Participatory Action Research

I take the view that craftspeople must recognise the relevance of the act of making has within culture today, working towards fresh thinking, imagination and experimentation. It is imperative to tap into the potential for work within the spheres of both ‘art’ and ‘life’ in order to produce aesthetic pieces that are also critical design objects for use. My proposition for work views that craft has begun increasingly to assert ‘concept’ as of equal importance to ‘material practice’.

I wished to impose focus on my practice through the production of objects that speak of our times but more importantly act as ‘tools’ in the sense that the outcomes possess a practical connection and empathy to people’s lives. This project has advanced into a ‘real-life’ healthcare setting using ‘Participatory Action Research’ to engage a broad community of professionals and members of the public in a collaborative venture with Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University, Derbyshire Primary Care Trust and Derbyshire Community Health Services.

The relationship has given rise to the opportunity to develop and test my ideas for approaches to communication and connecting with patients experiencing Alzheimer’s and Dementia through observation, analysis and evaluation of prototypes and subsequent modification.

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