For reasons I am too tired and too crotchety to go into, I have to devise an exercise to kick-off a workshop at work.
The workshop is to define categories of data and the exercise is to intended to make the peeps really feel that there are many different ways to label and sort information. For example, the father of the one who turns up here occasionally organises his books in order of the date first published. I’ve already told you that my former friend Catriona used to arrange hers by colour. Reed tells us that the British Museum rules for sorting anonymous books are “stark staring bonkers“. I group mine by subject so Heinlein sits next to books about the moon-landings. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.
So I have put together two large tupperware boxes of stuff from various drawers, cupboards and shelves, not to mention the garden, for the group to sort. I don’t even know what all of it is, so it should be fun for the peeps to categorise. I wouldn’t like to sort it myself, so I am glad that the whole thing was my idea.
Here is a selection:
Oil paints, fridge magnets, a stone apple, a bit of plastic that broke off my TV, indoor sparklers, an empty tin of peppermints, a full tin of air gun pellets (I’ll probably remove that one because it may upset people), turbine blades, a rusted nut and bolt (that came out of the garden), padlocks, peacock feathers, some pieces of haematite, a hair scrunchy in the yellow and green BP colours, a length of silver coloured cord, a jar of tarragon from Sweden enticingly labelled “dragon”, a thermometer, a compass, a broken mobile phone, ach… you get the idea.
It will be interesting to see whether or not getting the folks to sort them into categories works as a warm-up exercise. I haven’t yet decided whether to give, say, 20 items to each person and get them sorting individually and let the others work out what categories they’ve used, or whether to give the whole lot to the whole group and see what happens. The first will be more controllable but the second might be more instructive.
I still remain slightly startled by just how eclectic my miscellanea are though.