Canadian Creative Arts in Health, Training and Education Journal
I recently had an opportunity to connect with Occupational Therapist, Jen Gellis, B.Sc.OT, M.A.A , Design Candidate at Emily Carr University in Vancouver.I found it interesting how Jen had combined her background as an Occupational Therapist with applied work designing play spaces for disabled children. I asked Jen to report on some of the details of her project for our visitors to the "Arts and Health Crossing Borders" blog.
'Co-designing Play Spaces in the Therapy Department at Sunny Hill' Jen Gellis, Emily Carr University
"Co-designing Play Spaces in the Therapy Department at Sunny Hill" is my thesis research project at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children in Vancouver. B.C. I am trained as an Occupational Therapist and have been working at Sunny Hill for the past five years until last January when I took an education leave to complete my Master's of Applied Arts degree in Design at Emily Carr University.
I intend to share my unique opportunity to explore design from my position as an Occupational Therapist as well as how my approach to my work with children with disabilities has shifted through my exposure to design methods.
The main goal of the Co-design project is to explore the use of creative design research methods (drawing, photography, building, modeling, collage) with children to inform the design of a play space in the therapy department at Sunny Hill. The study involves collaboration with children with disabilities, their parents, caregivers and healthcare providers at the centre. The project is guided by participatory action research and participatory design research methods. The long term outcome will be the design and implementation of a play space based on collaborations with children who visit Sunny Hill for appointments, their parents as well as healthcare providers at the centre.
I also intend to contribute knowledge in design and occupational therapy...by making new connections between occupational therapy and industrial design, by capturing new evidence and alternative methodological approaches through the use of creative activities and materials as a research method with children and by working in under researched areas, for example the participatory design of healthcare spaces with children with disabilities.
The long-term outcome will be the design and implementation of a play space based on collaborations with children who visit Sunny Hill for appointments, their parents as well as healthcare providers at the centre. A shorter term outcome will be the design of a creative 'toolkit' that can be used by children, parents, healthcare providers and designers (to design adapted equipment, home renovations, perhaps child-friendly knowledge transfer materials etc., healthcare systems and services)."
It is good to hear from students and researchers who are actively using the creative arts as well as design in their applied work in healthcare. Excellent work Jen and we wish you well in this innovative design project! CM
For information about this project contact Jen Gellis at firstname.lastname@example.org