Reflections on presenting digital shorts at the Environmental Design and Research Association Conference in Mexico City

September 07, 2023

By Becky Giammarino, Stacey Squires, and Margaret Ovenell

Two MSW practicum students from the Calgary AIRP team, Becky Giammarino and Stacey Squires, directed two digital short films which were presented at the 54th Environmental Design and Research Association Conference in Mexico City, Mexico. In this blog, they reflect on their experiences.  

Building the soil - biophilic design and access to nature for older persons with experiences of homelessness

Becky Giammarino: For my MSW foundation practicum I was a part of the AIRP research team in Calgary, AB. This connection came about through my interest in biophilia— the innate human tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. I was encouraged to bring this lens to the AIRP photovoice project which gives research participants cameras and asks them to use photos to document their reflections, experiences, and narratives.

In the middle of a brisk Calgary winter, a conference in Mexico City sounded really nice - so I applied and was accepted to share a digital short film of my research. This six-minute film was made for and premiered at the 54th Environmental Design and Research Association Conference. 

The research on this topic is ongoing and the words and images by the co-researchers have beautifully storied the meaning that comes from access to building relationships with nature. I am honored to share their words and photos and hope this film encourages you to get to know your leafy, feathered, furry, and finned neighbours.

Giammarino, R., Squires, S., Grittner, A., & Walsh, C.A. (2023, June). Building the soil: Biophilic design and access to nature in supportive housing for older adults with experiences of homelessness [digital short film]. Environmental Design Research Association, Mexico City, Mexico.

Sensory aspects of the built environment: Creating a sense of well-being in supportive housing

Stacey Squires: This digital short film is based on photovoice interviews with older adults in supportive housing in Calgary, AB, conducted within the AIRP research project. As a clinical MSW student with an interest in both social work and architecture and design, I was particularly interested in how older adults in supportive housing experienced the built environment. Throughout my foundation practicum with AIRP I noticed the prevalence of sensory experiences within the photovoice interviews and decided to explore sensory experiences within supportive housing.

Research is ongoing, but in this short film, the co-researchers' reflections speak to how sensory aspects of the built environment in supportive housing impact and/or support aging in the right place.

All the amazing pictures used in this digital short film were taken by co-researchers. 

Squires, S., Giammarino, R., Grittner, A., & Walsh, C.A. (2023, June).  Sensory Aspects of the Built Environment; Creating a Sense of Well-Being in Supportive Housing [digital short film]. Environmental Design Research Association, Mexico City, Mexico.