- 16 March 2023
- 3 minutes
1. Britton Kroessler, MA Design Products
‘Living with neurodivergence has made me more aware of how I respond to mental and emotional hardship’ says Britton Kroessler. In times of crisis, the repetition of precision machining has become a meditative practice for him to restore mental balance. For one of his MA Design Products graduate projects, he decided to ‘reverse-engineer’ this process.
Working with other neurodivergent individuals, he developed a lexicon of sensory descriptors to define their own grounding rituals. And using this co-design process produced a selection of four objects that ‘aim to afford the mental and emotional qualities of their rituals translated to a more accessible and discrete context.’
2. Alice Kell, MA Visual Communication
“I see illustration as my toolkit to enact positive social change.”MA Visual Communication
Drawing on her own experience of learning with dyslexia, MA Visual Communication student Alice Kell guides our attention to the strengths dyslexic people have in thinking differently. Her practice involves workshops in schools, universities and institutions using visual language to encourage an understanding of dyslexic minds.
‘I see illustration as my toolkit to enact positive social change’ Alice explains. In a workshop with the Wellcome Collection for example, she used animated illustrations to show her experience of accessing the reading room as a dyslexic person. Focusing on the ways her mind worked differently and how academic spaces can exclude those with dyslexia.
‘The framework of the workshop was influenced by the book The Dyslexic Advantage. It uses the acronym MIND, which stands for Material, Interconnected, Narrative and Dynamic reasoning. This felt like a good framework for the workshop because it celebrated what dyslexic people do well.’
3. Nurominder Team, MA Service Design
Working in partnership with Barclays Bank, this MA Service Design team set out to make financial services more inclusive of neurodivergent people. Through insights gained from collaborative research, they set out to improve the experience of financial services for the 8 million neurodivergent individuals banking with Barclays.
They established a partner panel with experts in inclusive design from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and Diversity and Ability, an award-winning social enterprise. They identified two key issues for neurodivergent individuals: sensory overload and information processing.
Their pilot scheme proposed a two-part solution: 1. A semiotic-based design language using sight, sound, infographics, shapes and opacities to integrate into the Barclays design language. 2. A credit score service, called Nurominder, empowering users to proactively improve their credit score through daily tasks through multisensory communication.
By taking account of differing sensory needs, the inclusive scheme aims to make financial services work for those who think differently.
4. Nicole McIntosh, MA Architecture
“An opportunity for both neurotypical and divergent people to engage consciously.”MA Architecture
What makes space inaccessible or uncomfortable for neurodivergent people? Nicole McIntosh’s work for MA Architecture addresses the bias in our built environment toward neurotypical people, and lays out a new design model to make architectural spaces more accessible.
‘Being aware of the neurodivergent community’s adapted proxemics and the sheer amount of people that are not completely engaging with society, it is important to provide more inviting environments.’
Zoning for accessibility, treatments to reduce sound and vibrations, and consistent features to reduce excessive cognitive demand all find their way into Nicole’s current working model for ADS7: Convivial-ism. In developing her work, Nicole intends it to become ‘an opportunity for both neurotypical and divergent people to engage consciously.’
5. Monika Dolbniak, MA Textiles
‘Comfort means something else to everyone’ Monika Dolbniak explains. Her recent work with the RCA Neurodiverse Society involved collaborating with autistic and highly sensitive students to gather feedback informing how she can design for comfort more inclusively.
With the help of the society earlier this year, Monika set up ‘Sensory Storytelling Workshops’ to analyse participants' sensory preferences, and to find out what causes comfort or irritation in an object, space or material. At the workshop, participants used a multi-sensory symbol library to engage in activities like mind mapping, swatch making and drawing.
The outcome was a collage card showing the participant’s sensory profile. ‘For me, these sensory profiles work as business cards of the user’s sensory identity’ Monika explains. She is now working as part of MA Textiles on translating the data from the workshops into textiles to support individual sensory needs.
Disability support at the RCA
The RCA is committed to celebrating diversity and supporting and helping all of its students to reach their full potential. Comprehensive support exists for students with disabilities, and we encourage disabled students who will be studying at the College to contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss their requirements.
When we refer to the term disability we also include long-term medical or mental health conditions including eating disorders and specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia.
The Dyslexia Coordinator provides academic support for dyslexic and dyspraxic students. This includes: screening tests; strategy workshop sessions; individual tutorial help with dissertations for students who do not receive the Disabled Students Allowance; study skills and time management.
The RCA also employs a specialist Disability Adviser who offers confidential advice to enable students can make informed decisions about support opportunities that might assist them during their time at the RCA.
We can also offer assistance to students applying for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA).
Visit our Disability support page for more information.