Design4Health2020 proceedings published

Design4Health has published its biggest set of official proceedings yet. The Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Design4Health, Amsterdam, 2020 are now available in four volumes at

When the Design4Health2020 conference organising committee collectively chose ‘The Future is Now!’ as the theme for the 2020 conference we had not anticipated a future shaped by the emergence and ensuing devastation of COVID-19.

This would have been the sixth Design4Health Conference. In January 2020, plans were well underway with Sabine Wildevuur and colleagues at DesignLab University Twente, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA), Waag|society&technology’s Care Lab in The Netherlands, hosts of the event and the Lab4Living team. With over 300 submissions from 30 countries, this would have been our largest conference yet.

However, just a few weeks after a successful review day in Amsterdam, and decision letters being sent out to those who had submitted, it quickly became clear that a physical conference involving participants from across the world would not be possible; we made the difficult decision to cancel.

Nevertheless the organising team invited those with accepted abstracts to submit full papers, which would be reviewed and published in online proceedings. Editor Kirsty Christer said:

We felt it was still important that our community had the opportunity to share the work they would have been presenting, but we really did not know what to expect – we have all had to adapt to new ways of working and, for many of us, changing priorities. The result is our biggest set of proceedings in the 9 year history of the conference! We have 92 full papers and 24 abstracts across four volumes.

The proceedings are edited by Kirsty Christer, Prof Claire Craig & Prof Paul Chamberlain.

The papers are an exceptional testament to the Design4Health community. Whilst many do not reference COVID-19 directly, the research themes they interrogate and their exploration of the role of design in creating solutions to societal health challenges are exceptionally relevant.

In the foreword to the proceedings, the editors note:

As we move forwards, we recognise the importance of continuing to create opportunities where researchers are able to transcend their own disciplines, to share research and create new intellectual spaces and paradigms. We feel confident that in these extraordinary and unprecedented times the Design4Health community is well placed to make a difference.

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