Last week for 5 days I took part in an ‘AcrossRCA’ project – which brings together students from all disciplines of RCA to work on a brief together. I chose to work with the Helen Hamlyn Centre on their brief working with people from the visually impaired community.
This project aims to demonstrate – through the power of creativity and design – the potential to tackle challenges around hidden disabilities. This project will focus on raising awareness of the different spectrum of Visual Impairment (VI).
The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design will introduce students to ‘people-centered’ design and guide and support them through co-creative workshops that put real people at the heart of the design process.
The project centres around the issue of Vision Impairment (VI) and its varying and sometimes subtle forms; and includes an open brief that will allow students from all disciplines to actively participate and explore and define themes. With the benefit of user engagement and insight they will then be encouraged to work together and develop potential interventions and solutions that address the perceived lack of awareness around many VI conditions.
On the first 2 days, before the group work starts, the students will hear the diverse stories and experiences of people and experts from the VI community and gain an insight into the condition and the day to day challenges they face.
Outcomes can be creative and imaginative and can develop organically throughout the week, but potential directions for intervention could be, for example, designing a new symbol/visual cue to signify that you are partially sighted or devising a low-budget but effective campaign. The design choice is yours.