Welcome to PLIX Spatial Poetry! This activity combines the expressive flexibility of poetic language and local data research skills behind local data research to encourage a re-imagination of maps and renewed understanding of place. Poems have historically influenced many of the place names we know today. Many contemporary poets rethink the ties between language, place and belonging. Similarly, participants will become aware issues of place-naming in America, particularly its historical ties to colonization, and possibly connect with local renaming campaigns or future naming initiatives where they live. It draws on current topics in geography, poetry, and journalism, and media-making.
Spatial Poetry at a Glance
This activity can operate as either a structured workshop or a drop-in activity.
- Age Range: Ages 5 & up (able to read and write)
- Group Size: 10 - 15 participants
- Number of Facilitators: 1 - 2
- Activity Length: 30 to 60 minutes
- Cost: a few cents for photocopies, printing, or paper and art supplies
Share the love: Tell us how you use this activity guide on the PLIX Forum or via our PLIX Remix report form. Remember, our guide is just a jumping off point — feel free change or create new design elements to suit your local community!
Below you'll find some materials that we've found work well for this activity, but it's not necessary to have them all! The prompt you'll explore determines what materials you'll want to have on hand.
Spatial Poetry Zine
Remixable / editable version here → NEW! Google Docs zine format
One-page PDF to print here →
A note about zines: Our PLIX zines are designed to be supplementary resources for patrons and librarians to refer to during workshops. They're a quick and easy way for people to learn some fundamentals. You can print them on 8.5x11" paper, and they're easy to assemble. Here’s a resource that shows you step-by-step how to cut and fold them after printing!
The Spatial Poetry activity supplies can be used with a wide variety of workshop prompts (open the toggle for detailed descriptions of each prompt). Below you'll find a few that we love 💕— and we encourage you to come up with your own!
Making Example Projects
When preparing to facilitate a creative learning activity, we always recommend populating your space with diverse example projects. Feel free to print out the above examples from librarians in the PLIX community to help inspire your patrons! A good example project is thoughtfully designed to inspire your patrons, spark their curiosity, and be easy enough to understand to support them in getting started with the activity.
Learn more about the art of the example in our PLIX Guide to Making Activity Examples.
Since there are many ways to explore symmetry, patrons may need some guidance in how or where to get started. When facilitating this activity, we encourage you to support a tinkering mindset, and consider the following to culture a creative learning environment:
Facilitation Techniques to try with Spatial Poetry→
Be sure to also check out our PLIX Facilitation Techniques for additional tips from the PLIX team to help you cultivate your own creative learning facilitation practice.
PLIX Spatial Poetry in Action
Want to learn more about the development of Spatial Poetry? Check out this thread on the PLIX forum that includes a ton of project examples, and some reflections on the design process by librarian beta-testers!
About PLIX Spatial Poetry
This activity was developed as part of the PLIX Co-Design program, in which Media Lab researchers team up with public librarians to create new PLIX programming, in collaboration with poet and artist Hua Xi of the Data Feminism Lab's Audit the Streets Project.
Other ways to engage with the PLIX Beautiful Symmetry activity:
- Looking for some background music? Check out our PLIX Spatial Poetry Playlist 🎶
- Questions? Ask them on the PLIX Discussion Forum 🙋♀️
- Share your experience running this workshop on social media using #PLIXSpatialPoetry 😎
Want to learn more about PLIX? Visit our homepage at plix.media.mit.edu.
Except where otherwise noted, all materials on this site are licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
The Public Library Innovation Exchange (PLIX) is a project of the MIT Media Lab Digital Learning & Collaboration Studio. Except where otherwise noted, all materials on this site are licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Accessibility.