Lessons from Messy Prototyping

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Our realization that contemporary literary art is quite accessible and not intimidating at all informed our prototyping session at the library. As well as testing our ideas for our experiment, we hoped to find out how people respond to interactive literary art. We discovered that people share our intimidation and that many expressed ‘fear of messing up’ or did not consider themselves to be creative. This deeply concerned us because literary art can have a profound positive impact on an individual and society at large, but only when it is engaged with and recognized. We wanted our experiment to invite and encourage people to be involved with literary art and to have fun while doing so. The two ideas we tested through the ‘messy prototyping’ approach were based on a theme of collaboration; we wanted to see if we could get the average person to contribute to a literary work with their community. Our session helped us understand the challenges that face us around our goals for our experiment, but also gave us confidence that we can positively impact our community on behalf of the literary arts cluster.