Cultural Probes: Design & Findings – Kaitlyn

My group decided to create cultural probes based on art therapy for the elderly.

Our cultural probe: an activity booklet accompanied with
drawing / writing materials (pens, pencils and colour pencils)

Goal: To investigate attitudes towards art therapy for the elderly as a creative practice and ageing from the perspectives of an art therapist and general populace

We came up with three main activities that required participants to visualise their practices, think about ageing and imagine themselves as the aged.

One of the participants is Clifford, a silkscreen printer. It would be intriguing to see how another practitioner other than an art therapist visualises ageing and the elderly, an unusual perspective that might be useful when creating a wearable studio suited for our story world (to be told). 

Clifford, a silkscreen printer’s perspective on art therapy

Activity 1: Visualise Your Practice

Interestingly, Clifford’s take on silkscreen printing seems to be similar to an underlying aim of art therapy when he mentioned “translating … an intangible emotion to a physical entity”. The focus in both practices seems to be the process rather than the final product and one that would bring about an emotional response such as happiness. This highlights the importance of art therapists to provide ample means to enhance the therapy process; and of designers to take such into consideration, i.e. to augment their wearables’ holding capacity for a variety of art mediums.

Activity 2: Ageing

To help create a rich story world, we sought to understand how general populace in Singapore understand the elderly and ageing.

Activity 3: Imagine that you are an elderly person.

Photographs would help us to visualise good or bad designs out there so that we could emulate or avoid. 

Based on Clifford’s word tree and photographs, his observations largely are centred around physical mobility, where mobility for the elderly can be improved upon or accommodations can be made. Indeed while designing for an older crowd, including middle-aged art therapists and elder therapy clients, it is important to take their physical abilities into account. It would be useless to create a heavy wearable studio even if it can carry many things, when ultimately they cannot lift it up, rendering the design to be useless. 

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