On Namirembe road with a wearable camera

On August 14, 2018, Kampala i-CMiiST creative experts got a rare opportunity to train in a new creative methodology that they could use on either of the research sites in Kampala.

i-CMiiST is an acronym for Implementing Creative Methodological Innovations for Inclusive Sustainable Transport, a project supported by the British Academy’s Cities & Infrastructure programme, and explores whether more creative co-design methods can reveal alternative more inclusive streetscape options that facilitate safer urban mobility. The project is being implemented both in Nairobi and Kampala.

The i-CMiiST Kampala project is intended to solve mobility challenges in the city using creative methods to ensure inclusive infrastructure where everybody is respected.

The Kampala team has two intervention sites: The Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) on Namirembe road through Luwum street. The other site Bat Valley school on Bombo road in Kampala.

At least seven creative experts with a background in creative writing, live painting, videography, industrial art, and animation attended the one-day training.

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One of the shots captured by wearable camera showing a man bend his body to dodge a pool of stagnant water. The walkway on the left has been filled with traders’ merchandise and pedestrians have to walk in the road.

The creative experts hailed the training, as an “interactive and problem solving [research tool]”

Dr Melaneia Warwick took the participants through the importance of visuals and why they are a key instrument in research emphasizing that in the case of the i-CMiiST Kampala project, the visuals would help the team draw out the important themes of the particular site they are researching based on the research questions they had identified.

Along Namirembe road, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the government body that runs the city, plans to turn into a non-motorised transport zone.

The i-CMiiST team wants to use creative methods to enable users of the route know what it means for them, their business and their safety in the city.

The team was taken through approaches to coding where the experts, after the field, can cluster data into various codes such as parking space, state of walkways, cycling census, proximity of pedestrian to passing vehicle. The team began by anticipating and agreeing which codes might come up in the data. Once they had begun to look at the data collected, this approach would help them identify both the unique features of the sites visited, and to be alert to new codes that might emerge.

Key codes that came from the research questions and subsequent data collected included parking spaces, activity along the route, cycling lanes, and pedestrian walkways. The photoshoot was expected to capture the state and the current usage of such spaces if they are available.

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A shot in the field

The Kampala team is already utilizing photography and video as a creative tool within the project but wearable cameras were an added technique.

Irma Wange, one of the creative experts, offered to wear the camera for the field engagement. Jackson Kikomeko, a video expert on the team, was always by her side to help her if need be. This is the first time the team was using this creative methodology.

While in the field, the team would stop to strategize and lookout for the spots they thought would bring out the best of the site they were visiting.

The camera was not hidden and several people along the way would occasionally murmur ‘look the camera is recording’

Taking photographs at Kampala’s downtown, as it is fondly called by locals, is not an easy task. It is congested – many cars, pedestrians, boda bodas, and vendors – but then, this is what makes the site an interesting place.

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Creative experts analysing data captured by wearable cameras in Kampala

 

Written by Dr Melaneia Warwick & Alon Mwesigwa.

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