The research symposium was definitely an interesting experience. Luckily, I was displaying next to Kelsey and Anthony, so I didn't feel too out of place amidst the many scientific research projects.
There were a couple types of people that came and talked with me. Firstly, were the ones that were interested in the project itself, the goals of the project, the work I hoped to put out into the real world, and how the research informs it. Some of them were familiar with the concept of all-ages music, some were not, but all of them seemed to appreciate the fact that the policy I was writing was something that would actually be put out into the community.
There were also a couple music enthusiasts that came by, many of which have at least heard of The Vera Project. We chatted about the health of the scene in general, the challenges, our favorite bands and shows, etc. Most of them admitted they never thought too much about the issue of security, although most have seen fights/illegal happenings, etc. I was glad to be able to draw attention to something they have experienced but is rarely top-of-the-mind. Collective consciousness and recognition of the issue can only be good for the bottom-up push towards a safer community and events.
The most interesting thing that struck me about talking to these people was the effectiveness of storytelling. My poster clearly lacked the standard sections of "methodology", "hypothesis", etc, so I think for many people, it was difficult to understand where the "research" was. However, I started telling the story of how I arrived at this project through my work with The Vera Project, and what I have planned going forward. And suddenly, it made sense to these people what was researched and how that helps drive the project forward. Nothing new to us DSers, but storytelling spans disciplines, and this ability to do so effectively is one that makes us the designers we are.
Lastly, which I found most amusing, were those that came by to see the poster itself. I didn't realize how different my poster was (which the black image and reversed out type, rather than the standard black text on light background) until I looked down from the second floor. I had a couple pretty interesting conversations explaining my poster design, why I did it the way it was, etc.
I also had quite a few people ask me about my major, after I explained the project to them. It clearly wasn't marketing research, and it didn't appear to be design research to most people. It's funny how people want to connect your research to your studies, as though that would validate your research, and I suppose, it makes sense.
Overall, a great chance to get some of my own thoughts in order.