Keely Macarow – Designing my body into wellbeing

By November 26, 2017 No Comments

I have a plaster on my face that covers a wound from recent surgery for skin cancer. This is not the first time a surgeon has sutured my skin after removing a tumour from my epidermis. My initial experience with skin cancer in my late 20s inspired my ongoing fascination with the cultural construction of immune system disorders and public health. After spending many years examining health activism and artistic responses to HIV/AIDS and cancer, I sought engagement within medical settings and interdisciplinary collaborations with artists, designers, medical researchers and electronic engineers. My subsequent interest has been in using the creative arts and design as intervention and application in health care settings. Since 2005, I have collaborated with researchers across these diverse fields to create and measure artistic interventions in medical settings through especially designed sound interventions for patients in emergency departments and medicalised jewellery to assist patients and medical practitioners in crisis situations and with cardiology.

I am currently working with an interdisciplinary team of medical, design and dance researchers in Stockholm to investigate space and place in aged care and end of life care settings.

For this presentation, I will discuss how creating and designing artefacts and environments for wellbeing is informed by our lived experience of health and sensitivity to our own physicality and mortality. I suggest that it is by acknowledging our own corporeality within the research narrative that human centred design can inform and inspire creative interventions in health care initiatives and settings.

Deputy Head of School of Art, Research & Innovation RMIT University

Associate Professor Keely Macarow is Deputy Head, Research & Innovation, School of Art, RMIT University, Melbourne. Keely has worked as a creative producer, artist, curator and writer for film, video, performance and exhibition projects which have been presented in Australia, the UK, the US and Europe. Keely’s creative practice spans media, sound and visual arts, performance, curation and design. Her research is collaborative and focuses on social practice, health and wellbeing. She works with artists, designers, social scientists, housing activists, medical and engineering researchers to explore how art and design interventions and thinking can be applied to healthcare, political and housing settings and for public exhibition and performance. Keely views her research as a matter of social, spatial and health justice and is committed to developing new ideas, artefacts, tools and thinking for community benefits. Keely is currently working on interdisciplinary projects with art, choreography, design, housing and medical researchers based at RMIT University and the Karolinska Institutet, the University of the Arts Stockholm and Lund University (Sweden).

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