The Piki Project : building capabilities within the homeless community

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Woodruffe, Paul
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Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
homeless people
street selling
social connection
mobile apps
art work
story telling
Lifewise NZ
Auckland City Mission
Woodruffe, P. (2019, April). The Piki Project: building capabilities within the homeless community. Paper presented at the 2019 Institutes of Technology & Polytechnics Research Symposium Whanaungatanga - Community Centred Research, Eastern Institute of Technology, Taradale, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
How can the application of design thinking and technology empower a creative community that has lived experience of homelessness to become economically self-determining? The Piki project is a partnership with Lifewise Trust, and is focused on building capabilities within the homeless community. The project uses primarily creative practice to engage in capability building in technology, entrepreneurship, and to facilitate educational opportunities based within chosen activities. The methodology of this research project is sourced from Matauranga Māori, and informed by a core group of individuals from the community involved with the research partners in all decision making processes. The project is testing, measuring, and pushing the boundaries of existing practices so they can be adapted and expanded and be used to empower and build individual capability. One of the key components is the development of a brand that enables and supports the collective’s social structure, and facilitates storytelling, this branding also providing a providence and authenticity for the community artists and their customers. Two parallel systems of engagement are used; Piki Toi for creative practice, and Piki for other avenues such as gardening and trade related activities. The project is supported by the design and functionality of a visual arts website, and an app. The app was designed through Datacom’s “Datacomp” hackathon with guidance from representatives from the homeless community involved with the Piki project. The app enables those who do not have a creative practice, to achieve credits and recognition for skills learned while engaged in work or learning opportunities. Key findings the project is seeking to produce are new ways to provide teaching and learning opportunities (and resources to support these), to a community that for a variety of complex reasons, are unable to engage with mainstream higher education.
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