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After studying Model Making and Space Design, a combination of Interior Design, Urbanism and Scenography in my home country of France, I transferred to Sheffield Hallam University to complete a BA in Product Design followed by an MA in Industrial Design, completed in January 2008.
During my Master’s degree I developed a special interest in health-related issues, which led to a project targeting the rapidly increasing problem of obesity. The resulting game-based design promotes social interaction and encourages physical activity within a family or community, through friendly competition.
This MA project has subsequently formed the basis of my PhD which focuses on modifying people’s behaviour through aspects of play. Concentrating on physical activity to tackle the problem of obesity, the aims of this research fit within User Centred Healthcare Design (UCHD) in terms of using a participatory approach to understand users and explore ways to engage them and get them to willingly modify their behaviour.
The Art and Design Research Centre has a strong focus on merging the disciplines of Health and Design and being part of the Lab4Living (product design) as well as UCHD (service design) is a great opportunity for me to develop my knowledge and expertise in both disciplines. Design practice has a lot to bring to health as this emerging discipline develops a language through the making of objects. Designing becomes a good way to synthesise all the knowledge gained previously and to bridge the gap that can exist between the theoretical and the practical aspect.
I am therefore very interested in pursuing research in health through design processes and tools. More research may be needed by the end of my PhD to find out whether my work has led to behaviour change and also whether it has any impacts on the health of the end-users. However, it would also be interesting to explore how this knowledge acquired can be transferable to other behaviour change agendas, such as recycling and waste, smoking, safe sex, etc.