Based in AUT’s School of Art + Design, we are a team of transdisciplinary researchers and creatives using design to empower, delight, and enrich lives in our communities. Our research focuses on design that may have a positive impact on people's health and wellbeing. We engage with clinical experts, healthcare professionals as well as researchers from other disciplines, to share and test ideas and develop unique solutions.
Involving children in the evaluation of hospital environments has been recognized as important. It is argued that this should extend to engaging children in the evaluation of medical products. A study was undertaken to evaluate how children, parents/caregivers and nurses viewed the design of anew intravenous (IV) pole compared to the existing IV pole currently used. Children and adults were asked to give their perspectives on mobility, safety, aesthetics and functionality of the new and existing IV poles. The findings suggest that children value different aspects of medical product design than adults. We conclude that designers, manufacturers and healthcare organizations should recognize the importance and benefit of involving children in the design of medical products that will ultimately be used by them.
This practice led research project explored visual representation through illustrations designed to communicate often complex medical information for different users within Auckland City Hospital, New Zealand. Media and tools were manipulated to affect varying degrees of naturalism or abstraction from reality in the creation of illustrations for a variety of real-life clinical projects, and user feedback on illustration preference gathered from both medical professionals and patients. While all users preferred the most realistic representations of medical information from the illustrations presented, patients often favoured illustrations that depicted a greater amount of information than professionals suggested was necessary.
This article examines the ethical and practical challenges of undertaking a study using art-based methods with children/young people. It is argued that an important component of qualitative research and research with children/young people is researcher reflexivity and flexibility, particularly when the anticipated and actual implemented methods of a study differ. We draw on a study with 175 children/young people aged 5–16 years in a children’s outpatients department where ‘draw-and-tell’ and ‘letter writing’ were used to elicit children/young people’s perceptions of the outpatient environment. The challenges that arose during the study are critically reflected on including recruitment, the physical and social environment, time restrictions and interviewing. Recommendations for researchers using art-based methods to carry out research with children/young people are offered.