CASE STUDY

Musicians Rebuilding Professional Networks after Katrina

Method — Opportunistic Interviews

There are a lot of user populations that are not going to respond to an ad on craigslist. In this project, we had to go where our target participants spent time and interview them on the spot.

Recruited musicians, sound engineers, and managers from shows and music events around New Orleans. Conducted semi-structured interviews on sidewalks, in coffee shops, or anywhere we could hear well enough to have a conversation.

A band performs (and sells CDs) on the streets of New Orleans. (Photo Credit: flickr/Barrett Aspach)

A band performs (and sells CDs) on the streets of New Orleans. (Photo Credit: flickr/Barrett Aspach)

Research Question

Musicians frequently find work through their local social networks. After Hurricane Katrina, how were musicians using communication technologies to rebuild their connections?

Design Insights

Reestablishing social ties after a disaster is as important as meeting one’s material needs. Several “people finder” websites consolidated data about people’s whereabouts after the hurricane, but control over information on these sites was centralized and sluggish. The design opportunity that emerges from this research involves supporting people, even those reeling from a disaster, as they crowdshare responsibility for finding and caring for members of their social networks.