Type One Peers: A Reflection & Proposition

Post 10 by Lucy Allen

Peer feedback is such an integral part of the design process and allows for further development and discussion of an idea. When discussing my draft proposal with a classmate I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they had quite an in-depth knowledge about Type 1 Diabetes, not only from the perspective of understanding the disease but also the issues surrounding the topic. This really helped when discussing my proposal and meant that I received some fantastic feedback that has allowed me to develop my proposal soundly.

My partner really liked my devised process of generation, collection, and collation that would result in a final exhibition. We discussed that at the core of my proposal was the idea of connection, exploring how this connection could be fostered between people living with Type 1 Diabetes as well as wider society. It was suggested that to inspire these connections individuals could be given the opportunity to deliver their postcards themselves to the exhibition space. Not only would this provide people with the opportunity to meet each other in person but it would also humanise the issue and disease.

One issue I did face when discussing my proposal with my partner and tutor was that I was still struggling to articulate by issue and devised response in a way that it could be understood clearly. It was suggested that I attempt to narrow in on my target audience and issue so that my response is more targeted and specific. I’ve put a lot of work into trying to better refine my proposition so that my issue and generative practice are clearly linked and explained.

 

Revised Proposition:

When living with Type 1 Diabetes there is a ‘constant and tiring mental dialogue of trying to balance the un-balanceable, trying to do right not wrong and with you, the only listener.’ It is this constant cognitive battle that sufferers struggle to voice, particularly to those not living with the disease.

TOP (Type One Peers) is a generative practice and service project that aims to bring people living with Type 1 Diabetes together to talk about their chronic disease, not just in medical terms but in a social, every-day manner. The project seeks to engage sufferers in a process that will see them first visualise their individual cognitive struggles before coming together alongside other young people living with Type 1 Diabetes to discuss, support and share these struggles and stories.

A TOT package is mailed out to all registered NDSS (National Diabetes Service Scheme) individuals, containing a collection of A5 postcards. Each card requires a different response from the individual and are specifically tailored to engage and explore the mental and physical struggle of living with Type 1 Diabetes. The proposed draft postcards with their tasks and aims are shown below:

Card 1

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blood

Card 2

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letter

Card 3

img_9206holes

Card 4img_9207

statements

Card 5

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drawing

Depending on location and context, participants are then invited to either send back their completed postcards or bring them in themselves to a local workshop that will engage sufferers in curating and putting together an exhibition. The exhibition will ultimately be a  visualisation and exploration of Type 1 Diabetes that goes beyond stereotypes and the physical aspects of the disease but rather focusses on the mental and cognitive struggles that are so hard to voice and share for those living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Due to time, economic and distance boundaries there will also be an online exhibition that allows those who cannot physically be at the workshop and space to still engage and connect with fellow sufferers. By bringing together individuals throughout this experience it is hoped that it will empower them to share their stories and provide supporting for one another in a way that they may currently struggle to do.

The exhibition also provides an opportunity for those living with the disease to communicate and begin a discussion with the general public about how the cognitive demands of this disease can be better managed and understood. It is hope through this process that sufferers learn to express their cognitive battles with the disease more freely not only with their peers but others in their life. It’s also hoped that this struggle is recognised by the general public so that other support systems and networks arise.

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