Designer Facilitator: The body as a meeting place for advancing collaborations between design and reconstructive surgical fields

Rhian Solomon

Pattern Projection (Image by Rhian Solomon)


Design Facilitator: The Body as a meeting place and materials as a medium for enhancing communication between breast reconstruction patients and surgeons.


The landscape of design is becoming increasingly complex as it shifts towards applications within complex ecologies of social and collaborative innovation. (Buchanan, 2015)


‘Designers are having to evolve from being the individual authors of objects, or buildings, to being the facilitators of change among large groups of people’.  (Thackara, 2006)


As a result, a new role within the design sector is emerging – that of the Design Facilitator, whose task is to advance collaboration, communication and transformation within complex, multi-stakeholder, design settings.


My research aims to evolve understanding of the emergent design facilitation field, by analysing the materiality of select tools and methods and their application within design for health contexts.


A detailed literature review, interviews with current design facilitators, and a reflection of my studio practice will each inform a series of materials based interventions to enhance communication between breast reconstruction patients and surgeons during co-design activities. Here, the body will act as a meeting place, and materials as a medium, for sharing phenomenological and biomedical perspectives of illness and treatment for cancer.


This project runs in collaboration with Breast Cancer charity, The Haven.