Media Release: Design researchers from across the globe head to Forres for wellbeing conference


AN inaugural design research conference taking place in Forres next week has attracted academics from across the world it was revealed today.

Delegates will be coming from Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Singapore and Australia as well as across the UK.

Wellbeing by Design is hosted jointly by The Glasgow School of Art’s Institute of Design Innovation (InDI) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

It builds on InDI’s research in the field of wellbeing and the role of design in a flourishing Scotland. Delegates will present their research, which explores issues including social isolation and loneliness, health inequalities, connectivity in remote and rural regions, and fragile communities.

The conference brings together practitioners and researchers from Masters, Doctoral and Post-doctoral communities whose shared interests and research use design approaches to support communities to live well.

It also aims to support peer to peer learning across Postgraduate taught degrees, Doctoral degrees and beyond, as well as offering mentoring and guidance between the levels of study and work.

Wellbeing by Design is led by Marianne McAra, a PhD student in her second year at The Glasgow School of Art.

Speaking about her aspirations for the conference, Marianne says: “I presented at my first international conference as a Master student in 2013. I gained great experience and I remember how it felt to be part of a major event.

“We want Wellbeing by Design to provide an intimate, supportive and informal forum for design students and early career practitioners and researchers to connect and inspire each other.

“We want to offer a platform where we can work together to solve our challenges and celebrate our successes.”

Joe Lockwood, director of InDI, said: “We are delighted to host this inaugural conference, which brings an international academic community together here in Forres and to hold evolving conversations around design approaches in the area of wellbeing.”

Andrew Anderson, head of Partnerships, HIE Moray, said: “HIE and GSA have formed the Creative Futures Partnership, which is already bringing benefits to both organisations and the communities in which we work. This conference, which has attracted international attention, demonstrates perfectly the innovative approach promoted by the partnership.”

Wellbeing by Design takes place from 7 – 9 September 2015 at the GSA’s Institute of Design Innovation, Forres, Morayshire, with Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, head of the School of Design and director of GSA’s Creative Campus Highlands and Islands, and Professor Ken Neil, head of Research at GSA, giving keynote presentations.


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