Design and art therapy: how design can be a professional and emotional outlet for people at risk of social exclusion
13 Jan 2021 /

Design and art therapy: how design can be a professional and emotional outlet for people at risk of social exclusion

It is always said that design – good design – improves people’s lives. And that it can also improve the lives of people at risk of social exclusion, help their integration, or even their personal well-being. In this project, design goes hand in hand with art therapy, a discipline that trains professionals so that they can accompany people experiencing difficulties in social, educational or health areas, as they develop through creativity. The objective of “Lo por Venir” (“What is to Come”) is to combine the experience of design professionals and art therapists in a co-creation project aimed at social inclusion, providing them with joint training and putting their experience with work groups into practice in a project on which Valencia, World Design Capital 2022, has been collaborating with IDECART since last July.

“Diversity, inclusion, cooperation and awareness-raising are the main pillars of this project that seeks to bring together design professionals and art therapists in a common goal: to facilitate a co-design experience with groups at risk of social exclusion that will allow them, thanks to their experience of design and art therapy, to generate objects, products or campaigns that share a common commercial outlet, helping to improve the quality of life of users”, Ana Hernández, founding member of IDECART, tells us.

“With these people, what we want to do is activate a creative process that will allow them to materialise, make visible and demonstrate the capacity of social design and co-creation in dynamics that can also benefit them in their personal growth and well-being”, Ana goes on to say.

To this end, last September – thanks to a scholarship from Valencia World Design Capital 2022 – a group of ten design professionals began specific training to learn how to work with groups at risk of social exclusion, under the guiding hands of María Montero-Ríos, Xavier Giner and María Colomer. In turn, eight art therapists were also selected to form joint teams and to begin giving workshops as of February 2021.

“The design professionals and art therapists were selected on account of their ties to and interest in social design, and they are currently sharing a space for reflection and rapprochement between these two disciplines of art therapy and design for co-creation”, Ana explains.

The objective is to generate proposals that will allow these groups to have continuity, not just from now until 2022, but with a long-lasting vision of the project. And along the way, to be able to show society the collective development projects that have favoured the social inclusion of these people.

To this end, IDECART is already in conversations with associations and organisations such as Koopera, the Nova Terra Foundation, Fent Mental Health or the Adsis Foundation’s Taleia Centre, with whom they will begin the 30 workshops that they intend holding throughout 2021, in which they will work on both graphic and product design, using materials and processes that will help them uncover the creative potential of these collectives. Groups of between 8 and 10 users will be accompanied by two art therapists and two design professionals who will produce specialised products and campaigns. We expect to see the results of all this in 2022 in an exhibition that will allow us to take stock of the progress that these workshops have made and the results of this social inclusion project from the point of view of design and art therapy.

We want to activate a creative process that makes it possible to materialise, make visible and demonstrate the capacity of social design and co-creation.

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