Reflection + Discussion
After discussing a variety of my ideas with my peers and Jacquie, I gained insight into how to approach my project. The culmination of my research throughout the semester resulted in giving me a range of options to explore within the topic of mental health.
I was initially interested in the issue of funding for eating disorders in Australia. This intrigue was sparked after having read the academic articles in blogpost two. The central issue around which these articles was centred was the issue of not meeting a certain weight/BMI criteria thus falling short of being diagnosed with anorexia. However, the rigidity of these factual articles did not speak to me as much as the articles I had been researching conveying personal experiences and those which invoked these experiences through visual imagery.
What interested me most was the public perception of an eating disorder. Often through my research I would discover that the sufferers from the illness often felt judged and as if the public did not understand that a) they were even suffering from an eating disorder or b) did not understand the severity/nor cause of the disorder. I thought it was important to base my design on a personal approach, as sterile and more factual approaches are harder to connect with and usually a bit dry.
After speaking to Jacquie about two of my proposals she said I needed to visualise them more. Essentially the underpinning was there as I have a clear idea of what I want to achieve with the issue I was planning to tackle. However I hadn’t really solved the problem. With my service design I was just planning on making an educational video. I realised that this was lack lustre as it didn’t connect on a personal level which I wanted my concept to achieve.
I then spoke to Georg in the next tutorial explaining both my ideas. She said that the generative idea design was more solved than the service design.
Project title: I have ___ BECAUSE
(work in progress)
Eating disorders are often widely misinterpreted and commonly not recognised as mental illnesses. The public focuses on only the most commonly known one such as anorexia (and perceives them to be suffering,) whereas eating disorders such as EDNOS or Binge Eating often are unrecognised due to the fact there is no physical manifestation or at least not quite as obvious as with anorexia. The degree of severity that the public accords to and treats people with suffering with eating disorders is often skewed by arbitrary criteria and biased assumptions and too often this attitude and judgment is not based on proper information.
In conjunction with this, negative perceptions are also associated with eating disorders such as they are just a stroke of vanity or a ‘fad’ which suggests that they are not in fact a genuine mental illness thus diminishing the disorder and the sufferers by minimising the condition.
The possible change:
Essentially I want to spread awareness about the root cause of eating disorders, and that these root causes differ in each individual. I also want to show that there are a range of eating disorders all with serious health consequences. Despite the less visible physical manifestation of a Binge Eating disorder it can be just as dangerous as anorexia.
My aim is to overturn assumptions or popular misconceptions that cause an eating disorder irrespective of the form or manifestation of that disorder.
The Design action to support change:
My generative design takes form in that of an interactive website. Essentially I want users to submit their thoughts if they are struggling with an eating disorder. The website will have parts of the screen where you click and it leads you to a trail of assumptions about an eating disorder leading in the words such as “I have an eating disorder because…I’m Vain” as an example. After clicking through a minefield of assumptions such as the example above, a statement will appear in a contrasting/colour/font that states the actual reason for a person struggling with an eating disorder.