Dissertation Reflection

Dissertation Reflection

Design as Medicine- A Study which Investigates the Relationships Humans have with their Surroundings.

This dissertation was set out to show the importance of Interior Design, and how it used correctly could solve a current problem, Mental Health. Possibly dis-prove some opinions of Interior Design which suggest that it is just ‘making things look nice’. The writing covered a wide range of topics such as design in different environments, interior and exterior, Mental health, Social Media, Psychological impact of environments and then the building of and response from an installation which was built to invoke feeling based off the immediate change of design.

Academic writing is not my strong point, considering this I feel that I have explored this concept of Design working as Medicine for mental health issues and portraying the wider perspective that design invokes feeling, well. I have been able to bring a topic which I feel very passionately about to life and show the immediate response of people experiencing certain feeling because of design through my installation. Building the installation was the most exciting part for me; building an environment that people can physically experience and hopefully enjoy.

The secondary I research I conducted throughout the writing was the part of my writing I was very worried about. I started reading very early on, however I made the mistake of reading book that had been published by authors rather than academic paper on the subject that had been peer- reviewed. This had led to some mistake in my writing, if I had been reading academic papers early on, I feel that my writing would have developed further and I would not have to of found academic texts as late as I did. This was through fault of my own, reading the publications I began with was also beneficial as I gathered an understanding of the direction of my dissertation, and what I wanted to include.

I felt that I should have focused on specific authors throughout my writing, I explored a range of different people who are all experts in their own field, this was because of the nature of my dissertation being so varied and exploring so many different environments. Although this has helped to support all different areas of my dissertation, I don’t feel as if I explored one author or publication to the extent that I should have. More involved research into one author could have led to a more in- depth understanding of a subject area. This will be something that I will develop in my future research.

Through writing I have developed skills which I never thought I would have. My academic writing has developed and I have been able to confidently submit my dissertation. I have also research in depth different authors, and subject areas using academic databases such as MetSearch through Cardiff Metropolitan University and other sites such as Google Scholar. This has encouraged me to keep researching and develop my ideas further through academic studies.

The dissertation felt quite general, showing that spaces invoke feeling involved talking about a wide range of environments. Possibly focusing on one environment and how it impacts the users would have been more successful and drawn a more specific conclusion. Focusing on one environment also would have allowed me to find expects in that field and gather a more cohesive understanding of the impact that design can have on an individual.

Building the installation to gather direct feedback from the users of the space was set out to achieve an understanding of the immediate change in design would affect how they work in the space. Although the questionnaire allowed me to see this to an extent, I feel this would have been better achieve through a study group who filled out a questionnaire on the room previous to the installation and then again whilst the installation was in place. This could still remain anonymous to an extent and would have gathered a more cohesive answer to if the installation invoked feeling. This would have also insured more responses to the questionnaire as a struggle throughout the installation was gathering responses from people using the room, and I ended the study with only eleven responses, a wider audience response would have drawn a more accurate conclusion.

The installation led to other problems, the materials involved in the design were delicate and had to be semi- permanent without damaging the existing room. I had put signs all over the room to be careful of the installation and warning those using the room not to touch the wool that was stretching from ceiling to floor. However, at some point during the period the installation existed, there were large groups of people in the room and when moving around pulled some strings of yarn down. I had to be available to go into the university where the installation was every day, so that I could fix the problems as they occurred, so it would not affect the outcome of the questionnaires. The installation is very adaptable and could be altered to fit into a range of environments, however will have to be made more structurally sound so that it could withhold some interaction.

Writing this dissertation has encouraged my passion for design, I want to carry on my research through higher education. I believe that this will take my research to the next level, where I can narrow my research into one area of design focusing on how this space invokes feeling and continuing to build installations and environments for experience throughout my research. I am unsure of the specifics of what direction I will take my research into; however, I am excited to see where I can take it. Short term I will continue to allow how individuals feel in the spaces I design to drive the projects I am a part of, I believe this will lead to the best possible outcome for people who inhabit my future designs.

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