Project Amplify: Articulating Logics of Informal Markets and Spaces

Taru (Architecture + Urban Planning)

Collaborators: Suzanne Chou, Ph.D. Candidate, Mechanical Engineering; Brianna Broderick, Masters in Science in Information, Ux Research, and Design; Elizabeth Agyeman-Budu, Planner- Activist, Secondi-Takoradi, Ghana

Market women are a major socio-economic force in Ghana – they run the bustling marketplaces and are the primary drivers of the informal economy. In doing so, they intimately negotiate the streets and street corners of every city, create networks of food supply chains and create dynamic spaces that are temporal, complex and empowering. This project, proposed by an interdisciplinary team of artists, designers, planners, and engineers, seeks to unpack and make legible the complex systems that form, regulate and maintain the markets of Ghana. It further seeks to situate this understanding of capital flows and local economies within the larger literature on traditional markets, and informal organizations that function in individual markets, globally. It also seeks to understand the public conversation and awareness around placemaking, identity, and networks in the informal economy. This project will document the logic of the informal markets of Ghana and produce two key outputs: a) a physical, experiential, and public exhibit in Ann Arbor; and b) an interactive digital exhibit to inform and educate a global audience. Drawing from participatory and action-oriented research methods (Bartlett 2015), the project will use arts-based research methods to formulate an immersive exhibit, engaging with all sensorial stimuli and create an immersive and educational experience for the audience.