DS 123: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023)

Year: 2023
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Gruyters, Maud; Dewit, Ivo; Van Ael, Kristel; Jacoby, Alexis
Series: E&PDE
Institution: University of Antwerp, Belgium
Section: Ethical, social and/or environmental issues in design and engineering, and their education
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.117
ISBN: 978-1-912254-19-4


According to an estimate by Children of Prisoners Europe, there are 2.1 million children in Europe with a parent in detention. Despite this alarming number, children of prisoners remain invisible to the general public. Children of Prisoners Europe describe a child with an incarcerated parent as a double victim. Beyond the loss of a parent, these children face stigmatization, trauma and stress. The effects of parental detention impact the emotional well-being, physical well-being and personal development of the child. Children with detained parents are innocent, but carry the sentence too, they are three times more likely of mental health problems, and five times more likely to end up in prison than other children. The impact of these children on society is underestimated. Scientific research shows that a good relationship between the child and the incarcerated parent results in less recidivism. So by supporting and guiding children with imprisoned parents, the number of prisoners will decrease in the long run, the mental health will increase, and the amount of recidivism will decrease because both children and parents are taken into account. However, designing for children in precarious social situations requires a specific approach. Unheard and unseen in a world made by adults for adults, they are reliant on their environment. The whole system of actors and actants around them should be included and addressed. On the one hand, this paper reports on a design research that applies a systemic design approach to tackle social issues, providing insight in the complexity of the context. On the other hand, after mapping the context, the major challenge lies in translating the output towards a design solution, in order to shape a product-service system that empowers children with imprisoned parents. Thus, obtaining autonomy for children with incarcerated parents based on the levers of trauma, attachment and resilience. The paper focuses on the transition from systemic sensemaking to the design of a product-service system by employing an outcome map, allowing the designer to advance from the analysis to the possibility space. The process applied in this research is about supporting children with incarcerated parents as a case study. Qualitative research was applied to understand the context of children with imprisoned parents in the analysis phase. The data collection methods supporting this research are literature research, observations, in-depth interviews with psychologists and prison staff, cultural probes, brainstorming sessions, focus groups and user tests. This paper contributes to the design field by evaluating outcome mapping as a possible bridge between the analyses and the idea generation.

Keywords: Product-Service Systems (PSS), Complexity, Design methods, Case study, Systemic design


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