A conversation between design and intimate partner violence
This PhD offers a critical engagement with design implications in the social structures that produce gender oppression and how design too might challenge these. The research explores this by focusing on intimate partner violence (IPV). IPV is the most common form of gender-based violence and includes all forms of violence and abuse experienced in private spaces (but not exclusively) in people’s households and from someone known to them. Applying design to IPV could help bring awareness of the issue, support recovery after experiencing abuse and more. However, when designing within these contexts, designers must account for the structural conditions of users' lives, as they may have safety, accountability, and political implications. Given this is a deeply complex context with no "one solution", what might we learn about design through developing a dialogue between design and intimate partner violence?
This research aims to develop a deeper understanding of the stakes and conditions of design working in this area. To do this, the doctoral study will be engaging with the practice-based knowledge of designers in the field of IPV, exploring who is behind the designs, how they are implementing/changing design practices, and what engagement looks like in their contexts. This research is interested in exploring what design engaging structurally in IPV looks like.
More about Rute
Rute Fiadeiro is a design researcher and product design engineer interested in designs application and engagement in complex topics such as gender, violence, and disasters.
Rute graduated from Brunel University London with a BSc (Hons) in Product Design Engineering. During her time at Brunel, she took part in a Brunel funded volunteer programme in Indonesia where halfway through an earthquake occurred in Lombok (2018). In response, the programme team redirected their efforts to developing a mutual aid group to support the disaster response. This experience coupled with the development of her undergraduate project, ReCleft (a reusable cleft palate training simulator for low-resource countries), led to her interest in understanding further the role of design in humanitarian contexts, which later on focused on the gender dimension during her MRes at the RCA.
Since the beginning of her studies at the RCA, Rute has been actively interested in developing a feminist research and practice towards her work.
MRes Design Pathway, Royal College of Art, 2020
BSc (Hons) Product Design Engineering with Professional Practice, Brunel University London, 2019
Research Assistant, Queen Mary University of London, 2021
Research Assistant, Royal College of Art, 2020
In-House Designer, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, 2017-2018
Brunel University London Vice Chancellor Award for Students, 2019
Awards for ReCleft:
Patent Granted, 2021
Healthcare Student Grant Award, 3D Hubs, 2019
Commended for Excellence for Design in Consumer Health, Cambridge Consultants, 2019
Finalist, Young Designer of the Year, Plastic Industry Awards, 2019
Best in Healthcare and Wellbeing, MadeinBrunel, 2019
South Korean Gwangju Design Biennale, 2019
New Designers, 2019
Fiadeiro, R., Stevens, J. and Bichard, J.A., 2023. Structures Surrounding the ‘User’ in User Engagement: Gender-based Violence Design Engagements. Diseña, (22), pp.2-2.
Ferrarello, L., Fiadeiro, R., Mazzon, R. and Cavallaro, A., 2022. Reframing the narrative of privacy through system-thinking design. DRS2022: Bilbao, 2022, pp.1-18.
Ferrarello, L., Fiadeiro, R., Hall, A., Galdon, F., Anderson, P., Grinyer, C., Lee, C. and Stevens, J., 2021. Learning remotely through diversity and social awareness. Engaging with Challenges in Design Education.