Friday, 19 October 2007

Dott Festival | Day 4

Design of Sexual Health (DaSH)

Today's Dott Debate focused on the issue of health. John opened the Design for Sexual Health (DaSH) session by saying that sustainability, 'is about looking after each other', and that's exactly what people involved in health are concerned with.

The DaSH Debate's aim was to review the project and focus on some learnings. First up was the Design Options team who were involved with running the project. The first presentation gave an in depth view of the process the team went through in their discovery stage with people.

Various methods, tools and techniques were used such as forming a co-design team, steering committee, doing some stakeholder mapping, questionnaires, interviews and cultural probes.

The outcomes were ideas and recommendations for new modes of sexual health delivery services. These were captured in a consultation document and Service Experience book.

The legacy of DaSH has lived on with the Design Options team working in different areas and regions of the UK in sexual health.

Angela, a Nurse Team Leader and member of the co-design team, also presented giving some insights into what the experience of working on DaSH brought.

She mentioned:

- the ability to complete a wide exploration of the state of sexual health services
- the 'opportunity to get out of our silos'
- the ability to engage people, both those who use and will potentially use sexual health services and
- overall just a different way of doing things and interacting with people involved in sexual health

To summarise, Angela noted that DaSH was able to generate ideas for an integrated sexual health service 'as chosen by the people of Gateshead.'

Jenna, of Design Options, was the final presentation that dealt directly with the DaSH project.

Jenna pushed our imagination towards 'blue sky' ideas on sexual health services. Wouldn't it be great if sexual health services could....

- be found in the back of high street stores where there was a high degree of access for young people
- be around the idea of a 'clinic in a bag' where nurses could visit people in their homes
- use technology, such as vending machine, to distributed condoms.

The following two presentations were on the National Chlamydia Screening Program and the vending machine technology which actually has a functioning prototype that dispenses condoms at the DaSH project space at the Festival.

While these two presentations were interesting, my personal opinion was that they led the debates right into conversations on delivery mechanisms. Throughout our discussion, I found that cultural and behavioural issues that surrounded sexual health were beginning to emerge. Someone even mentioned, 'our nation doesn't talk about sex.' I was left questioning if we could change cultural paradigms by vending machines alone. Do we need to go 'outside the system', do new kinds of studies in sexual health, think more about sexual well-being (rather than sexual health) and deliver the kinds of services which empower people to seek sexual health services, on their own...?

Urban Farming

In the break between the 2 Health Debates I visited the Urban Farming project space.

The Urban Farming project

Design Opportunities for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough Town Meal

Middlesbrough Town Meal

Alzheimer 100

I have to admit the Debates keep on getting better and better. Alzheimer 100 opened with 'it's all about citizen participation.' Staying true to the statement the goal of the Debate was to take forward ideas and plans from today and do something.

Deborah of ThinkPublic, who were the Senior Producers on the Alzheimer 100 project, gave us an insight into the design practices used in the project.

These included holding a skills sharing days to train the co-design team in research (which involved the use of film), observing and talking to people in the Alzheimer Society network, identifying the 80+ services available to the Alzheimer community and keeping everyone up-to-date and included in the process through a website and leaflet (for those not IT enabled).

Ian and Ivo, also of ThinkPublic, presented the outcomes and opportunities which eventuated. Some of these included the design of a space for a garden, the use of mentors, a Signposting service which enabled face-to-face meetings for help and the use of public spaces eg. cafes for social interactions and activities.

I don't know if I missed something, but I wondered how all these ideas things could connect and work together. Maybe they are not intended too.

The Debate was an uplifting experience marked by the enthusiasm of everyone in the room and building on ideas.

Discussions opened with assistive technology and media training as a starting place to remove the stigma that runs alongside Alzheimers. This led to conversations around the use of film to share the stories of the Alzheimer community and help reduce this stigma. Just before the Debate begun, Deborah put on the one-minute video that was showing in the Alzheimer 100 project space and I found that added a lot of energy to the conversations that followed around the issue. What more proof did we need that film could contribute a whole lot more? As one person put it, 'the voice of people with dementia is a powerful and moving experience.' I would add the voice of the carers would be a powerful and moving experience too.

The Debate was round up with a set of agreed upon ideas as ways to move forward, but the energy would not leave until a list of names was put down on list to further the conversations and deliver some action. I think everyone in the room signed up. The legacy of Alzheimer 100 lives on as it certainly was 'not the end... but the beginning of something.'

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