EU workshop for making-well-being

Some workshop feedback

Well-Making and Making-Well: building new approaches to inclusivity through co-creative social design.

This interactive workshop was hosted by the Welsh House and organised by Community21's Nick Gant and Professor Fiona Hackney, Faculty of Arts, Wolverhampton University in collaboration and representatives from Social Enterprises Boing Boing and Blockbuilders. It considered how design thinking might be applied to co-create new inclusive approaches with and for young people experiencing mental illnesses inside and outside mainstream education.

Participants from Austria, Spain, Finland, Italy, Germany and the UK could experience and learn first-hand different ways of using design and making to tackle health related problems as anxiety, depression, EDs, OCD etc.

The most important characteristic of this workshop was the interactivity addressed through very different activities such as storytelling sewing circles and augmented reality animated drawings as a tool to let people express themselves in a different way. There was also a sun & cloud playful game to create new strategies in order to generate resilience and a ‘positive-place’ created by young people Minecraft environment that could be visited through virtual reality. Some of the participants said: 'It was one of the best events I have ever been to in Brussels', 'This was the best part of EU Design Days, it made it worthwhile', 'Very inspired about this and will instill the best practice', ‘We will apply these methodologies to our locality’. This hopefully demonstrates that there is a real broad geographic and cultural interest in how design and making can support well-being in Europe.

Our collective work has led to the development of tools and methods devised by young people for young people through a process of collaborative design (co-design) and collaborative making (co-making or co-production). We now aim to develop further these themes through the concept of a well-maker-space. This will prototype a communal maker-space aimed directly at supporting mental health through activities specifically designed for well-being.

This collaboration has led to recent funding applications to explore the notion of community maker space's capacity to support mental health and 'well-making' in communities.

Watch this space!