AI for inclusive workshop participation

In collaboration with Dr Roger Whitham I helped bring together an uplifting and also emotional workshop that engaged with a group of people living with early onset dementia. This was part of Dr Jennifer MacRitchie’s Music Mind fellowship project, with additional support from Research England’s participatory research initiative as well as from my own Design Research Works fellowship.

We developed a prototype to make AI image generation easily accessible. Our focus was to help people who may struggle to articulate themselves verbally to visualise and discuss their ideas, in this case to help envision designs for musical instruments.

Working with the group we managed to create a whole range of weird, wonderful and inspiring musical instrument designs.

It was a really rewarding experience, and it seems like there’s lots of potential to use AI like this. In this case the AI is not an end in itself, but a key part of an engaging and inclusive ideation process.

This project is an evolution of the technology that was developed for Shadowplay. It’s an interesting example of the reflexive and iterative characteristic of Design Research can facilitate quirky art projects to lead to much more focused and applied outcomes.

Written by

Dr Joseph Lindley

Joe leads Design Research Works and is a Senior Research Fellow at Lancaster University. He is passionate about the value of Design Research, in particular in applying that value to the challenges associated with emerging technologies, rapid societal change, and living sustainably. Probably best described as a 'generalist' his research practice usually involves material engagements with possible futures.