Category Archives: Seminars & workshops

Making websites dementia-friendly. Join the discussion!

The second phase of our work on Memory-Friendly Neighbourhoods wraps up in January 2017 with an event at the Scottish Universities Insight Institute.

In this phase of Memory-Friendly Neighbourhoods (MFN), we’ve been focusing on the ‘virtual neighbourhood’, looking at how people living with dementia use and navigate online environments.

The programme is based on our own experiences of setting up the MFN website and the lack of guidance we have found on internet accessibility for people living with dementia.

We’ve been using a survey, together with a ‘town hall meeting’ approach, to engaging participants; from people who commission, design, build and maintain websites, to people whose lives are affected by dementia.

Please join us at our final meeting where we’ll be discussing what we’ve found out and co-designing outputs from the project, including ideas for next steps and recommendations for policy and practice.

The event takes place at the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, a short walk from Queen Street Station in central Glasgow, on Tuesday 17th January 2017.

The meeting will last from 10am until noon and you are welcome to stay for lunch afterwards.

Places are FREE but limited, so please book through Eventbrite.

Memory-Friendly Neighbourhoods is a knowledge exchange programme with the University of Stirling exploring how local communities can support people with dementia. It is funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute and partnered by Age Scotland, East Dunbartonshire Council, and Life Changes Trust.

Play+Design=Learning: guest blog post by PhD student, Matluba Khan

Each year, the University of Edinburgh holds Innovative Learning Week (ILW), a festival to inspire, support and celebrate creative learning. This year’s theme was ‘Ideas in Play’.

In this guest post, PhD student Matluba Khan tells us about an ILW event she devised with Nik Farhanah and other colleagues from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), working with children aged 5-11 on a real-life outdoor design challenge.

Illustration of Edinburgh College of Art

Illustration of Edinburgh College of Art (Image courtesy of Katie Forrester)

As she explains in her post, Play+Design=Learning builds on Matluba’s PhD research at the University of Edinburgh on Design for Outdoor Education in Bangladeshi Elementary Schools, as well as Nik’s PhD research on children’s participation in designing educational environments.

Matluba’s research is co-supervised by Simon Bell and Eva Silveirinha de Oliveira of OPENspace, together with Sarah McGeown of Moray House School of Education. Nik’s is co-supervised by Fiona McLachlan in ESALA, together with Catharine Ward Thompson of OPENspace and Kay Tisdall of the School of Social and Political Science.

Photo of school children in Bangladesh

Image courtesy of Apel Pavel

“Working in my office, looking at spreadsheets for hours, days and weeks, my mind often returns to working with the children in Bangladesh to build their dream school ground.

On one such occasion, I received an email calling for proposals for Innovative Learning Week 2016 and it came to my mind… can I do something similar for the children in Scotland with support from ILW?

I shared my idea with Architecture PhD student, Nik Farhanah, who is also working with children, exploring their participation in designing learning spaces in Scottish schools.

She immediately agreed and we had our first formal meeting perched on a staircase!”

Poster for Innovative Learning Week

Keeping it local

“Our initial idea was to work in the grounds of a primary school within walking distance of Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), where we are both based.

Then we thought “how about we get the ECA open space designed by the young landscape architects?”

So, the project became focused on the green space at the heart of the ECA campus on Lauriston Place, with indoor activities held in the college café overlooking the grounds.

We planned a day of inter-related activities, including an ice-breaker craft activity, an accompanied walk-along audit of the college grounds, a re-design of the outdoor space using drawing and modelling, and plenty of group discussion and presentation”.

Photo of children drawing a landscape

Image courtesy of Matluba Khan

Image of children on an outdoor walk

Image courtesy of Matluba Khan

Getting friends on board

“Play and learning are very multidisciplinary, so we asked for input from colleagues in related fields.

Norhanis from Landscape Architecture did the multimedia projection, photography and videography, Katie from Illustration designed beautiful certificates for our youngsters, Sharifah from Education looked after the children’s wellbeing on the day, and Reyhaneh from Landscape Architecture helped the youngest group (Nik, Katie and myself were also facilitators).

Our friends worked a great deal to advertise the event among their colleagues and friends and the response and outcome of the event surpassed our expectations.

The enjoyment of working with out-of-the-box designers with wild imagination as well as reasonable thinking (which we often don’t want to accredit children with) cannot be compared to anything else”.

Photo of children doing a group design task

Image courtesy of Matluba Khan

What we learned

“We not only enjoyed but also learnt how we can work with children more effectively to generate creative and effective design ideas, for example, taking into account how children of different age groups express their ideas in different ways, and which materials children prefer to work with.

The children also learnt, through seeing, analysing, acting on, collaborating and listening to each other, but above all through playing with different materials, colours and objects.

They designed water features and modern seating. They proposed a bird feeder and bird bath to attract birds and a shelter where students can paint or sketch when it rains.

They picked up on things like the potential to incorporate some modern art forms or sculpture that would right away communicate the college’s status with any visitor”.

ILW presenting

Image courtesy of Matluba Khan

You can read an extended version of this post on Matluba’s blog, PhD_the other half, where you can also keep up to date with progress on her research.

> go to Matluba’s blog

We would also like to take this opportunity to extend our congratulations to Matluba who has just been announced as the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities’ first ever Thinker-in-Residence, in partnership with Deveron Arts.

Can landscape design actually improve health?

Catharine Ward Thompson, Director of the OPENspace research centre, has taken part in a free webinar on the potential of landscape design to improve health.

The event was hosted by Routledge, publishers of the Open Space : People Space books.

Screengrab from a landscape and health webinar

Selecting this image will take you to a recording of the webinar on YouTube

Joining Catharine online were Christopher Coutts (Florida State University) and Gayle Souter-Brown (Greenstone Design UK Ltd).

Together, they discussed the prime importance of landscape design on health and the ways that you can change this dynamic through effective design and specific interventions.

> Watch a recording of the webinar on YouTube

> Find out more about the Open Space : People Space books

Habitats for Happy Ageing

It’s 20th March, the UN International Day of Happiness, and what better way to mark it than with the first of our Habitats for Happy Ageing events.

Photo of audience members at the Habitats for Happy Ageing event

Image courtesy of Ben Shmulevitch

Thank you so much to everyone who came along to this free event at the Reid Concert Hall, including our two guest speakers, Neil Thin (University of Edinburgh) and Val Bissland (University of Strathclyde).

As well as bite-sized talks by these two amazing experts in happiness and place, we were delighted to share insights from our current research project, Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP).

Photo of a student talking to guests at Habitats for Happy Ageing

Image courtesy of Ben Shmulevitch

Guests had the chance to talk to the students involved in our co-design research, to try on the EEG headset used in our ‘environment and affect’ study (and see how it articulates brainwaves on a computer) and to take a short, paper-based mood test.

They could also browse a range of visual material, including models, maps of Edinburgh over time, and captioned images from our photography competition.

Photo of participants at Habitats for Happy Ageing

Image courtesy of Ben Shmulevitch

The ‘science festival’ format worked well with our audience, of which most were aged 65 or over. We received really useful feedback, including on the sorts of positive ways in which people might use what they had heard us talk about or discussed with us. 91% of those who attended rated the event as enjoyable and useful.

Here’s a little video providing a taster of what went on…

Screengrab from the trailer for Habitats for Happy Ageing

Selecting this image will take you to the video on vimeo

> Find out more about Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP) on this website

> Find out more about Habitats for Happy Ageing on the MMP website

> Read an article about the event – with reader’s photographs – on the STV Edinburgh website

> Read an article about the event on the Living It Up Scotland website

Catharine gives guest lecture in Prague

Catharine has visited Prague to give a Proměny Foundation lecture on children, greenspace, play and the urban environment.

The Proměny Foundation is a Czech non-profit organisation founded in 2006 by Karel Komárek. Its ‘Playful Garden’ grant scheme holds the International Play Association’s Right to Play Award 2014 for helping to transform Czech school gardens into inspiring environments.

The Foundation facilitates co-design between children, teachers and parents; Catharine’s talk, Child’s play and the outdoors: the importance of access to green and natural environments, is part of a series of events taking place in school gardens and playgrounds, libraries and even a railway station.

You can watch an interview with Catharine on the Proměny Foundation YouTube channel (in English, with Czech subtitles). Her visit has also been covered by The Week, Respekt and Týden.

Link to an interview with Catharine

Watch an interview with Catharine on YouTube

 

Find out more about the Proměny Foundation