Online Conference, 25-26 March 2021 | SDN Symposium
SDN Symposium
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10:30 - 12:30


The interdisciplinary project “Settings of Dying” (2020–2023) focuses on four perspectives: language, religion, care, and design. This research project is a cooperation between the Bern University of the Arts, Zurich University of the Arts and the Center for Palliative Care in the City Hospital Waid in Zurich. The research is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The workshop concept is based on two dissertation projects. The practice-oriented dissertation of Bitten Stetter investigates the material culture of end-of-life-spaces. The practice-oriented dissertation of Tina Braun focuses on the visual communication and communicative touch points of a patient's journey within palliative care. The goal of both projects is to improve the quality of life at the end-of-life phase, and to integrate the process of dying through better, more appealing communication and products that are appropriate for a vulnerable target group. The methods are navigating between the discipline of anthropology and design including field research, visual ethnography, and design interventions.

Workshop organizers


Participation is limited to 20. First come first serve basis.

The workshop focuses on research in action and the journey of chronically, seriously ill patients and their relatives. Areas of design, action, and communication are analyzed by real end-of-life-objects and materials which we encounter in everyday life. The workshop will take place in a real palliative care patient room. We (Bitten Stetter and Tina Braun) will perform and visualize the journey of patients and their relatives. Therefore we will interact in a small “lifeworld,” a 16-square-meter care room, by using “standard designed” and “new designed” communication tools and products. In order to give the workshop participants a deep insight into a Swiss-designed end-of-life-space, we will wear headphones and cameras.

With our research, we want to get a better insight into questions such as how design as a common good influences the quality of life, autonomy, and better communications. We are especially interested in questions on how care concepts must be redesigned for new care communities in times of demographical change and individualization. Our key question that will guide the participants through the whole workshop is: Can design as common good evoke new relations and access to end-of-life situations?

The workshop has three objectives:
Firstly, the staging is intended to create a change of perspective through the clash of different perspectives (medicine, care, design). Secondly, in the sense of a co-design, it is intended to reflect both on design spaces as common good and on establishing a dialogue with other design professionals or researchers working within the field of health and design on the prototypes (product and communication design) that are in development. Thirdly, the workshop should provide insights into the designer's research activities.

Conceptual framework of the workshop
With this new digital research-in-action-workshop we would like to explore new ways of knowledge transfer and knowledge generation. "Live" on stage, we would like to invite the audience into a room at the City Hospital Waid where we would give our participants the opportunity to get an insight into settings of dying within palliative care. Alternatively, in case we do not have access to the City Hospital due to Covid-19, we will set up a similar room with the same surroundings as in a palliative care institution.

The workshop is planned in three units:
Watch & Ask: The workshop participants will get an insight into the state of research by being shown research material, live and real. The virtual visitors of the workshop are invited to ask questions and to give instructions for action.

Analyze & Envision: In a short workshop-break, the participants will get the chance to virtually explore the materials in standard settings of dying, to find blind spots and develop their own questions and problems. The materials will be summarized in a PDF presentation or similar.

Reflect & Discuss: The design interventions, prototypes, and artefacts that we have developed so far will be discussed. The workshop participants will also get a chance to discuss their visions of settings of dying that they sketched, verbalized or researched in the Breakout-Session.

Timeline of the workshop
Phase 1 of the workshop (45 minutes)
We would stage our workshop with performative and interactive elements using Zoom as a tool for the presentation of our current research within the real setting.

Phase 2 of the workshop (45 minutes)
Within a 45-minute Breakout-Session, our workshop participants will get the chance to find blind spots and develop their own design statements, using Mural as a digital working space and discussing different research aspects of end-of-life-situations within groups of five researchers. One of us (Bitten Stetter or Tina Braun) will moderate these discussions.

While our workshop-participants are involved in the discussions, we will change the setting of the room with our new prototypes and design interventions.

15 minutes break

Phase 3 of the workshop (30 minutes)
After the Break-out sessions we want to discuss the results of the workshop participants and how the blind spots that they found could lead to new research questions within the field of health care design.

As a final discussion that sums up the workshop, we want to review with the workshop participants how the change of setting changes perspectives and the role of design as common good within palliative care.