Design research project investigating friendship and community in the modern era.

Design Research

Project info

Kitestring: Friendship project

You know the people

The ones who’ve stuck around through thick and thin. You’ve got dumb jokes that won’t die. You’d do anything for them, as they would for you. They’re part of what makes life worth living.

Or maybe you don't

All of us have fewer of these people than we did twenty years ago, and 1 in 4 of us don’t have any close connections at all.

It’s because we’ve changed as a society. We live in suburbs. We move further. Work more. We’re more connected through new technologies, but we’re forming weaker links than ever.

So we ran a design research project

engaging with people from 18 to 80 and read all the research we could get our hands on to understand what it takes to find and keep close friends in the modern world.

Download the report to learn more.

Connected projects

Since the research, we've run a number of connected projects including council workshops and public courses. Here are two examples:

Banyule Council

a workshop for Banyule Council’s Older Adults Strategic Plan, with a half-day session to allow community members to provide input into how the council might work to better improve community connection.

We started by exploring people’s personal experiences of friendship over time through two mapping and conversation exercises. We then used those personal stories to connect to the broader context and themes that we’ve uncovered in our research.

Finally we discussed specific ideas for Banyule. To structure the conversation, we shared twenty-two “idea starters” to help participants add in, change, re-mix, and combine ideas for what the council might do in the future.

Reconnection Course

We ran a three-part workshop series for people who wanted to intentionally invest in their personal friendships and  community.

We shared insights from our research (containers, connecting through, bids) and participants supported each other to plan small actions to deepen existing friendships or build new ones.

Participants did things like connect with neighbours in their new apartment block, join a choir, or re-establishing regular contact with overseas friends.

Beyond the content, many participants found the validation and support of the group valuable to help them get over the emotional energy needed to reach out and make a bid.

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We like people, especially you.

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