• Foyle Reeds: How can design reduce suicide attempts at a specific place whilst at the same time improving the experience for all?

Raby, Elizabeth, Alwani, Ralf, West, Jonathan, Bichard, Jo-Anne and Spencer, Jak, 2018, Book Section, Foyle Reeds: How can design reduce suicide attempts at a specific place whilst at the same time improving the experience for all? In: Barron, Dierdre and Seemann, Kurt, (eds.) Design4Health, Melbourne. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Design4Health 2017, 4 - 7 Dec 2017, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Sheffield Hallam University, Swinburne University of Technology, pp. 219-222. ISBN 978-0-6480892-1-6

Abstract or Description:

The impact of a suicide in a public environment has a profound negative effect on those living nearby. This paper outlines a project aiming to tackle this by bringing together researchers, designers and the local community to reduce suicidal behaviour and improve well-being across a section of the Foyle riverfront in Derry Londonderry through suicide prevention interventions. This paper discusses ‘Foyle Reeds’, one element of the project, an art installation and suicide prevention barrier for one of the bridges, designed to protect and engage with the community whilst avoiding any sense of imprisonment.

The team created a research space at a number of large city wide events connecting with over 5,000 people through research activities such as voting on key themes and outcomes, comment cards about activities people would like to see around the river and vox-pop interviews about focused topics. The team have conducted in-depth workshops with over 100 individuals, held site visits and observations with key stakeholders from the local statutory and community groups and engaged with people over social media through surveys, reaching over 10,000 people. In-depth interviews with suicideologists and people who have attempted suicide were carried out in parallel.

Individuals highlighted several key concerns about the bridge, including the suicide stigma, the wind and the height. A multidisciplinary team of students used these insights to create a range of designs. The concepts were tested using stakeholder workshops and led to the creation of the ‘Foyle Reed’ bridge concept, inspired by the ‘common reeds’ which surround the riverfront. By day, the bridge becomes part of a sculptural trail and provides an element of shelter and safety for pedestrians. At dusk the bridge displays interactive lighting. As the project moves towards the procurement phase, the measurement of impact on the community, and the environment is under way.

Official URL: https://research.shu.ac.uk/design4health/wp-conten...
Subjects: Other > Subjects allied to Medicine > B800 Medical Technology > B890 Medical Technology not elsewhere classified
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: Research Centres > Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design
Funders: Public Health Agency NI
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2018 13:23
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:49
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3602
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