• Socially inclusive design: A people-centred perspective

Gheerawo, Rama, 2016, Book Section, Socially inclusive design: A people-centred perspective In: Sparke, Penny and Fisher, Fiona, (eds.) Companion to Design Studies. Routledge, UK, pp. 304-316. ISBN 978-1-138-78050-7

Abstract or Description:

This chapter focuses on socially inclusive design, looking at its origins, its development and the relevance it has today across the design sectors including services, products, systems and environments. It outlines methods, use case studies to demonstrate value and pose challenges for consideration by the book’s readers. Learnings from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design (HHCD) are used to reinforce the ideas presented.

Topics discussed include: defining inclusivity purely by age or ability is actually ‘exclusive’ rather than truly ‘inclusive’; ‘user-centred’ becoming ‘people-centred’ as we seek closer engagement and more respectful methods of research; the role of contemporary design practice in achieving social inclusion; socially inclusive design as an agent of change; the move towards a community approach rather than focusing research on the individual; and moving away from inclusivity as a niche practice.

The chapter includes the following sections:
1.Context: a brief history of the origins of inclusive design from the Paralympics in 1948, through the visible rise of disability following the Vietnam War to the UK government’s definition of it in 2000 as a tool for trade and industry. Universal Design and Design for All, also prevalent globally, will be mentioned as having similar purpose but different origins.
2.Social relevance – beyond age and ability: this will discuss the unique contributions and affordances that a design approach can bring, as distinct to other disciplines. It will go beyond ‘accessibility’ to discuss exclusion according to age, ability, gender, socio-economic circumstance etc.
3.The Ethnography of Design: the tools and methods of the approach will be examined. ‘Design ethnography’ is a recently articulated idea that borrows from traditional social science, but adapts the techniques to suit design. Methods from the HHCD such as ‘Design Provocations’ will be outlined.
4.Passive to active: people are often seen as passive ‘research subjects’. More collaborative approaches should be developed, where designers work with people on an equal footing to co-create ideas.
5.Enabling knowledge exchange: it is important to create projects that are business-driven, community-centred and public-facing. Uptake at these different levels is necessary as knowledge exchange is vital for success.
6.Challenges for the future: the link to ideas such as social innovation, designing in the digital space and with communities rather than individuals.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: Research Centres > Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315562087
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2016 17:42
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2020 18:44
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/2237
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