Staff from The Corner joined Dundee video game designers to unveil a new interactive tool for young people at London Design Biennale earlier this month.
Biome Collective have been working with The Corner, as well as Dundee youth collective Hot Chocolate Trust, to develop the tool that allows young people to start talking about mental health without words.
The Corner was invited to a Lab Day earlier this year hosted by Creative Dundee & Tilda Arts where the team was asked to speak about the services The Corner offers to young people in the city in relation to mental health and wellbeing.
They also identified the most common topics spoken about within the Support U one to one sessions with young people – which were anxiety, stress, low mood and depression – and were asked to think about what might help to address these.
The Corner felt that it would be useful to have a ‘conversation starter or toolkit’ to help young people express their emotions.
Following the Lab Day, The Corner was asked to join the design team as advisors to help Biome Collective design and create a tool or experience that would be useful in the context of mental health and young people.
Laura Cooney, Community Learning and Development Worker for The Corner said, “The stigma around mental health is being reduced but people still find it difficult to find the words to talk about it. Young people that come to us often don’t have the language to describe how they feel. This can be really frustrating for them.
“Working with Biome Collective, we wanted to develop a tool – a conversation starter – that would enable any young person we work with to describe exactly how they’re feeling without words.”
Drawing on Dundee’s rich heritage of video game design, Biome Collective asked “What can video games do to help young people start talking about their mental health?” and produced an immersive interactive installation called Shpeel, a misspelling of the word “spiel”, meaning either “to speak” or “to play”.
The team was selected to represent Dundee at London Design Biennale 2018, the first time a city has been invited to contribute to the event alongside nations.
A highlight of the global design calendar, London Design Biennale saw 40 of the world’s most exciting and ambitious designers, innovators and curators gather in the capital to show how design impacts our very being and every aspect of our lives.
The design team plan to meet in the near future to discuss how to take the project to the next stage of consultation with groups of young people.