De Gezonde Mens
Photo Lizzy Kalisvaart BY

Design for our future self

Exploring new ways to give ‘voice’ to the users’ needs within the context of dementia

On 27th of September, the day prior to the Design & Emotion conference, Waag & University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam organize this pre-conference workshop. A perfect way to get you warmed up for the conference! In the historical Theatrum Anatomicum in the city centre of Amsterdam, we will dissect existing solutions and methodologies and explore future scenarios of needs within the growing dementia landscape.

This workshop is part of a series of four.

Giving ‘voice’ to the wants and needs of people with dementia and their caregivers and thereby bridging the gap between research design and the real-world practice. Participants will be invited to add from their own experience when doing design and/or research projects with difficult to reach target groups. ‘Making-activities’ and DIY artifacts made by the target group (such as tangible reminders and keepsakes) are introduced as research objects that reveal and support the needs of people with dementia and their carers. Together we create an overview of the interdisciplinary approaches and solutions for designing with and for a vulnerable target group.

The purpose of the workshop is to learn from each other by active discussion and making, share and exchange insights on person–centered design methodologies and solutions, particularly people with dementia and their careers.

The current focus on caring and dementia research is often focused on finding a cure, instead of finding ways to live a good (and dignified) life when dealing with dementia. However, there is a growing interest in more person-centered initiatives that empower people in terms of living more autonomously, such as dementia friendly neighborhoods. In line with Huber’s definition of positive health, this workshop takes a positive, person-centered design approach to caring solutions.

Huber et al. (2011): ”Health is the ability to adapt and self manage in the face of social, physical, and emotional challenges.”

Key questions are:

  • How to give ‘voice’ to and support the needs of a person with dementia and their carers?
  • How to ‘unpack’ the (changing) needs and wants of the target group over time?
  • How to combine the varying want and needs of all stakeholders involved (e.g. formal carers and informal carers such as friends and family)?
  • What are the different methodologies, design opportunities and meaningful solutions, particularly in terms of designing for and including ‘vulnerable’ people?

Workshop organisers

Waag: Sabine Wildevuur, Hester van Zuthem & Janine Huizenga
University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam: Marije Kanis, Lilian Bosch & Nazli Cila
in collaboration with Dr. Gail Kenning (University of Technology Sydney), Prof. Cathy Treadaway (Cardiff School of Art & Design) and Dr. Fleur Thomese (VU University).




Waag, Nieuwmarkt 4, 1012 CR Amsterdam