The Flexible Realities of using Design Probes: Reflections from a Care Home Context
We describe the use of design probes to study the circumstance of living in residential care. We worked closely with a single care home in the UK, with the aim of building deeper relationships with a small number of residents. We structured our visits as creative sessions for which probes were specifically designed. The sessions took place in communal areas of the home, and so they allowed us to understand the social dynamics of these spaces, as well as to closely engage with a small group of residents. We reflect upon how these methods resonated with an existing program of creative activities that was run in the home, and how the nature of the sessions transformed from activities that the women participated in to ones that they had more direct control over. Challenges include conducting research in a communal space, addressing the expectations our participants had of creative activities, and dealing with the complex interplay between the domestic and work spheres that is inherent to the care home context.