Students from the 2nd year of the BA(Hons) Sustainable Product Design programme are working on an exciting new project with Joanna Grace, a special education needs and disability consultant and founder of The Sensory Projects. Her projects look to improve the mental health and wellbeing for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). She’s worked on several strategies, including Sensory Stories, a crowd-funded project to develop stories which partner concise text with strong sensory stimuli to convey a narrative.
Based on Joanna’s research, and working with local organisations that support people with PMLD, the students will develop a sensory toolkit that provides stimuli to evoke interaction and engagement. The design development will focus on objects that provide single sensory activities. The concept will be lead through user-centred design activity where specific materials, textures, shapes, sounds, etc are identified that stimulate a positive response for a person with PMLD.
Initial concept development and testing will then lead to more refined design proposals for a product that fulfills the needs of users, including people with PMLD, but also carers and health professionals. Consideration of economic, environmental and manufacturing constraints will also be developed. The final concept will consist of a ‘toolkit’ where a range of sensory options can be delivered with the product.
Joanna delivered an engaging and inspirational workshop to the students at the beginning of the semester which included lots of experimentation with sensory experiences.