The older I get the more space I seem to need. My thinking seems to involve more and more physical activity: more whiteboards, more post it notes, more walls and more blu tac. I have a massive study and yet I’m eyeing off the shed, thinking it would make a good studio. Thoughts need to be seen.

At work I’ve been spoiled with a massive whiteboard and thanks to the encouragement of a wonderful colleague I’ve used post-it notes there for years now, it helps to sort thoughts out. I haven’t had the opportunity to be let loose at home or on my own work. Until now. I’ve finally realised it’s the way I need to work.

The post-it notes are making the difference when it comes to sorting through my thoughts. They are allowing me to get above the weeds of my reading and notes and locate where I am in terms of the work of others and where I want to go. So now I know for certain that I am not working in HCI and I am well aware of the area I would term ‘New Media’ but it’s not the place I want to be in terms of my written work or my practice.

One area that seemed to be slipping away was information visualisation. When I finished moving my post-it notes around in their latest iteration I realised it was becoming isolated. This was troubling because I didn’t think I could discard it, given its role in the genesis of this project. Thankfully the fact that the post-it note was drifting away made me mention it to my supervisor and she wisely pointed out that the story-telling element of info vis was something I may want to reconsider. She was, of course, correct.

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to realise how visual my thinking is, it’s been liberating in an almost visceral way to finally embrace it. Why I denied it for so many years is something I will never understand.

25 November


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