visual communication practice
Description of idea
Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the
All three stories spoke to me in different ways, and all of these were of different personal struggles. It seemed logical for me to centre my story around something personal, and this is how I came to my concept on how debt affects young people in Brisbane.
After doing further research into how debt affects people, I found quite a bit of information on how debt is linked to mental health issues. A study conducted by Meltzer. et. al. 2010 found that, “Those in debt were twice as likely to think about suicide after controlling for sociodemographic, economic, social and lifestyle factors...” They also found that an increased sense of hopelessness towards debt created a link to anxiety and depression, and therefore the entrapment of debt can create psychological strain.
How are young people affected psychologically by debt; are they the generation targeted by credit cards? I read about the irrationality of credit card debt and discovered the poorest members of society may view them as the only viable means to obtain a loan, as they fall outside of short-term financing (Farah 2010, p. 167). Young people could fall into this category as we begin to set up our lives. I then looked further at debt in relation to self-esteem and control in young people, and found that while some people use credit cards wisely, others feel out of control and usually blame someone else (Farah 2010, p. 167).
Finally, I discovered that debt, anxiety and depression go hand in hand. In particular, “Anxiety is more common among younger adults, in part due to economic hardship experienced in young adulthood,”(Drentea 2000, p.437). I started to interview the people around me, and collected stories from people within different phases of their lives; from first time out of home to first time homeowner. What was discovered is that some people were unafraid of their debt, whilst others felt they had to hide.
Drentea, P, 2000, 'Age, debt and anxiety', Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, vol. 41, no. 4, American Sociological Association, viewed 10th March 2012, via Jstor.
Farah, M, 2010, 'The irrationality of credit card debt: examining the subconcious', Law & Psychology Review, vol. 34, viewed 10th March 2012, via ProQuest Central.
Meltzer, H, Bebbington, P, Brugha, T, Jenkins, R, McManus, S, Dennis, M, 2011, 'Personal debt and suicidal ideation', Psychological Medicine, vol. 41, Cambridge University Press, viewed 10th March 2012, via ProQuest Central.
What kind of communication approach do you use?
The communication approach that I used for this project was to interview people and create a visual based on their personal story. Some people were unafraid of their debt, whilst others felt more anxiety towards it and chose to remain anonymous. I thought that this was an important point to highlight. The way I chose to represent this visually was through metaphor; by showing how the anxiety or hopelessness created by debt enveloped them like a “black cloud.” If a person felt that they had no anxiety towards debt then their picture remained clear, whereas if someone felt strong remorse and fear then their image would become completely enveloped by this “cloud.”
If I had more time and resources available, I would like to extend this project by comparing the stories I have collected from Brisbane to another city in the world. I think that an interesting parallel could be created here, in particular with a third world city.
What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of
The concrete benefits to society could be to give people in Brisbane a renewed interest in debt and young people. I think at times, society can forget how hard it is to be a student or a young worker and still pay for a normal standard of living. Although Centrelink plays a very important role in helping students through university, it is interesting to note that someone who is unemployed receives a higher income from the government, than a student does, by around $100 a fortnight. As shown by my project, young people sometimes have a hard time even paying for food and in some cases rely heavily on their parent's to pay for bills or living expenses. This in turn puts pressure on the parent's standard of living and retirement savings. In the case of young homeowners, it was discovered that in order to purchase a property they needed at least two incomes. In this example, the person chose to split the home loan with their mother, in order to get into the property market at a younger age.
The fact that it is hard to cope financially as a young person is something that most people can relate to. However, it is obvious that due to the economic crisis there has been more pressure placed on parents to help their children to survive rising costs. In some cases there has been a role reversal, with more pressure on the young adult to help their parents financially. In relation to psychological issues associated with debt, I believe that in most cases, there is a feeling of hopelessness experienced with regard to not being completely independent from parents. It is obvious as well, that anxiety and stress are experienced in the majority of these cases, whether admitted or not. These stories are not new, and have been well documented in the media. However, as these stories are personal, I hope that this format can create less disassociation between the audience and the storyteller.
What did you personally learn from creating your submitted
I learnt that organising people to be interviewed takes longer than expected. Originally I had 22 people express interest in being interviewed. By the end of this project I only managed to collect 9 of those stories. People who did express interest were very hard to get a hold of, and I believe that this could be because some people find it hard to admit to debt. One person who declined included a young married couple, which I think would have been an important demographic to include had I been given the opportunity.
Why is your work, GOOD communication
My work is good communication work because it aims to shorten the gap between the audience and storyteller through an interview approach. Making the stories personable means that the audience can relate more to the people.
Where and how do you intent do implement your
I would like to implement this work in Brisbane as an editorial or short-run zine. It would be interesting to see people's reaction to the work. If successful it could then also be sold online.
Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe
the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change
other media with your work-
There has been no effect on the media at this time. I would like to release this zine in the coming months.
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First World Problems
First World Problems
Concept author year(s) of birth
Concept author(s) contribution
Created all of the work.
visual communication practice
QCA / Bachelor of Visual Communication