Uniting Nations through Art & Design Health Research: New People, Possibilities and PhDs at Lab4Living

Peter Kaisu Michael

The events of 2020 have irrevocably changed our perception of life at home, work, and in recreation. Despite the current restrictions on how we now live, Lab4Living at Sheffield Hallam University has nonetheless continued to expand its reach on the global stage.

Following successful funding via a £4m Research England-funded E3 programme awarded to Lab4Living, and directed by world-renowned Professors Paul Chamberlain and Claire Craig, this new initiative seeks nothing less than to provide creative solutions to support and expand the promise of a healthy, happy and dignified 100-year life, while also asking how might we inclusively inhabit the future home and at all stages of life – from conception until death. Answering these questions in the face a worldwide pandemic clearly demands global solutions to changing local conditions, wherever we live.

In keeping with this ethos, Lab4Living recently recruited three new international faculty via its E3 programme, each of whom joined the lab in 2020. These new faculty are Professor Peter Lloyd Jones (a British design and biomedical scientist from Philadelphia), Associate Professor Kaisu Koski (a Finnish cross-disciplinary artist and humanities scholar from Utrecht) and Associate Professor Michael Tan (a UK trained artist/design researcher for health from Singapore).

Peter Lloyd Jones

Peter Lloyd Jones

More specifically, Peter is a studio scientist who trained at the University of Cambridge, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Toronto. His trans-disciplinary research actively seeks to solve complex health and societal problems via extreme collaborations across broad knowledge domains.

Kaisu is a cross-disciplinary artist and humanities scholar who collaborates with scientists, clinicians, and engineers. Her work explores forms of empathy, simulation, and human-machine relationships. She has developed films for medical curricula on topics such as vaccine-hesitancy and breaking bad news.

Kaisu Koski

Kaisu Koski. Image courtesy of the artist.

Michael’s research interest explores the role of creative practice in shaping the culture of care in various care settings and the wider context of medical / health humanities and health communication.
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He is a passionate advocate for arts and health in Singapore and has led efforts to engage stakeholders in exploring its possibilities.

“Each of us is honoured and thrilled to have joined a truly remarkable team of internationally-renowned colleagues, researchers and new collaborators at SHU and beyond through the unique and distinctive entity that Lab4Living represents.” Peter Lloyd Jones

“While the pandemic is a challenging time for starting a new position and relocating internationally, it has also brought our team closer in a way that would have taken much longer otherwise – the power of shared humanity and being in the same boat.” Kaisu Koski

Together, and working across three different time zones, this new international team is currently developing multiple exciting collaborative projects encompassing art and design, humanities, science, medicine, and technology, as well as co-contributing to the next phase of programme development for PhD scholars studying at Lab4Living, many of whom focus on the 100-year life and the future home.

This development adds to the existing international cohort of eight students who are supported at the Lab since September 2019 by the E3 programme; under the auspices of the SHU doctoral programme in Fine Art and Design. Specifically, three additional PhD studentships, which will be directed by Peter, Kaisu and Michael, have recently been announced as part of Lab4Living research expansion.

“I’m not only looking forward to collaborating with new colleagues to advance interdisciplinary researcher training, but also to develop new co-creative models for research supervision in creative practices.” Kaisu Koski

The team is looking to connect with individuals with creative practice background, who are interested in interdisciplinary collaboration, and have a bold imagination about how art and design may shape or interrogate what we mean by care and human dignity, and how to respond to the changing needs of society at local, national and global levels.

“Imagination seeds change and can make a difference to the lives of others. If you share a belief that change is possible through your thinking, words and action, we’d love to imagine new possibilities with you!” Michael Tan

Full details of the studentships, as well as information on eligibility, funding and the application process may be found here.

PhD Studentship details

Future-Proofing Life: Exploring Extreme Collaborations between Art, Design and Scientific Research – contact Peter Jones

Creative Coding in Developing Arts-based Prototypes for Affective Health Technology – contact Kaisu Koski

Creative Inquiry in the Future of Care – contact Michael Tan

About the researchers:

Peter Lloyd Jones

In 2013, Peter became the inaugural Associate Dean of Design in Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where he simultaneously founded MEDstudio; the first design school of its type established at a US medical academy. Before that, Peter was a tenured Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Lecturer in Architecture at The University of Pennsylvania, where he co-founded the Sabin+Jones LabStudio, a design research unit between architecture and biology. Peter is author of more than 180 manuscripts, proceedings, commentaries and books/chapters. His work and collaborations have been shown and collected internationally, notably at MIT, Siggraph, Acadia, Ars Electronica, The MAK Center L.A and the V&A in London. In 2016, Peter was inaugurated into the US National Academy of Inventors for contributions towards biomedical science.

Kaisu Koski

Between 2015-2021, Kaisu was invited to participate in a multi-year, interdisciplinary, collaborative research-creation project <Immune Nations>, which culminated a high-profile exhibition at the United Nations during the 2017 World Health Assembly. Kaisu’s work has been exhibited and performed in multiple gallery shows and festivals. These venues include Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt, Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Estonian Museum of Applied Arts, Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in Korea, and Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam. She has also received numerous grants and awards for her scholarly work, including organizations such as the Academy of Finland, and the Portuguese National Science Foundation.

Michael Tan

Prior to joining Lab4Living, Michael was an Assistant Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He was awarded the Nanyang Award for Excellence in Teaching by NTU for his excellent teaching performance. As a leading advocate for arts & design for health development in Singapore, he has led efforts to engage stakeholders in the arts, design, health and social care sector to explore the potential of arts and design to improve experiences, services, and products related to health and wellbeing. His ongoing collaborations include: The A-health Project (McGill University- Nanyang Technological University); Art in Dermatology Education (Duke-NUS). He and his team recently launched the artshealthrepository.sg the first online database charting arts and health development in Singapore.