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Health; wellbeing

  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Emmanuel is recognized for his work on community health and the international focus in his research see more

    This Much I Know (About Design Research): Emmanuel Tsekleves

    This Much I Know (About Design Research) is an interview series that profiles members of the DRS. In this edition, we spoke with Emmanuel Tsekleves about his design research and current projects. Emmanuel is senior lecturer in design at Lancaster University, associate director for international research at ImaginationLancaster, DRS Interim Advisory Council member and co-convenor of the DRS Global Health SIG. He is recognized for his work on community health and the strong international focus in his research.


    What projects are you currently working on?

    My collaborators and I just finished a project on inclusive policy for seniors in Malaysia in collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. We explored how design research methods can help governments anticipate change and engage the community.

    Can you give an example?

    Sure—we focused on training civil servants and community champions in the use of speculative design. These partners ran speculative design workshops with senior citizens to imagine new approaches to public transport for seniors.

    What’s next for you?

    I’m still involved in 5 other research projects! And I’m busy with a new book Design for Global Challenges. It’ll be part of the Design for Social Responsibility series at Routledge.

    What drives your research?

    Face-to-face meetings and connections with people—being able to work with my research partners in communities all around the world. Sadly that’s gotten a lot harder lately.

    Who are your research partners?

    We’re a multidisciplinary and international group with design researchers and folks with expertise in health, epidemiology, developmental sciences and social science. We've been working with local partners and communities in Ghana, Angola, Cameroon and Malaysia to tackle sustainable development challenges related to health. Another important partner is the Women Economic Imperative—we've worked together on a project looking at gender health and women’s health as an economic value.  

    Do you have advice for other researchers?

    I once asked a research participant what he needed from a project and he said: “for you to come back.” Think long term in your research and make sure it can have a lasting impact for your participants.

    You’re also heavily involved with the DRS!

    Yes—it’s an important community and a way to collaborate for the common good. Expanding the Society's international agenda and engaging health and design researchers beyond the Global North to the Global South are the main reasons I joined the DRS community and created the Global Health SIG.

    Any parting words to share with our members?

    We need to push ourselves to innovate, find new ways of doing things, and find new ways to make an impact. I strongly believe that’s our responsibility as designers and as researchers.   


    Find out more about Emmanuel and his work at

    Interested in getting involved in this interview series? Tell us about your work or nominate another researcher. Contact Isabel at

  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    Design research to improve the personal and societal wellbeing and happiness of people see more

    New Publication from SIGWELL — Design for Wellbeing: An Applied Approach

    On behalf of SIGWELL (the DRS Special Interest Group of Design for Wellbeing, Happiness and Health), we are excited to announce that our first book Design for Wellbeing: An Applied Approach has now been published in print. This book has never been more timely, as humankind is witnessing an ever-increasing ambition to live long, happy, healthy and flourishing lives. Design has an essential role to play here, in delivering wellbeing in all its forms. Design for Wellbeing charts the development and application of design research to improve the personal and societal wellbeing and happiness of people. It draws together contributions from internationally leading academics and designers to demonstrate the latest thinking on the design of products, technologies, environments, services and experiences for wellbeing.

    We had the pleasure of chairing a  SIGWELL conference paper track on Design for Wellbeing at the DRS2016 conference in Brighton, UK.  Following the presentations, Professor Rachel Cooper came over and asked if we might like to edit a book on design for wellbeing as part of her Design for Social Responsibility series. Of course we jumped at the opportunity, and three years later, we are so pleased to see our project conclude in the publication of our printed book!

    As Rachel Cooper in her preface to the book writes:

    “I am pleased to have supported Rebecca Cain and Ann Petermans in contributing this volume to the series, building a theoretical, practical and very useful reference text and baseline for future work on ‘Design for Wellbeing'”.

    Above: SIGWELL board members at the 2019 DRS SIGWELL Colloquium, TUDelft

    The foundations of the book started with many of the papers which came out of the DRS2016 SIGWELL conference track, and we also included invited chapters from other experts in the field. We were honoured to have such a good response to invitations to contribute to the book, which represented the current breadth of applied research in designing for wellbeing. The book is structured in four parts. Part I sets the scene on design for wellbeing with a general introduction to the field. Part II explores specific domains in wellbeing including designing for living with dementia, ageing in place, social connectedness and social interaction in the design of interior environments, future travel and healthy eating for behaviour change. Part III explores tools, methods and approaches for design for wellbeing, including co-designing, creative methods, scenario card games, social practice approach and dilemma thinking. Part IV concludes with a look forward to the future challenges of design for wellbeing in the contexts of mental health, housing in later life and international perspectives.

    This edited collection is the first book delivered by SIGWELL, and highlights the international community already involved in research on design for wellbeing. SIGWELL is an international community of design researchers interested in design for wellbeing in its broadest sense. SIGWELL is currently chaired by Ann Petermans and was founded and previously chaired by Rebecca Cain. SIGWELL invites design researchers to come together around design for wellbeing research events, publications and special tracks at DRS conferences. 


    Read more about SIGWELL here

    Design for Wellbeing: An Applied Approach is published by Routledge and is available here

    It is part of the Design for Social Responsibility Series



    Rebecca Cain, SIGWELL Founding Convenor; DRS Interim Advisory Council Member; Professor, Loughborough Design School

    Ann Petermans, SIGWELL Convenor; Professor, Hasselt University

     February 10, 2020
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    GHSig explores and promotes health design research across the world see more

    Introducing the Global Health SIG

    We’re thrilled to announce a new DRS Special Interest Group (SIG) — Global Health SIG (GHSig)The group will explore and promote health design research across the world. It’s convened by Emmanuel Tsekleves and Fatima Ghani, and includes organising committee members Claudia de Souza Libanio, Yonette Thomas, Ming Cheung, Charles Ebikeme and Pablo HermansenHere’s what Tsekleves had to say about the new group.


    What inspired the GHSig?

    We came together to tackle health challenges across the world. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are a major inspiration for our work.

    Are there global collaborations within the GHSig team?

    Absolutely! Our goal is to engage health and design researchers from the Global South and foster research collaborations between DRS members across the world.

    What’s the expertise of the organising team?

    We’re a group of academics, researchers and professionals from across all continents. We share a passion and interest for global health and design.

    What research activities are you planning?

    Lots of things — this includes local events, capacity-building workshops and publishing global health case studies. Our first event will take place in South East Asia in 2020.

    How can DRS members get involved?

    You can read about our mission on the Global Health SIG page and contact me to join. We’re looking forward to meeting other DRS members working in this field!


    The DRS has 11 SIGs including the new Global Health SIG. See the full list here. Members can join a SIG or start a new SIG by making a proposal to DRS Council.

     August 26, 2019
  • Isabel Prochner posted an article
    The latest insights in design for wellbeing education, with a special focus on ethics see more

    Conference Report: DRS SIGWELL Conference 2019

    In April 2019, the DRS Special Interest Group 'Design for Wellbeing, Happiness and Health' (SIGWELL) organised a one-day conference on Design for Wellbeing Education at the TUDelft Teaching Lab. The conference explored the latest insights in design for wellbeing education, with a special focus on ethics. It had about 70 attendees - a nice group for our first renewed SIGWELL event! We used different presentation formats to inspire the audience. This included keynote presentations, workshops and a series of short presentations.



    After opening words by SIGWELL Chair Ann Petermans, the day started with a keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Peter-Paul Verbeek titled ‘Designing Wellbeing: Responsible Design and Value Change’. Next, Prof. Dr. Pieter Desmet and Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl led a workshop on tools and methods for design for wellbeing, and Jet Gispen led a workshop on ethical reflections toward design for wellbeing. After the workshops, Dr. Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer gave an informative talk entitled ‘A flourishing University – Designing Systematically for Academic Wellbeing.’ She stressed that we need to develop a better understanding of creative methods and practices to address today’s complex societal challenges.

    After lunch, we had short presentations with five contributors: Armin Nagel discussed his Happy Waiting project, Stefan Persaud talked about education for happiness, Dr. Mathieu Gielen spoke about co-design with kids, Pelin Esnaf examined empathy as a design skill, and Chiel van der Linden discussed 'the holy grail' of worldwide wellbeing. The day ended with a keynote presentation by Andrew James, assistant principal at Mount Waverley North Primary School in Melbourne, Australia. He explained how positive design and principles from positive psychology were explored and applied in his school with children aged 10-12.

    Although the conference is over, we're looking forward to some great upcoming events. Many SIGWELL members have contributed to an upcoming design for wellbeing book with Routledge. And, of course, we hope to be present at DRS 2020!



    Ann Petermans, SIGWELL Chair