Student Work

  • Transdisciplinary Design (MFA)

    Rachel Murray, Javiera Arenas, Ankita Roy

    Hum: a design approach to helping families with terminal illness

    Death can be devastating and scary. We are often unprepared to deal with the prospect of terminal illness and death. How can design help families find ways to cope with potential conflict after a terminal diagnosis is made? How families cope with the end of life reflects the way many of us think about death. It reflects a "save at any cost" rescue culture that has shaped our entire healthcare system. Hum is a service designed to create moments of meaning and connection for patients and their core circle of caregivers, through meaningful activities that create new rituals and bonds. Inspired by meaning-centered therapy, Hum uses activity-based cards that encourage group experiences of joy, legacy creation, and activities to impart family knowledge. These rituals and the experiences they generate help embed meaning and create empowerment at a frightening time. Patients and caregivers learn to handle a range of emotional responses and explore what it means to be comfortable in this difficult stage. The end of life is not a problem for design to solve, but rather an opportunity for patients and their caregivers to make meaning and thrive together. See more of this project here: