The Soft Touch: Design vs. Disruption

Sara Nevay (Lead / Corresponding author), Sze Chong Lim, Gary Gowans

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

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Loneliness is a growing endemic social condition that can be deeply harmful to health and wellbeing, particularly for ageing populations, who, consequently, may be at greater risk of developing depression, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease (Campaign to End Loneliness, 2016). Contributing to a PhD study that employs a soft design approach towards connectedness – the antithesis of loneliness – twelve older adults were invited to experience an interactive etextile prototype, the ‘Dundee Conversation Quilt’. Designed by individuals with experience of loneliness to prompt dialogue and interaction, the quilt reflects some core values project participants have consistently identified as being key to social connectedness: identity, heritage and storytelling. Despite careful design and a soft touch approach, in this paper we will describe a situation where disruption, distraction and – at times – discomfort prevailed during a workshop where the Dundee Conversation Quilt was tested. Hosted by a local charitable organisation and up against adverse environmental factors including an unexpectedly hot climate and last minute changes to the workspace and facilitation team, this workshop presented challenges outwith the researchers’ control, and to the potential detriment of participant wellbeing. We unpack this demanding workshop journey, reporting on the workshop design - its’ successes in providing opportunity for connectedness, its’ derailments - and the implications of these disruptions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRunning with Scissors
Subtitle of host publication13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design
EditorsLouise Valentine, Joanna Bletcher, Leon Cruickshank
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Pages601-613
Number of pages13
Volume22
EditionSupplement 1
ISBN (Electronic)9780367330569
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design: Running with Scissors - Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Apr 201912 Apr 2019
Conference number: 13
https://ead2019dundee.com/

Publication series

NameDesign Journal
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN (Print)1460-6925

Conference

Conference13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design
Abbreviated titleEAD Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityDundee
Period10/04/1912/04/19
Internet address

Keywords

  • Workshop Design
  • E-textiles
  • Participatory Design

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    Cite this

    Nevay, S., Lim, S. C., & Gowans, G. (2019). The Soft Touch: Design vs. Disruption. In L. Valentine, J. Bletcher, & L. Cruickshank (Eds.), Running with Scissors: 13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design (Supplement 1 ed., Vol. 22, pp. 601-613). (Design Journal). Taylor & Francis. https://doi.org/10.1080/14606925.2019.1595441