Skip to content

Gemma Wheeler PhD, MDes

Design Researcher

Summary

I am a Design Researcher at Lab4Living, an interdisciplinary research cluster with a focus on bringing Design-led research to fields of health and wellbeing. Our work spans a range of health contexts across the entire life course, and is characterised by the use of creating and making. 

 

I have a broad experience of using Participatory Design methods in complex healthcare contexts, and enjoy adapting my approach to the particular needs and sensitivities to each community we collaborate with. I am interested in the role of creative, empathic, design-led methods in creating a ‘common language’ between patients, family members and healthcare professionals for mutual learning and real-world innovation. 

  • About

    After completing an integrated masters degree in Product Design here at Sheffield Hallam University (2013), I undertook a Doctoral study between the Glasgow School of Art and the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit, Glasgow (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Award scheme). During this PhD study I worked collaboratively with inpatients, outpatients, hospital staff and related charities explore and enhance patient participation in spinal cord injury rehabilitation.

    I returned to Sheffield Hallam University in 2017 as a Design Researcher at Lab4Living. Here I enjoy engaging a range of healthcare service stakeholders (including patients, family members, clinicians, academics, industry experts, etc.) in creative, collaborative research activities.

    These activities, or ‘co-design’ workshops, focus on identifying unmet health needs, mobilizing knowledge and/or developing healthcare products and services. My role involves planning and running co-design workshops, creating context-specific and audience-appropriate workshop tools, analyzing the data gathered and reporting the findings to audiences from design and healthcare. I am involved in bid writing, dissemination and also provide graphic design support for conference posters, websites, newsletters, exhibition spaces, etc.

    Within this role, I liaise with and provide design input to Devices for Dignity, a National Institute for Health Research funded MedTech Co-operative based in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, as well as their associated partners.

  • Research

    • Art and Design Research Centre

    My key project is The Starworks Network, a Department of Health funded initiative bringing together children, families, clinicians, academics and industry experts to explore the unmet needs of children who use prosthetics. 

    I took a key role in planning and facilitating a series of 4 multi-stakeholder full-day workshops across the country, and I am currently the main point of contact supporting ten ‘Proof of Concept’ projects funded by The Starworks Network. I am also involved in planning and delivering the next stage of this project following allocation of further funding from the National Institute for Health Research. 

  • Publications

    Key Publications

    Wheeler, G., Mills, N., King, S., & Culmer, P. (2018). Child-led, Creative Exploration of Paediatric Incontinence. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Design4Health, Sheffield, UK, 4th – 6th September 2018. https://research.shu.ac.uk/design4health/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/662.pdf

    Journal articles

    Wheeler, G., Langley, J., & Mills, N. (2019). Risk & reward: Exploring design’s role in measuring outcomes in health. Design Journal, 22 (sup1), 2231-2234. http://doi.org/10.1080/14606925.2019.1595017

    Conference papers

    Langley, J., Bec, R., Wheeler, G., & Partridge, R. (2018). The need for distributed co-design in healthcare contexts. In Christer, K., Craig, C., & Wolstenholme, D. (Eds.) Design4Health, 4 September 2018 - 6 September 2018. Sheffield Hallam University

    Wheeler, G. (2018). A reflective tool to consider notions of healthcare community participation in design. Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Design4Health, Sheffield, UK, 4th – 6th September 2018. https://research.shu.ac.uk/design4health/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/660.pdf

    Presentations

    Wheeler, G., & Mills, N. (2018). The Starworks Project: Achievements and Next Steps. Presented at: International Society of Prosthetists and Orthotists UK MS Annual Scientific Meeting, Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton, 2018

    Wheeler, G., Partridge, R., Bec, R., & Langley, J. (2018). ‘Making’ Knowledge, ‘Making’ Impact. Presented at: Creating Knowledge Conference, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 2018

    Culmer, P., & Wheeler, G. (2017). Drawing on new ideas (and paper) to better understand kids’ toileting needs. Presented at: Incontinence: The Engineering Challenge XI, One Birdcage Walk, London, UK, 2017

    Other publications

    Langley, J., Partridge, R., Wheeler, G., & Bec, R. (2018). Invited masterclass: Creative thinking and problem solving. https://www.cphvaconference.co.uk/

Share this page

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?

Close