2–5 February 2021


Student Forum

Uncomfortable immersion


Presenting Author(s): Chloe Coelho
05 February 2021

Please be aware that multiple presentations will take place during this session commencing at 09:15AM AEDT and share the same zoom link. Check how presentations are clustered in the program spreadsheet when adding the calendar.

The uniqueness of grief makes it troublesome for design to facilitate meaningful impacts in the processes of grieving. It’s a complicated emotion to consolidate, differing between every person. Western society is not well equipped with the necessary knowledge needed to begin understanding and supporting others in grief (Devine, 2017).

Using service design as a framework for crafting an optimal solution for grief-care, Uncomfortable Immersion has explored some of the design opportunities surrounding grief in the context of adolescents. Clinically complex grief, which requires intervention, is more prevalent in adolescents (Shear, 2012). This is due to adolescents constantly redefining their identities and relationships, making it harder for them and others to determine when they are struggling (Hewlett, 2012).

Service design tools such as perceptual and journey mapping, combined with the philosophies behind Human-Centred Design, yielded insightful research from the interviews conducted. Most people whom had experienced the death of someone close to them during their adolescence, noted that it was their first opportunity to talk about their grief openly.

The book, ‘Without Expectations’, that I designed is a culmination of both personal and shared narratives. Its themes encourage empathic connections between the griever and their relationships. It discusses the creation of ritual objects as an important tool (Sas, 2016) in introducing purposeful integration of the physical and metaphysical reminders of the deceased (Green, 2002). One example outlined in the book is a handwritten letter from the deceased, printed onto a scarf that conceals the message until touched for a private ritual of remembrance.

Readers of the book claimed it inspired deeper discussions with their personal network as well as understanding their grief from a different perspective.

Europe (CET): 4th February 2021 11:15 pm to 12:00 am

US (EST): 4th February 2021 5:15 pm to 6:00 pm

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Chloe Coelho
Chloe Coelho
RMIT University

Chloe is an Industrial Design graduate from RMIT University where she researched the death-care industry for her final year project; recognised as a Good Design Award Winner in 2019. She cultivated a passion for issues surrounding grief and wants to further explore and build on how design can be situated in this area to create a positive impact (especially in the Digital Age). Chloe plans to extend this research into a Postgraduate study, seeking to understand the complexities of grief in people in order to lessen unnecessary suffering.

In the past, Chloe has worked on projects involving Dementia and elderly care, as well as infant mortality. She believes design will play an important role in fostering developments in wellbeing and care in these sometimes obscure areas. By practicing Human Centred Design in many of her projects, Chloe hopes to improve the quality of life of people in the community

Student Forum poster by Chloe Coelho