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Design for Wellbeing: Exploration of How Can Blind and Visually Impaired People Be Included in Art Museum

Unfairness and exclusions in service systems do not seem to have diminished as the expanded influence of Service Design (SD). Does this confirm some scholars’ misgivings and criticism towards SD’s lack of awareness on inclusion? In this case, SD urgently needs help from Inclusive Design (ID). However, scarce guidance of the integration of these two domains lands service designers in a predicament. As such, a new research field named Inclusive Service Design (ISD) has emerged, and it is perceived as valued to both social and economic perspectives. As it remains in its initial stage, the knowledge and methods are utterly inadequate, meaning more studies embedded into the real-world are necessary.

The chasm that needs to be bridged between art museums and visitors with vision impairment resonates with the value of ISD. Those who lost vision are excluded from enjoying art museums, while such service exclusion is contrary to art museums’ mission in terms of education, social justice and public service as well as the objective of the new museology. Making change is pressing at this moment, since inequities were exposed due to the COVID-19, social resilience becomes imperative. This provides ISD a growth opportunity as well as opens up the new investigation area for SD. It is particularly significant to be discussed in the context of China. This is not only because of its potential social and economic impacts, but also as ISD may play up greater potential in developing worlds with more restrictions.

Thus, a practice-based research approach will be adopted of this PhD, aiming to develop the egalitarian service system for enhancing wellbeing, developing the knowledge and methods of ISD, and using this to learn reasons for the service exclusion. In this way, reasonable insights will be developed to support the transformation of art museums from a service designer perspective, while making proposals for service designers' ID activities, so as to address the gaps.


More about Muyao

Muyao is a researcher, designer, and educator. Her research interests cover: Service Design, Inclusive Design, Multi/Inter-disciplinary Studies, Design Anthropology, Vision Impairment and Disability Studies, Museum and Museology.

Muyao is passionate about all themes that can promote the progress of the society, aiming to make a positive impact on individuals' wellbeing through using Service Design and Inclusive Design methodologies as tools. Her current research focuses on the integration of Service Design and Inclusive Design, as well as service exclusions related to people with blindness or vision impairment.