The How-to Guide:


A how-to guide for engaging art and design students and people living in care homes in co-design through intergenerational storytelling.

Created by Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the Perspective Program is an intergenerational program that brings together design students with people living in care homes through storytelling activities and co-design. The program aims to create meaningful opportunities for connection and a setting to co-create publications that feature the life experiences and perspectives of people living in care.

We created this how-to guide to share the Perspectives Program globally, and invite art/design schools and care homes to adapt and run the Perspectives Program.

“I learned not only about them, but also about me — my skills, my life, and where I can go next.”

It’s always easier to dig out that reliable old studio-based project than think of ways for our students to engage with complex societal issues, but perhaps we have to be bolder and have conversations about how we introduce design students to complex issues and stop just making stuff.[1]

The intention of this guide is to discuss many of the challenges we faced, provide an academic framework or method story of how we embraced teaching and co-designing in long term care and give educators an entry point into this area, in the hope they’ll build on our experiences and discover their own methods.[2]

The guide starts with the Program Set-up & Getting Started section, which outlines things to consider prior to the implementation of the program. This may include connecting with care homes, logistical considerations, scheduling and recruitment details. It also defines the necessary steps to prepare people living in care homes and students before the start of the scheduled visits when participants meet for the first time. It concludes by touching on key themes and methodologies that inspired and influenced the development of Perspectives.

Written from the perspective of a third year Undergraduate Communication Design class, the Method Story & Breakdown of Visits section covers the three stages of the program, including pedagogical approaches and things to consider when working in the context of long-term care. Utilizing Emily Carr University as the main source of examples for this How to Guide, this section provides more detailed curricular suggestions that are relevant to a Communication Design program; however, we encourage users of the guide to adapt and modify based on the specific needs of their own communitie.

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