find them here.

The plot party interventions were presented at the annual conference for science communication (Vakconferentie Wetenschapscommunicatie) on April 10th 2017 at the Museon in the Hague.

Do you want to host your own plot party? Have a look at ours to inspire you. We would love to hear about your experience and see some pictures of the results! The designs of our plot parties are available here.

Image credits: Carly Wollaert, Ruurd Priester & Loes Bogers April 2017

Visual Methodologies Collective. Jij Maakt de Stad.
Visual Methodologies Collective. Jij Maakt de Stad.

Plot party! Our visual interventions at Jij Maakt de Stad!