Chemist David Garin logs process on the Waterpod

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Policy Deliberations- Process   Aug 9-17, 2009

Five of us (in Waterways or WW) are in town and we meet on the Waterpod. After touring the vessel, we decide to meet there all week. Our two actions this week will be with children on Friday afternoon and with visitors (mainly adults) all day the following Sunday, determined mainly by the Waterpod group schedule and agreed to by all of us.

waterpod2In order to better understand how each of us in WW views the project and our interests, methods, etc. we will pair off for discussions on a rotation on Monday and Tuesday for 1.5 hr each pair followed by a group 0.5 hr summary of our discussions with follow-up questions.

On Monday, there are six of us and we each list a word or phrase that can be used as a focal point and then choose one at random. For example, this author chose “current” which, he pointed out, has  two definitions, both of them useful for our deliberations. The one on one discussions covered personal as well as professional information but focused on water as the prime subject. Questions arose such as “What do we want to come away with and what do we want the public to come away with?”, the dilemna of designing demonstrations and emphasizing the principles behind them. In our group meeting, we summarized our one on one conversations which led to further questions and a widening array of possibilities for the actions.

We also covered many facts regarding water usage in NYC, and problems involving potable water in the world and how we might deal with such information. A few possible actions evolved the first day but we felt the process was more important than rushing to a product. Should we include the political and economic aspects of water policy or discuss the privatization of water? Would that take us too far away from our initial purpose. Where is the role of sound?

IMG_3509On Tuesday, we decided to reduce the one on one time since we had become more familiar with one another on Monday. After only 45 minutes we would meet as a group. That worked well and allowed us to finish the pairings. Discussions included how to motivate the audience, the need to be interactive, follow-up, mapping, multicultural approaches since there are an amazingly large number of ethnic groups in Brooklyn which gives it an international aura. We generate a TO DO list. One of us will do a posting on the blog regarding the process we used this week. Another member will do a posting for the event(s).

By the end of the day we have focused on several activities for the Waterpod. There will be a sound activity, a water tasting with the focus on what is in water, a demonstration on obtaining fresh water from salt water, an interactive map, and interviewing the students to respond to “Water is …”. We have ordered some materials for chemical tests and will probably incorporate them on Sunday.

We also discuss an event planned for September 26, during the DUMBO festival. We will have an action on the Water Taxi but defer discussions until the Waterpod actions are complete.

S5000270On Wednesday, we carefully plan the Friday actions including locations, time schedules, and who will do what. We need to generate sounds and to have appropriate speakers. We design our physical needs and decide who will bring what. For each activity or station, we have one LEAD person, one assisting person and perhaps a third. The locations on the Waterpod are decided.

We also discuss the Sunday plan.

On Thursday, some experiments are tested and written informational material to display on the Waterpod is printed. We produce synthetic seawater and redesign some experiments to enhance their artistic components. The discussion includes how to integrate all parts, the science, artistic, and movement. One action is questionable since we need Dry Ice and cannot locate a source so we discuss how it can be oriented if the material is not present. (We do get the Dry Ice on Friday.)

CIMG0690On Friday, we decide to meet with all the students for a brief introduction, then to divide the students into four groups, that each station will work with the students for 6-8 minutes and then the students will rotate so we always know where the students will be.

At the conclusion of the action, we decide to meet to review and to plan for Sunday. We will set up the speakers, we will use several chemical tests. We agree upon the activities but question the amount of interaction and interfacing. We will focus on how the Waterpod relates to Brooklyn (NYC) residents. We will have different activities starting on the hour so that a particular activity might occur for a half hour repeatedly starting at 1 pm, 3 pm, and 5 pm, for example.

We are focusing on the conceptual aspect. Assignments are set, each activity will have two people responsible for organizing and performing.

Throughout, the work has been shared and the possible activities have been discussed fully with everyone participating. It is a long process but everyone has had input.

Saturday is used to create and/or accumulate our materials and for other final preparations including hanging the speakers.

IMG_3581On Sunday, we meet on the Waterpod and arrange locations for our activities. The interactive map is hung and will remain on the Waterpod. It is a full day with lots of interaction with Waterpod people and audience. We agree to summarize on Monday afternoon before our final(?) meeting with the Waterpod group in the evening.

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