MA Practice : Mind Mapping

This week I started using mind mapping to start finding a way into my MA research. I haven’t used these specific mapping techniques before so it was a good way to start thinking differently and figure out all the facets of my research topic. My initial research idea had been the rather vague ‘relationship between craft and design’, and while I’d already made the decision to focus in on craftivism it still needed a lot of refining.

I didn’t gel very well with mind mapping as a technique, as I found that thinking about the structure clouded my thinking and got in the way of throwing ideas out. I had much more success writing a huge list of all the key words, practitioners and ideas related to craftivism, then using post-it notes to arrange them into some kind of order.

Post-it Map Number One

This first map was helpful in figuring out which parts of this subject felt most satisfying to me, and suggested I should focus my thinking and research more on the ideological areas of the subject and maybe let go of the more straight forward topics that I covered in my dissertation. It also pushed me to start thinking for the first time about moving away from illustration and using other techniques and approaches which may be less limiting in answering my (still to be decided) research question.

I then tried using different central starting points for the maps, to see what different conclusions I could draw.

Post-it Map Number Two

Starting with William Morris in the centre pushed my previous knowledge out to the edges, with issues and ideas taking a more central place.

Post-it Map Number Three

With Ideology in the centre I was able to begin defining exactly what this could mean to me. Alongside this map I started to consider what forms my research could take (events, writing, illustration etc).

Mapping with post-it notes, and having the ability to move them around and create different maps, has proved to be the most useful mapping technique for me so far. However, in order to really figure out and focus in on my specific research area I intend to try out several more techniques. I generally find it difficult to pull out and explore all possible ideas around a subject so I hope using different mapping techniques can help me to begin to do this successfully.

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