“Sustaining ‘Inclusive Design’ Collaboration through Co-design Platforms (SIDe)” is a collaboration project funded by the British Council through the Newton Fund. The leading universities are Loughborough University (UK) and Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (Turkey), and the project partners include Six Dots Foundation of the Blind, Spinal Cord Paralytics Association of Turkey; FixED, Cambridge Engineering Design Centre and the Design Research Society.
The SIDe training programme was held at the School of Design and Creative Arts in Loughborough University between 10th and 13th February 2020. Five members of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSFAU) and three representatives of their associated partner organisations visited Loughborough University (LU) to receive training on inclusive design and research through seminars, workshops and visits. Two steering committee meetings were organised, one to plan the programme in detail in order to ensure a common approach during different stages of the whole project; the other focus more on running the student project. Prof Daniel Charney from FixED attended the second steering committee meeting to give advice on working with partner organisations.
Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University:
Project Partner Representatives (Turkey)
School of Design and Creative Arts, Loughborough University:
Project Partner Representatives (UK)
The training programme was composed of 5 sessions:
Session 1: Welcome and introduction to ‘Inclusive Design’ 1.0-4.0 by Professor Hua Dong
This session offered an overview of inclusive design in the last 20 years and outlined the state-of-the-art and future developments. Case studies were introduced on inclusive design 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0.
Session 2: Empathy and simulation tools by Sharon Cook
Empathy modelling and simulation tools are effective design methods and tools in an inclusive design process. Participants were invited to try and experience various simulation tools developed in LU.
Session 3: Inclusivity in Transport Safety by Professor Serpil Acar
Professor Acar introduced research on design for safety of pregnant drivers. Situations in both the UK and Turkey were discussed and collaborations on sharing methods and data were proposed.
Session 4:Field Visit and Reflections
As part of the training programme, the visitors from Turkey were offered opportunities to visit the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) College at Loughborough, or the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport at Loughborough University.
Session 5: Engaging stakeholders for universal design by Dr George Torrens
Multiple methods, models and processes for universal design were introduced, with an emphasis on engaging stakeholders to deliver inclusive design solutions. Business cases were used to showcase research leading to successful products.
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Two steering committee meetings were held to discuss the future planning of different stages of the overall project. The first meeting focused on discussing the SIDe online resource and platform development in terms of its resources and functions. The second steering committee focused on the offline platform (students co-design projects with NGOs), and briefly summarised and reflected on the training.
The domain name of the online platform is proposed to be www.inclusivedesignside.org, and it will include an up-to-date inclusive design resource. The suggested resources are:
The website should be accessible (e.g. enabling visually impaired people to read visuals), and its basic function is to enable co-design between students and clients (e.g. NGOs). Other functions of the website may include:
Suggestions on the function of the web site also include: adding the searching function; adding a ‘suggestion’ box for external visitors; making the website ‘designer friendly’ (e.g. with lots of visuals)
A meeting facilitated by ZOOM was held for the participants to communicate with Professor Daniel Charny from FixED. The process and methods of Fixperts (a co-design format on the FixED platform) were explained. Its relevance to the co-design projects to be run through the Social Responsibility Practice module in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University was discussed.
Suggestions on how to plan and carry out the co-design projects were offered, especially on co-developing the design briefs with NGOs. It is critical for the students to understand the situations/conditions/expectations of the NGOs and explore the real needs of disabled persons through quick prototyping, experimentation, and thinking through making, rather than ‘surprising the client with great solutions’. Based on existing ‘Fixperts’ models, Prof Charney encouraged students to make 1-minute videos of the ‘issues’ (in the early stage), ‘prototyping’(in the middle) and ‘telling the story’ (at the end); and suggested offering training to students on ‘social design’, ‘open design’ and ‘communication/story telling’.
On reflection, the representatives from an NGO suggested to consider the social relation issues, i.e. the ‘experience exchange’, and the communication between disabled and non-disabled people.
PRESENTATIONS BY MIMAR SINAN FINE ARTS UNIVERSITY
Five faculty members from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and representatives from their partner NGOs gave presentations, introducing their organisations and past projects.
The training also incorporated different visits, including the visit to the Environmental Ergonomics Lab, the Creative Arts Building, and the Architectural Building.
The training is the first stage of the project “Sustaining ‘Inclusive Design’ Collaboration through Co-design Platforms (SIDe)”, which has enabled research partners from LU and MSFAU to share experiences and clarify the necessary actions to be taken in the following stages (including the SIDe Symposium and Exhibition). The training sessions and the steering committee meetings have informed the plan of a sustainable approach towards student-client (e.g. NGO) co-design projects in the Social Responsibility Practices Course at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, in an effort to increase students' awareness of inclusive design by incorporating an experiential learning approach. In addition, with the meetings and school visits involving academicians from different schools of LU, an important step has been taken towards establishing new academic connections and sustainable inter-institutional relations for possible new collaborations.
The training on inclusive design has achieved its goal and has made important contributions in strengthening institutional links between the partners (including partner NGOs) of this project, which is supported by the Newton Fund's Research Environment Links UK/Turkey programme.
We thank the following people’s help in making the training successful:
June Murray and Hannah Wharton from the RNIB College, Loughborough
Prof Serpil Acar, Prof Cees de Bont, Prof Richard Bibb, Prof George Havenith, Ms Nikki Counley, Dr Lu Liu, and the Finance office from the School of Design and Creative Arts; Tom from the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport; Dr Robert Schmidt-III, Dr Falli Palaiologou and Dr Efi Spentzou from the Department of Architecture, and the Research Office from Loughborough University.
Prof. Daniel Charney from FixEd
The Design Research Society and the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre.
The SIDe project is supported by the British Council’s Newton Fund (Research Environment Links UK/Turkey programme)