Structures of Support at Gage Gallery

In 2015 we were privileged to visit Augsburg College to create a new version of our project “Structures of Support,” one that was designed to reflect the Augsburg community and student body. We created a series of data visualizations that resulted from surveys completed by the Augsburg College community and the communities of the surrounding Twin Cities. Participants reflected with generosity on their worries and struggles as well as their assets–including their faith, networks, coping mechanisms. At the end of the exhibition, Think Tank member Katie Hargrave led a workshop with design students to explore how they might map their individual “Structures of Support” as a way to develop more robust and healthy networks and habits.

As part of the workshop, Katie presented a tool called “Spectrum of Support” and asked students to input data from their own life in response to the following provocations:

Think about how it is that you stay afloat. Peel away the monetary support that you gain from your work-life. What supports are left in place? By mapping your existing supports in this spectrum, you might be able to see what supports you are lacking. Think about the following questions as you use this tool: Who are the people who support you– family, friends, colleagues, mentors, instructors? What are the practices and activities you deploy for support– spiritual, emotional, creative, physical? What institutions support you? Are there networks that provide support? What kinds of self-support have you learned– the things you do for yourself that others might pay for? Do you use any other creative methods to meet your needs like growing your food, bartering for services, sharing resources, etc?