December 8, 2023

Departing from the ordinary: The Good Health Design Symposium (D4HS), AUT, 6th December 2023

Departing from the ordinary: The Good Health Design Symposium (D4HS), AUT, 6th December 2023

The D4H Symposium, hosted by AUT’s Design for Health, focused on exploring collaborative efforts with communities to bring their solutions to life, placing a specific focus on empowering rangatahi as the leaders of the future. Recognising the role of mainstream providers in addressing the needs of the most underserved, the symposium called for a paradigm shift, emphasising the importance of giving space and time for rangatahi to lead in designing and implementing solutions. This approach required a reimagining of how 'health' and 'wellness' were conceptualised and addressed within contemporary practices and systems in Aotearoa. The symposium advocated for a people-centred, community-driven, co-produced approach underpinned by authentic partnerships to create meaningful and sustainable change.

Departing from the ordinary, this extraordinary event wove together concise yet impactful presentations with dynamic, hands-on creative activities, creating an immersive experience that transcended the boundaries of traditional conferences. The programme comprised succinct presentations complemented by hands-on creative activities to apply the theoretical insights from each speaker. These exercises deliberately encouraged introspective and attentive practises of participants, challenging entrenched preconceptions of what health design is and nurtured meaningful and impactful health dissemination thinking. The symposium was a call to action to begin a path of personal and professional development- an invitation to apply creative and often over-looked methods in disseminating health information to audiences. Attendees were encouraged to be not just passive recipients of information but active contributors to the innovative dialogue. Reflective and mindful practices became the cornerstone, challenging preconceptions and fostering a spirit of continuous improvement.

Whakauae Winter Student recipient Tomairangi Morgan presented alongside Whakauae researcher Tom Johnson on “Beyond the data: Rangatahi re-storying Māori health research”. They spoke about their collaboration on converting data from the Kia Puāwai project “Tō mātou kāinga, tō mātou ūkaipō: Whānau conceptions of home: supporting flourishing home environments”. In the presentation, Tom shared how Whakauae’s studentship program aimed to create more welcoming and resourced space in the academy in order to encourage rangatahi into Kaupapa Māori research. Tomairangi demonstrated her work, showcasing how she was able to skilfully weave creative writing into the interpretation of data from a study on Māori perceptions of home. Her innovative approach brought a unique and emotionally resonant dimension to the research findings, which are an innovative and uniquely Kaupapa Māori pūrākau-styled method of data dissemination. Tomairangi shared one of her moving stories “A mean feed” which was well received. Her work was also on show at the Good Health Design exhibit, where tauira of the Good Health Design program at Auckland University of Technology shared their health design innovations (included in the images above).  

The transdisciplinary design and research studio at AUT's School of Art + Design is dedicated to using design to empower, delight, and enrich lives in communities. Their primary focus is on how the design of products and services can positively influence health and wellbeing. The studio actively engages with clinical experts and researchers from diverse disciplines, fostering collaboration to generate and test unique solutions for healthcare challenges. Information on the course is available here:  

A huge thank you to Professor Steve Reay, Cassie Khoo, Jordan Tane, Kyani Utia, Jannisa Seck, Ivana Nakarada-Kordic and the other game-changing kaihoe of this inspiring symposium.

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