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Having your cake and eating it too: Better living, for longer

Amy Stevenson

6 September 2019: Life expectancy rates are hitting record highs, with one in three children born in the West today expected to live to be 100; by 2066, one in two children will reach the milestone.

And as our society adapts to the increase in life expectancy, researchers at the University of Canberra are collaborating with international research partners and industry-leading professionals to find new ways we can live well, for longer.

This month, Dr Fanke Peng, Discipline Lead - Master of Design Strategies from the Faculty of Arts and Design, and top Australian-based international design consultancy ThinkPlace, will come together for the Living Longer, Living Well symposium, which aims to re-think the way we design products and services.

The event will welcome special guest Dr Claire Craig, Reader in Design and Creative Practice in Health at Sheffield Hallam University and her colleague Helen Fisher, after Dr Peng received the 2019 Distinguished International Visitor grant from the University Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) in early 2019.

Dr Craig is co-director of the design led interdisciplinary research group Lab4Living at Sheffield Hallam recently. Claire recently led a grant with her colleague Professor Paul Chamberlain which resulted in a prestigious £4 million pound grant from Research England to build a body of research exploring the 100 Year Life and the Future Home. 

The workshop will take place next week.

The 2019 grant-winning design research project is called The 100 Year Life, and aims to open up an exciting space and potential for the emergence of demand for new products, alternative housing models and possibilities for the development of new markets as well as a radical re-think of where and how services are delivered.

“There are many synergies between the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, Lab4Living and ThinkPlace. The Living Longer, Living Well event will bring multidisciplinary delegates together to encourage conversation and generate potential collaborative projects in the context of design, health and wellbeing,” said Dr Peng.

Meanwhile Dr Craig added she is excited to arrive in Canberra and work with Dr Peng and ThinkPlace.

''We are so looking forward to working with Fanke, the leading Australian academic in interdisciplinary design for improving health outcomes, and her team. This collaboration offers an exceptional opportunity to continue to advance and develop design research practice in health and wellbeing. It will be so exciting to explore ways we can work together now and, in the future,” she said.

At this event, collaboration is key in finding new and improved ways to live well, and preparation for the workshop has seen talented strategic designer Wai Ko from ThinkPlace make visual maps based on the discussion of the event.

The chance to collaborate with industry-leading researchers is a prospect which is exciting for those at ThinkPlace.

"I am so excited to be exploring the concept of the 100 Year Life with leading academics like Claire and Fanke,” said Cybelle Ledez, Senior Executive Designer, Healthy Societies Sector Lead, at ThinkPlace.

“We understand that one discipline cannot tackle this space alone. Working across disciplines is key to reframing our thinking about how we might explore more creative and innovative approaches to designing our systems, structures, policies and services to enable us to live well on our pathway to living longer."

"The idea of this event is to bring together policy, academia and design expertise in one place to explore opportunities to collaborate and design better policies, systems, products and services to better meet the needs of our ageing population. We have no doubt that Dr Craig’s enthusiasm and expertise will spark some really interesting conversations and hopefully some innovative ideas to pursue afterwards,” added Susan Atkinson, Senior Executive Designer, Strategic Communication, ThinkPlace.

University of Canberra students with an interest in health or design are invited to join Dr Peng and Dr Craig at ThinkPlace’s Barton studio on 11 September 2019, for the sector-leading event to innovate the future of Australia's ageing population.

To find out more about the event and register to attend, visit here.