This has been an excellent week in terms of getting feedback from multiple sources; other IP students, my roommates, former A&D students. I have figured out several things that were previously hazy.
The first being a breakthrough in my methodology for finding and interviewing people. My initial plan had been to write some sort of "Would you like to .. ?" form letter asking for volunteers to contact me if they were interested in participating. However, the issue of trust was brought up to me yesterday. Will people actually be willing to tell a stranger their memories if it seems like I'm just using them for my project? Not really. Beyond that, actually connecting with people is an important piece of this experience to me.
I'm going to call the activities coordinator/volunteer organizer at several places and introduce myself and my project. Let them know that I am interested in coming in multiple times on a regular basis over the next few months and would like to volunteer my time to just sit and talk with people, keep them company. If they want to be part of the project, that is great. If they aren't interested, that is okay too.
Additionally, it was brought up to me that listening to people re-tell their stories multiple times will help me pick out what the key elements really are and that beyond having a tape recorder, I should even start sketching while I'm listening to them. If the stories are being repeated over numerous visits, I might even ask to video tape one retelling in order to capture expressions and gestures.
I've had several people with grandparents living in the area tell me that their grandmothers or grandfathers would love the company and the opportunity just to share their stories, so I already am having some doors opened to getting in contact with potential volunteers.
I also have gotten in contact with Margaret Chen, who worked with paper in her IP project last year, and she has already been a huge help. Seeing her final project, which uses paper beautifully, has been motivating in thinking about how my own project will eventually come together.
It's exciting when bits and pieces start falling into place.
Now I just need to work that personal papercut ...