PhD Progress

Passed my Viva with minor corrections! Looking forward to sharing my finalised Thesis soon, in the meantime here is my current Abstract.

Reframing Older People with Dementia in Design: Revealing the realities of care environments through the design of physical digital artifacts for meaningful moments.

This research was a practice-led exploration into the design of digital artefacts for people with dementia in care contexts. A critical contextual review maintains that digital
technology in research and commercial settings tends to be deficit driven, focusing on assistive technologies, ensuring safety and security, supporting staff practice and easing
the burden of care. Technological solutionism lead to problems and solutions that neglect the realities and lived experience of dementia and so the principal concern tends to be
medical or therapeutic, rather than a person-centred concern for a broader set of human experiences. Instead of framing problems associated with dementia, in advance of the
design process, this Research through Design project involved responding openly to immersion in contexts of care. A practice-led methodological bricolage was adopted, this
involved, participation in care contexts, design and making, engagement through digital artefacts and continuous reflection and documentation.
Two artefacts contribute to this research, namely, Paper Street View and the Photo Scrabbler. Both reapropriate online content with a focus on crafting digital experiences.

Comics are presented as a way of disseminating design and making in a manner analogous to the visual and material nature of design. Values are contextualised as a way
of framing a space in which to design, that is not driven by problems and deficit, but by designerly enquiry. Meaningful moments is used to emphasise the importance of creating
positive interpersonal interactions. Physical Digital Resources frames insights suggesting that digital artefacts hold potential as a resource in care settings. Rather than a predefined
role, a resource openly supports a range of social dynamics, this however is variable and dependent on realities, such as the culture of care and time of day. Research throughout
supports often negated design values like an appreciation of aesthetics, materiality and crafted experiences that support varied facets of human experience. Alongside the
articulation of values this work provides a lens on the dynamics of the care environment that is used to pose: a need for active engagement, first hand-experience of care contexts,
the potential of client-client interaction, and a less risk averse view of dementia in design and HCI disciplines.