Virtues of Accessory Design

A five week teaching course in Welfare Design together with the bright accessory design students at BA 3rd Year at Designschool Kolding and Sahva, a Danish Orthosis and prosthetic company, just ended.
At the final presentation by the students Sahva said that the students approaches might change their mindset! Now we are invited to present the project at Sahva’s national congress on the 27th of January.

The featured image is accessory design student Aurélie Varga’s 10 objects on a string, an approach taught by Sarah Kettley – to describe the Sahva client and wearer, she collaborated with, in the Welfare Design course. Aurélie is an exchange student from Design Academy Eindhoven.

In the weekend I finalised a paper for the call “Design for Tangible, Embedded, Network Technologies” for the Design Research Society conference in Limerick in June 2018. The paper is about the teaching course I just finalised together with the accessory design students and Sahva. What I am interested in is how an accessory approach towards – and in this case Sahva’s design of orthosis and prosthetic devices – can make such objects personal for the wearer based on psychosocial factors and cultural fit purposes.

Fig 2 Positioning Accessory Approach.jpg

This is the model I created for visualising my PhD project position, and what I am interested in. What I learned by sending the accessory design students out in the contexts of the Sahva clients, was that the students used my model to understand the persons designing for and collaborating with. What was their main goal for participating in a project, designing future wearable health technology?

Especially one group, who visited a women in her house, got to know of what was important for her. In this case it was not the prosthetic leg, who she had worn all her life, but her cultural fit purposes – due to her career as a business women running her own company and being a family mother. One of the students then asked her, so would You consider Your mind as Your favourite accessory? The woman then took of her glasses and got very emotional – saying that that was exactly how to put it. This resulted in a “Your Mind is Your Accessory” campaign from on of the students, and another working with a healing mind approach, towards a dialogue tool for families dealing with a new reality, fx a mother or father who gets amputated.
The course had the joy of working together with Dr Jack Cunningham, who taught the students together with Professor Sarah Kettley, to embed sensory jewellery approaches and person-centered design methods, for the students to work with the Sahva wearers. Also Dr Peta Bush came along and shared her knowledge of how to understand the dilemmas and issues, people with assistive objects has to face with the existing designs.

All in all five weeks of joy and pure design work from the talented students! It will all be part of my PhD thesis, and hopefully a publication of the research paper, with the working title: “Virtues of Accessory Design: How to make Personal Wearable Health Technology” – so until then, You will need to wait for the images of the students work…


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