2–5 February 2021


Short Paper

The non-participatory patient


Presenting Author(s): Juan Sanin
04 February 2021

Please be aware that multiple presentations will take place during this session commencing at 07:15PM AEDT and share the same zoom link. Check how presentations are clustered in the program spreadsheet when adding the calendar.

This paper discusses tensions and paradoxes of codesign paradigms and calls for more plural approaches to participation in order to establish collaborations with non-participatory users. It builds on research experiences in the field of design for wellbeing to challenge assumptions about user participation and introduce the concept of ‘the non-participatory patient’. This conceptual figure is used to represent those users who do not engage with codesign activities, or those who engage, but contribute in ways that contradict expectations of designers and industry partners. It is argued that most service design projects are not able to account for the needs and preferences of non-participatory users, who are most of the time excluded from design processes and outcomes for being considered as disengaged or disobedient. These experiences make evident the need for collaborative tools, techniques and formats beyond those traditionally used in codesign, and able to bring more plurality into service design.

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Juan Sanin
Juan Sanin
RMIT University

Dr. Juan Sanin is Lecturer in RMIT School of Design and Fellow in the Health Transformation Lab, and the Social Innovation Hub. His teaching, research and practice focus on the collaborative design of everyday experiences that contribute to people’s wellbeing. His design projects are run as ‘Lo-Fi Living Labs’: co-creative platforms based on the implementation of local knowledge, low-technologies, DIY and friendly hacking techniques to develop tactical solutions for wicked problems.

At the moment, Juan is applying this perspective in two main initiatives: Creative Wellbeing and Speculative Sustainability. The Creative Wellbeing Program is an initiative to introduce creative practices (e.g. visual arts, literature) in psychiatric and aged care services. Speculative Sustainability is a program of design interventions using creative practices, visual activism and self-publishing to extend the lifecycles of material culture.