The School of Architecture, Design & Interiors was recently joined by Joanna Grace, a Sensory Engagement and Inclusion Specialist and founder of The Sensory Projects.
Joanna talked with students about how sensation communicates to us in ways more powerful than words. That effective sensory communication can make the environment more engaging and accessible to people with complex disabilities and neurological differences, as well as for those who are physically and cognitively typical.
She told students about the people she works on behalf of, those she collectively refers to as Sensory Beings. Joanna also shared that an understanding of how to make objects and environments accessible at a sensory level can enhance design and contribute to a more inclusive and connected society.
Meeting Joanna gave students a deep insight that informs a sensory project they have been set; to create an object that generates engagement and in so doing facilitates sensory conversation between a Sensory Being and a facilitator.
There are many resources available that a facilitator can use to engage a Sensory Being, but the facilitator might not find these resources engaging themselves. Students have been asked to design an object that engages both parties, or had a turn-taking element, and would be a great contribution to inclusion and connection.
Sustainable Product Design student, Jack Coker, was inspired by the session, "The sensory project is an amazing opportunity for me as a designer. It is great to be designing specifically for an audience who are so commonly overlooked. Joanna's talks on the senses and the chance to meet the children have been truly inspiring. I've taken a lot away from this already and am excited to see how the project pans out in the coming weeks."
Course Leader, Simon Andrews, was delighted to welcome Joanna back to Falmouth. She has been working in collaboration with the Sustainable Design Department for four years on Sensory Being projects. Her work with the University has been recognised nationally and internationally, last year receiving a national award in recognition of its meaningful co-design with people with profound disabilities.