What organisations are collaborating?: Critical Data Limited; AgeUK Darlington; Gateshead Older Peoples Assembly
Who else is involved?: Tess Denman-Cleaver, Paul Dunphy, Peter Wright and Patrick Olivier.
What was my role?: Project co-ordination, workshop planning and facilitation, method development and analysis.
Publications: Experience Design Theatre: Exploring the Role of Live Theatre in Scaffolding Design Dialogues (ACM CHI 2014)
Who is funding this?: Technology Strategy Board ALIP 3/4 ‘SALT’ project
When did it happen?: June 2013 – July 2013
It is increasingly likely that informal and voluntary networks of carers will be the backbone of future sustainable models of community and at-home care in the UK. This has been recognised recently in the UK government’s care policy, which has shifted from centralised professional care to community-centric care provision. A number of schemes are currently being trialled where people who already care for friends or family members collect ‘credits’ that can be used to pay for additional care services in the future (e.g. Care4Care). One assumption of such schemes is that there will be an increase in the number of younger people providing care for older people, and by spending their time looking after those in their community, these ‘credits’ may be spent on their own care in the future.
In this project we explored peoples reactions to an imagined future service called NetCarers that embodied these qualities. We examined the ways in which young and old volunteers could provide care for friends, family and strangers in their local community and what the implications may be in receiving different forms of incentives and rewards for doing so. With groups of older people and care volunteers we explored the impact such a service may have on the lived experiences of those implicated in it — i.e. the older people, current and future volunteers, and family members that may live with it in their everyday lives. We were also interested in exploring the ways in which digital technologies may facilitate interactions between people – i.e., to support timetabling, secure information sharing, credit management and care time recording (clocking in and out). There are complex political and economic factors at play which impact upon how such a scheme should be designed and, ultimately, its acceptance by those it aims to benefit.
In order to explore these issues we developed a design approach called Experience Design Theatre, where professional actors improvised short scenes in design workshops to provoke discussion from participants. These discussions were then fed into a new version of the same scenes that the actors re-performed to these same participants. Through a series of small workshops with groups of 5 to 8 people each we started to co-create a performance of the envisioned the NetCarers service. This performance – which we called a ‘service story’ – explored how the different groups envisaged the NetCarers service playing out in practice, and communicated both their concerns and opportunities.