At the beginning of the week I tried to balance the arrangement of some research trips with continued reading and a little practical experimentation. I’ve been re-reading Don Norman’s “The Design of Everyday Things“, and at the same time using Dan Shiffman’s yet-to-be-published “The Nature of Code” to boost my confidence and knowledge in the Processing programming environment.

Assigned my adviser, Ishac Bertran (@ishacbertran) of “Pas-a-Pas” fame and CIID IDP’10, we met and discussed the “context” dilemma briefly on Tuesday. My first choice of “shared space”, the communal areas of hostel accommodation met with a positive response. Ishac also provided a few golden nuggets of advice on dealing with the psychology of this final project experience.

Moving on, I was happy to pursue the goal of conducting as much in-context research as possible by the end of the week. Unfortunately, the hostels of Copenhagen were a little slower to respond than expected. In a twist of a certain beautiful symmetry, it was Sleep-in-Heaven Hostel, the place where I began this Copenhagen and CIID adventure, who responded first.

I spent Wednesday morning in their lounge as guests enjoyed breakfast, interviewed the owner, and the manager and met two guests for a quick discussion. I’ll include the insights from this, and other in-context research in either next week’s post, or at an interval before then. The management and staff of SIH have been, it must be said, wonderful – I’ll be returning there on Saturday in the morning and evening in order to meet some more guests at a busier time of the week.

Thursday morning I took a break, enjoying an uncharacteristically warm and sunny late September day in Copenhagen. It could have been the best work I did all week, checking my email in the afternoon to find that no less than five hostels had returned my enquiries. Four appointments were quickly lined up between Friday morning and Monday evening in both central and more suburban locations around Copenhagen.

With the help of Danhostel Copenhagen Amager and Sleep in Heaven, I’m starting to build a robust collection of experiences and opinions from guests and staff. Some themes are emerging, but as said earlier, I’ll talk about these in a later post. I’ve got more to visit, depending on the responses I get next week.

All-in-all I’m finding the exercise of going out in the field challenging as ever – I’m good with social conversation but a lot less capable when trying to steer a conversation to a goal – to get information. I’m also terrible at making that first connection – but this is something that working alone is helping me to overcome.