Fabric Fobs and Family Ties

Hazel White, Sara Nevay, Joanne McNicoll, Mike Press, Paul MacKinnon, Yumeng Zhou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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How can the co-creation of bespoke, handmade playful objects support children who have complex communication needs? 'Fabric Fobs' are prototypes of digitally tagged objects that comprise key touchpoints of a service system that enables independent access to online communication in a demanding family-centred healthcare context.

In a project funded by the Scottish Funding Council through its Spirit Innovation Voucher Scheme, the research team used a co-design method: grounded in the understanding of the real life experiences, ideas and skills of the people, who use, need and run services. Design and craft methods were used to create an environment in which new digitally tagged objects could be created by parents, children and health professionals to explore relationships and observation, participation, conversation, prototyping and manufacturing could happen in the same space.

The collaborative workshops uncovered a latent need which the team are currently working on – designing a service system to enable the parents and carers of children with complex communication needs to share information about their child’s personality, likes and environmental needs.

Working with children, their families and carers in ‘craft cocreation’ workshops enabled conversations about family relationships, home, music, films, sounds and other activities which paint a picture of the life of a child who cannot communicate be shared and documented. The families and carers of children with complex communication needs became designers of their own interactions. This paper discusses the staff and parents' responses to the process and recommendations for the next stage of the process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Through Design
Subtitle of host publicationPraxis and Poetics Conference 2013
EditorsJayne Wallace, Joyce Yee, Abigail Durrant
Place of PublicationNewcastle
PublisherUniversity of Northumbria at Newcastle
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780954958794
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2013


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