Design and the Mind Engaging and Collaborative Workshops for the Neurodiverse

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2018;256:223-235.


This project seeks to reframe notions and approaches for engagement with neurodiverse groups and individuals using a developed design suite of functioning and dynamic tools and methods underpinned by inclusive principled guidelines which will be used by The Wellcome Collection Hub, the wider organisation and Hub partners to improve inclusion and accessibility. These orthodoxies will aid the reframing of neurodiverse inclusive museum focused interactions and co-creation at the Wellcome Collection Hub. The project, has been undertaken in partnership with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art and the Wellcome Collection. Museums are re-considering the future of their offerings in its current format, reach and relevance to today's and tomorrow's society where it has become a shifting landscape moving towards multiple modes and alternative interactions with museum based artefacts and content. With an inclusive design approach which centres non-typical visitors, their experiences and requirements, a positive impact can be better obtained and extended engagement fostered, facilitated and enabled to flourish. This study aims to outline some of the approaches undertaken during the study with insights from relevant experts in the field and target group particularly in respect of non-typical reasons for differentiation, requirements and the rainbow of intelligences [27]. The aim will be to additionally demystify and explain how inclusive engagement approaches centre on non-typical visitors and their experiences, which in turn can have a positive impact on The Wellcome Collection Hub community and relevant stakeholders. This approach helps to further the progress of integrating the neurodiversity paradigm and barriers approach when scaffolding engagement and offerings for non-typical and neurodivergent individuals and groups, through encouraging organisational change and a demystifying of neurodivergent centred engagement and co-creation methods; resulting in a reframing of perspectives around integrated offerings, triangulating approaches in neurodiverse spaces for broader audiences. This may include the shifting of outputs and offerings from those of well-intentioned cautious 'accessibility' to one of ambition, inclusivity and achievability. A central goal of Design and The Mind (DTM) is to demystify the invisible barriers and issues surrounding cognitive, physical, digital access and engagement with the Hub and its resources; this approach formed an integral and positive part of the design process, through spotlighting opportunities for innovation. This paper highlights the most salient observations of a live research project. With a duration of 1 year, commencing in October 2017 and concluding in October 2018 is this project will run parallel to the Wellcome Collection Hub's work but will also be a distinct and separate body of research.

Keywords: Neurodiversity; co-creation; co-design; engagement; inclusive design; neurodivergent; non-typical.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Disabled Persons
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Museums
  • Social Behavior*