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Marleen van Bergeijk www.marleenvanbergeijk.com

Self Design Ateliers: young people and mental health

By 05-01-2023

One Week About The Social Design Lobby. Each day we feature one of the participants of the Social Design calendar, today ‘Self Design Ateliers’ by Marleen van Bergeijk.

“Performance pressure, stress, loneliness and the insidiously perfect online world are increasingly affecting young people’s mental health, especially after the pandemic. In ‘Self Design Ateliers’, together with MU Hybrid Art House and Parktheater Eindhoven, I brought young people and artists together to explore the inner world through art. The young people were challenged to step out of their heads and into their bodies. By involving them in the process as active makers, we learned together how creativity can contribute to mental resilience. As a designer, I translated the insights gained into the practice of education and youth aid.”

WINWIN consensus algorithm
Together with the young people, Nienke Huitinga explored how her work ‘WINWIN consensus algorithm’ could be used to engage in conversation about difficult designs in a different way. Nienke developed the WINWIN design in collaboration with James Bryan, it is an interactive experience where participants answer propositions anonymously from a hood. Inspired by the online world where algorithms tend to polarize, this algorithm actually brings people closer and closer together until there is consensus.

By letting young people discuss topics around being yourself or how you are perceived by another, they were able to talk about topics they don’t usually talk about in a different way.

Mental Park
Artist Emma Verhoeven built Mental Park from the experiences of young people. A map where different worlds are depicted that tell you something about your mental health. Are you on happiness or drifting towards depression, are you pursuing ‘the good life’ or are you stuck in work pressure? The Mental Park map came about after young people shared their feelings and images about these different places through speech and images. The recognisability proved binding and ‘visitors’ to Mental Park during the final session of ‘Self Design Ateliers’ could also recognise themselves there. Where you are in Mental Park thus became approachable to discuss.

The Social Design calendar can still be ordered via www.thesocialdesignlobby.com
The more people tear up, the better the position of social design!