Exploring Participants’ Representations and Shifting Sensitivities in a Hackathon for Dementia

James Hodge, Sarah Foley, Dan Lambton-Howard, Laura Booi, Kyle Montague, Sandra Coulter, David Kirk, Kellie Morrissey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent HCI research has addressed emerging approaches for public engagement. One such public-facing method which has gained popularity over the previous decade have been open design events, or hackathons. In this paper we report on DemVR, a hackathon event that invited designers, technologists, and students of these disciplines to design Virtual Reality (VR) environments for people with dementia and their care partners. While our event gained reasonable attraction from designers and developers, this paper unpacks the challenges in representing and involving people with dementia in these events, which had multiple knock-on effects on participant's outputs. Our analysis presents insights into participants’ motivations, challenges participants faced when constructing their ‘absent user’, and the design features teams developed to address the social context of the user. We conclude the paper by proposing a set of commitments for collaborative design events, community building through design, and reification in design.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Early online date29 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2022


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