Born @ WdKA
Transformation Design

Talking Pebbles

Thu 30 Sep
Function Transformation Designer
Year 2021
Major Transformation Design
Practice Social Practices

Nominee Threshold Award Social Practices

Meet Lucca Kroot! Lucca was nominated for the 2021 Threshold Award Social Practices with her graduation project ‘Talking Pebbles’. In this interview, Lucca tells us about her work and future plans.

Can you tell us a bit about your graduation project and how it came about?

As a designer, I feel driven to make sure that every voice is heard within a societal issue. My ambition is to bring the subjects that usually tend to fade to the background back to public attention. One of the subjects that stood out the most to me during the Corona pandemic, was the mental health of adolescents. A lot of students and pupils are known to have had a very difficult time during the various lockdowns we faced. Some of them became depressed, whereas others were struggling with loneliness, stress or lack of motivation. 

I wanted to design something to give these youngsters a platform to share their experiences and feel heard. So I started my research by asking pupils between the age of sixteen and eighteen to write a letter to themselves in order to describe their experiences. I also started working together with a care coach at a vocational school (MBO), who wanted to discuss this topic with her pupils. We started a collaboration and together we had conversations with the pupils and I organised a number of co-design sessions. As I was listening to the stories the youngsters shared with us, I noticed that they were quite eager to be heard, but they sometimes experienced difficulties putting their emotions into words. To me, that was an interesting issue to work with. 

In order to give these adolescents a way to discover and express their voice, I designed Talking Pebbles. Talking Pebbles is a conversation starter that can be used to visualise language around emotions. It is a conversation tool that consists of various colored shapes. Each color represents an emotion, and you can place the different colors in the main shape. The shape contains different layers, so that you can layer your experience. Perhaps some emotions go deeper than others, so you would place them on a lower level. When finished, you can scan your composition with the Pebble App. This app opens the camera on your phone and suggests words connected to this emotion that will then appear through augmented reality. This visualisation makes it easier for young people to understand their emotions and to speak about what they are feeling.

Which themes or societal concerns are you addressing in your work, and how?

I think mental healthcare is at the core of my project and how it finds its way within the education system. As I mentioned before, I aim to give a voice to people that feel unheard and come up with a way to redesign public policy so that it includes different perspectives. Besides that I believe that being vulnerable and expressing emotions is really important. With Talking Pebbles, I hope to help older generations understand how youngsters experience life, and in this case the Corona crisis.

What will you be working on in the near future? What are your next steps?

I would love for Talking Pebbles to become a part of the care programme within the education system. I see my graduation project as a pilot version and will continue working with the care coach and her pupils to develop a more sophisticated end product. I also see potential for the product to be used within healthcare institutions, for example as a tool for speaking with youngsters that deal with trauma. But I will need to collaborate with other parties and investors to realise this. Currently, I am writing a plan for the future development of the project. Besides that, I would like to work at a social design studio where I can put my skills to use in a different context. I would like to learn more about the profession and would love to be part of a team of experienced social designers. In the far future I could envision myself running my own social design studio, but I would like to gain some experience first.


To read more about Lucca’s work, pay a visit to her Graduation Catalogue Page. Furthermore, her journey can be followed on her Instagram and Website. The winners of the Threshold Award Social Practices will be announced during a festive ceremony as part of the Graduation Show. Keep an eye on our Graduation Show page for more information.