Note: I wasn't really sure what was meant to go on these pages so please find much more in depth stuff on research, development and outcomes within the RPR Blog.
Key Research Insights
The research for this project began after I became interested in the idea of political divisions. Last semester, I explored the division between the political left and right but this semester, I decided that it would be interesting to look into the division between social classes in the UK. This is a much more nuanced issue than it might seem at first and I found that it was important to first look at the wider aspects of inequality in our society. This means economic inequality in regards to people's income and capital but it also means social and cultural inequalities such as the people you socialise with and your cultural interests. The BBC's 'Great British Class Survey' was a really great resource for this information and it demonstrated how important social and cultural divisions are for class in our society. It showed me that class isn't as clear cut an issue as it is portrayed to be, yet there are incredibly strong divisions throughout our society.

From here, I came across the idea of social mobility which the Sutton Trust defines as follows:

"Social mobility is about ensuring the opportunities open to a young person are not dependent on the economic and social position they were born into. High levels of social mobility mean that people from all backgrounds are able to access the opportunities suited to their talents and aspirations. It's crucial for creating a fairer society, fostering social cohesion and boosting economic growth.
Yet social mobility in Britain is low. For a child born in the UK today, their chances in life are strongly linked to their parents' background. Those from high-earning families are more likely to end up going to the best universities and getting top jobs later in life. "

To me, social mobility means the ability for an individual to improve their social and economic position over their lifetime. This is really important because when we talk about inequality, we aren't really complaining about inequality in and of itself, we are really criticising the systems that allow it to take place and that prevent people from overcoming barriers to success.
The Sutton Trust was a really useful resource throughout this project and gave me a valuable insight into a wide range of topics surrounding social mobility. Their 'Elitist Britain' report published in 2019 was a revealing insight into the backgrounds of our nations elite and served as the backbone for my risograph infographic.

After learning about the advantages offered to people with privilege, I was prompted to further investigate private education as a factor influencing social mobility. Unsurprisingly, I found a wide range of resources supporting the idea that private education offers a litany of advantage to those that can afford it. While researching this, I came across a different Sutton Trust report - this time analysing the background of Boris Johnson's cabinet (from early 2020). The key takeway from this report was that 65% of the cabinet members. I did some research and found that in the wider popualtion, only 7% of people went to private schools meaning that privately educated people are represented in some of the highest offices of our country at a rate of 9.2x that of the rest of the country. Using these two statistics, I developed the Data Object.

For the pocket provocation, it was necessary for me to expand my scope of research. Outside of hard facts and figures, I wanted to paint a picture of class socially and culturally and to explore how class is represented in society. In Owen Jones' Book 'The Establishment', I came across the 'Black spider memos' send from Prince Charles to various members of the government including the Prime Minister Tony Blair. This was a key inspiration for the coin provocation as it attempted to explore the advantage that comes with privilege.
Outcome Development
Brief 1 Infographic
The first project tasked us with developing a risograph infographic that communicated the research insights and explained the project in a visual way. The infographic was generally focused around education but attempted to explore how it affects people as they enter the working world.

The infographic is split into two halves, one explaining the privileges that wealthier people are offered as a result of their social position and the other explaining the barriers that are in place for poorer people to achieve the same success.
The 'producing privilege' side of the graphic mainly features data from a Sutton Trust report that investigated the educational background of the highest people in government, business and the media. A bar chart made up of triangles emerging from a single point explores this data, with the boxes at the side of the page defining each data point.
The lower half of the page titled 'overcoming disadvantage' uses a similar technique to explore data with the bar chart emerging from a set of circles. This time however, the chart explores the relative likelihood for rich and poor children to achieve educational success with each alternating bar representing rich or poor students. Finally, a long bar reaching up to the top half of the page communicates the percentage of people born to working class backgrounds that make it into the nations higher professions.

Brief 2 Data Object
The second project required us to design a 3D printed object communicating a set of data and a printed key for the object to sit on, contextualising and explaining the data.

I designed my data object in the form of a school sat on top of a mortar board hat. The school is designed to look like a typical large comprehensive school but in one corner, there is an ornate tower, similar to one you might find on an old private school such as Eton college. The data object is designed to communicate the data from two angles. From the side, it is a bar chart with the main building and the tower acting as two separate points of data. The tower represents the 65% of cabinet members who were privately educated and the main school building represents the 35% who were comprehensively educated.
From above, the data object represents a different set of data. Again, the two separate buildings represent different sets of data but this time in the form of a square pie chart. The tower building is the 7% of the wider UK population that were privately educated and the main building is the other 93% who were not. By representing two sets of data on two different axes, the data object prompts the viewer to compare and contrast the data, hopefully making them think critically about class representation within the goverment.
The second part of this project involved producing a printed key to explain the data object. My printed key was designed in two colours to be risograph printed. The colour red within the key represents the general population who did not go to private schools whereas the colour blue represents the wealthy individuals who were privately educated. The key is split into two halves with the top half discussing the cabinet and the bottom half discussing the wider population. The colour coding makes it easily understandable at a glance and ensures that the cabinet, which is more blue than red contrasts heavily with the wider population which is overwhelmingly red. The cabinet side of the poster uses the official MP portraits, sourced from the parliament website. The bottom half of the page is made up of mortar board hat symbols which link with the data object and reinforce the education theme.
To help explain the object, there are two graphs above and below where it sits. I used a dotted red line to clearly explain how it works. When you are looking from above the object, the dotted line surrounds the object as it does on the lower graph. When the object is viewed from the side, the dotted line is below the graph as if it has been tipped over. Furthermore, the arrows are straight when they describe a simple translation but curved when they describe a rotation. These simple changes add a lot to the poster's legibility.
In addition to the graphical elements, the poster has two paragraphs of copy discussing the data in more detail and attempting to suggest what the data might implicate.

Brief 3 Provocation & Interaction
For the third brief, I was required to produce a pocket provocation - a physical item that could fit into a pocket and communicates the project's themes in a provocative way.
I chose to produce a set of coins for my provocation. The coins are based around representations of class and are designed to be more useful to the people they represent. Each coin features a figure who is symbolic of that class as well as an image that is relevant to the figure and class. The value of each coin is based on the value of the image on the coin.
On the first 'rich' coin is an image of Jacob Rees Mogg, leader of the house of commons and multimillionaire. Rees Mogg is an effective image for use on the coin representing the rich because in addition to having extremely conservative views, he comes from a long line of wealth and privilege, was educated at Eton College and Oxford. On the reverse of the coin is an image of Eton college, representing private schools as well as the elitist institutions behind them. The value of the coin is £42,501, approximately the yearly tuition fees at Eton.
On the second rich coin is an image of Prince Charles. He represents the monarchy and traditional elite that still possesses a firm hold over UK society. In contrast to the Queen however, who largely embraces her symbolic role as head of state, Charles has demonstrated through the 'black spider memos' that he believes his wealth and status should give him power. On the reverse of the coin is an image of a fox hunt. Charles is known for participating in fox hunts and even defended them in one of his memos calling it a 'romantic' sport. Furthermore, fox hunting represents the perceived brutality that is associated with the elite and to many people is a demonstration of a lack of empathy. The coin is valued at £2860, the price of membership to a fox hunt.

On the first poor coin is an image of Mr Bean. Although not a character traditionally associated with the working class, he represents the 'lowbrow' culture associated with the working classes. He is a character that undoubtedly appeals to the masses and is the opposite of exclusivity through cultural capital. On the reverse of his coin is a tin of Heinz beans - a German brand of an American food but one that effectively represents our country's culture of amalgamation. Again, beans represent the opposite of exclusivity and are a meal fit for the everyman. Furthermore, this coin features a notch designed after the can opener attachment on a pen knife. This represents the pragmatism of the working class and the idea that currency should be a useful tool. The coin costs 85p, the average cost of a tin of beans.

The final poor coin features an image of the actor and presenter Danny Dyer. He is representative of the 'lad' culture associated with the working classes and especially through his television shows exploring things like football hooliganism, he is well known for his association with the working class. Furthermore, as a soap actor, he also represents the kind of 'lowbrow' cultural capital possessed by the working classes. Finally on the reverse of his coin is an image of empty cans of Stella Artois. In addition to the association with domestic violence, this represents the drinking culture many people associate with the working class. It's not neccesarily true but it's an important part of the way the working classes are represented culturally.
Brief 3 also required us to create an interactive experience to go alongside the provocation. I chose to produce a programmed digital experience in the form of a slot machine game that is designed to serve as a metaphor for social mobility in our society. It invites users to insert coins into the machine and then using the money they have inserted, bet on the outcome of the slot machine. Depending on the outcome, different levels of prizes are available, each scaling with the value of the bet you initially inserted. With their winnings, users can enter a shop where they buy imaginary rewards with their winnings such as a car, a house of a weeks worth of food.
The interaction encourages people to think critically about their privileges by simulating the risks and rewards of social mobility. By inserting rich or poor coins, the user is encouraged to step into the shoes of that person, making them more empathetic to

what life might be like for that person. The shop function contextualises the social mobility metaphor and anchors the money within the real world. The game was produced by coding it from the ground up in Python. This means the visual aesthetic is much more restricted but I think it allows the user to focus more on the meaning and messaging behind the interaction.

Brief 4 Video Abstract
In addition to this website, for brief 4, we were asked to produce a video abstract to go alongside the abstract we wrote for the written work.
My video abstract uses a fairly simple visual style with a reduced, economic blue and white colour scheme and a simple graphical images influenced by emojis and signage. The font used is Neo Sans which contrasts well with the Garamond style serifs used throughout the rest of the project. The final video has a fairly simplistic animation but I tried hard to give it smooth, polished motions. I personally really like the transitions from white to blue backgrounds throughout the animation, which I think give it a much needed dose of visual interest.

The final video abstract can be found on the 'video abstract' page of the website or on the RPR blog. This page was a brief overview of what went into each project but for a much more in depth summary, I would suggest reading the blog.
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