Super Simple Memory Palace

Super Simple Memory Palace is an ongoing design research project (2019–present) investigating simple of gathering and organising a collection of personal memory fragments. The aim of this project is to encourage the incremental mapping of one’s personal narratives and to use them a source of resilience and stability amid constant change, creating a ‘place’ one can visit for reflection and sense making. 

In addition to personal memories, I am in dialog with educational partners to explore ways to collect and map institutional memory.

Call for participants
Would you or your organisation like to volunteer as a participant in the development of this project? If so, please contact me at with the subject line ‘Memory Palace’. Participation is anonymous (your data won’t be made public without express consent).

Background and motivation

This work is informed by my intersecting perspectives as a queer immigrant, senior designer and educator, and – most importantly – as a neurodivergent ‘client’ of mental health services. In that role I have witnessed, over the past decade or so, how self-evaluation questionnaires have moved online and become more frequent: progress is monitored, issues tracked, data points collected. But a long-term ‘picture’ of progress is not made available for the ones who are at the centre of those data. 

But there is progress, in many cases quite positive. Sometimes the self-evaluation questions point to problems one can recognise, but (aha!) no longer struggle with. What does that say about one’s progress? When were these issues ‘resolved’, and why isn’t there more visibility to positive changes that occur over time? Shouldn’t all clients be able to locate and celebrate these small victories, to consciously feed them back into their sense of self? These are questions the design discipline can address, and I embrace it as my personal design mission, a focus for my practice and for my role as educator. While this remains an active design project that evolves in its own tempo, conversations at the academy suggest that institutional memory might also benefit from a memory palace, especially if it’s super simple.

Creative Commons license

Super Simple Memory Palace © 2019 by  Rogério Simões Lira is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 
This license requires that reusers give credit to the creator. It allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, for noncommercial purposes only. If others modify or adapt the material, they must license the modified material under identical terms.

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