To design for and together with persons with dementia gives rise to quite some challenges (1, 2). There are many researchers and designers who are attempting to find ideal ways to involve persons with dementia in their design setup. Reasons for doing this are both pragmatic and ideological: from a pragmatic perspective the idea exists that designs will be better suited to the needs of the ones you design for; on a ideological level, there is the belief that everyone should be able to take part in a design process, or in fact that all people should benefit from what design can potentially offer.
The traditional methods to involve a person in a design process create issues as they assume that the participants are cognitively able; can make use of visual and hands-on techniques; or require a high level of abstraction ability of the person with dementia. In this event we will talk about the neccessity of designing for and together with persons with dementia and will share good (and bad) practices of integrating this in education or your design practice.
The Robert Bosch Stiftung has an ongoing interest in healthy ageing in general, and dementia more specific (http://www.bosch-stiftung.de/content/language2/html/healthy-ageing.asp). They support a variety of projects in- and outside of Germany trying to tackle this topic. Their interest in supporting this event comes from the aspiration to re-new the interest in designing for and together with persons with dementia in design education and practice.
Four years ago the organisers of this event, Andrea Wilkinson and Niels Hendriks were involved in a project that focused on designing together with and for persons with dementia. What started as an 'interesting challenge' quickly became quite a complex task. After some years the lessons learned from this initial and the following design projects were used as a starting for an educational course for master students product, graphic and interaction design and masters in animation and film making. From a one-time experiment in a care facility, this course module evolved into a solid, but still very experimental education module focussing on designing for and together with persons with dementia.
(1) Hendriks, N., Huybrechts, L., Wilkinson, A., & Slegers, K. (2014). Challenges in doing participatory design with people with dementia (pp. 33–36). Presented at the Proceedings of the 13th Participatory Design Conference: Short Papers, Industry Cases, Workshop Descriptions, Doctoral Consortium papers, and Keynote abstracts-Volume 2, ACM.