Designing Empathic Conversations for Inclusive Design Facilitation

Oral presentation



For Heartlands, a large scale regeneration project in Cornwall, UK, we developed a series of activities that aimed to involve future users of the project in its design. In the role of inclusive design facilitators, the authors conducted social research to create insights into the imagined future uses of Heartlands, organised co-creative workshops to generate ideas, and user forums to discuss concepts and prototypes. All of these took the format of empathic conversations between the design teams, the local council and future users of Heartlands. Our approach differed in several ways from more traditional community involvement through public consultations. Firstly, we focused on actual current practices to explore future uses and tried to avoid long 'wish lists'. Secondly, we involved local artists to do research and express their insights in art works that served as conversation pieces. Thirdly, our activities were small-scale and carefully designed, to allow for in-depth empathic conversations that informed and inspired design teams.

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