Dovetails: Personhood, Citizenship, and Craft between Children and Older Adults

Henry Collingham*, Jayne Wallace, Jill Brewster, Rickard Whittingham, Sebastian Prost, Justin Marshall, Michelle Kindleysides, Will Benson

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper presents Dovetails, an intergenerational co-creative participatory design project, and explored ways of working with recipients of care through Craft methods leveraging reciprocity to support wellbeing and Citizenship. Working alongside older adults from Beamish Museum’s wellbeing community and a children’s charity, researchers supported the two participating groups to design and make ambitious, novel artefacts for one another using woodwork. Each group learned new skills and sought to improve the lives of the other group’s members through making. We came to understand the artefacts created as material embodiments of care and we present transferable insight for future study design to encourage reciprocity through Craft. We contribute new nuanced understandings of Personhood and Citizenship in this context.
Participants reported pride in their achievements, confounding expectations, raising ambitions, and reframing their understanding of their own wellbeing, for example in the context of dementia diagnosis. Dovetails bore meaningful benefits for individual participants and the groups themselves, beyond the timescale of our engagement, as they formed ongoing allegiances. We discuss framing design research through a ‘Craft Lens’, as a multi-faceted way to explore creative engagements, which enriched our understanding of making, and gift-giving to support Personhood through Social Citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalDesign for Health
Early online date2 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2024

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