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A Design Researcher exploring the Ethics of Care and Digital Technologies in Later Life

Co-Designing Informal Care Value
Design Informatics,  University of Edinburgh
2023 - Present

At Design Infomatics and Advanced Care Research Centre, I am exploring how emerging technologies underpinned by data may support healthier, informal networks. As part of the ACRC work package on Understanding The Person In Context, I am co-ordinating co-design and design-led prototyping to support informal networks of care in the UK.

Work Package: Understanding The Person In Context, Advanced Care Research Centre ︎

Care-full MonitoringInvestigating how to make transparent and explainable the black box of in-home monitoring systems

DCODE “Synthetica” Zine (2022): Care Futures ︎ (Designer & AI-generated speculative stories of ageing & care)

Long-COVID Patient journey 
Eat Health Move Program, RMIT University

Mapping the experiences of people with long-COVID, an interdisciplinary team conducteda 3-month study of patients experiences of long-COVID. Analysing daily issues and coping over this period, we visually map the health literacy, self-efficacy, enjoyment of life and eating, and physical activity habits with those suffering with long-COVID.

Article (Submitted): Journey Mapping Long COVID: Agency and Social Support for Long-Hauling

Article (Submitted): An Overview of Long COVID Support Services and Clinical Guidelines in Australia

Program: Eat Health Move, a Multi-College Collaborative Research Project ︎

Worksafe by Design
School of Design, RMIT University
2021 - 2022

An initiative of the Safeness by Design program, In collaboration with WorkSafe Victoria, we employ research and design innovation to provoke conversations to direct the creation of safer urban environments.

Studio Report (2022): Future of Work Report ︎

Studio Report (2021): Enabling an Ageing Workforce Report ︎

Article (2022): Towards Re-Imagining Industrial Design Education for the Contemporary Period ︎

Article (2022): Designing to Enable an Ageing Workforc︎

Co-designing Participatory ICT Strategies With Older Adults
Shaping Connections, RMIT University
2020 - 2022

Perceived risks remain are one of the main reasons many older adults do not engage with ICT and the digital economy. In better equipping older Australians to engage with the digital economy,  this study explored the perceived ICT risks that affect older Australians and co-designed strategies with them – connecting practices with perceptions.

Article (2022): Co-Creating ICT Risk Strategies with Older Australians ︎

Report (2022):  Co-designing Participatory Strategies With Older Adults ︎

Report (2021): Reducing Perceived Risk & Promoting Digital Inclusion ︎

Grant (2020): Australian Communications Consumer Action Network Grants Projects ︎

2023 - ICT and older adults in the City of Whittlesea ︎

Bernardo Figueiredo, Rachel Peile, Torgeir Aleti, Mike Reid, Diane Martin, Larissa Hjorth, Jacob Sheahan, Mark Buschgens, Glen Wall & Anne Grigg

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how digital engagement is crucial for fostering social inclusion for older adults. It provides them with the capacity to take up information and communication technologies (ICT) which is critical to their wellbeing and enables them to navigate barriers. This report addresses three topics of interest to the City of Whittlesea for the development of support programs for older adults - aspirations of older adults to adopt technology, barriers preventing older adults from taking up technology, and strategies to support older adults..

2022 - Co-creating ICT Risk Strategies with Older Australians: A workshop model ︎

Sheahan, J., Hjorth, L., Figueiredo, B., Martin, D., Reid, M., Aleti, T., & Buschgens, M.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
As digital inclusion becomes a growing indicator of health and social wellbeing in later life, the need for older adults to adopt Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and develop digital literacy sees them face barriers (such as their perceived ICT risks and capacity to learn). This article describes the results of a series of co-design workshops conducted with older adults to develop strategies that support those in later life to use ICT and reduce their perceived risks around it. We argue that by using co-designed persona methods, we can develop more nuanced ICT risk strategies that are built with and for older adults.

This dissertation explores the design of social engagement technologies for later life, demonstrating how drifting with uncertainty could support Interaction Designers in co-creating with ageing communities. Situated at the intersection of ageing and technology, this research speaks to two collaborative interdisciplinary projects that interrogate how Interaction Designers can move beyond perpetuating the digital divide and uneven social participation for older adults. Considering how the phenomenon of the digital divide has been magnified for older Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, this dissertation addresses the lack of understanding around the characteristics and implications of social engagement technologies in later life.

The future of work is a context that is rapidly being shaped by powerful forces; the growing adoption of artificial intelligence in the workplace, the increasing casualisation of the workforce, and the decentralised nature of where and how ‘work’ is being performed. This report, The Future of Work, centres on research and case studies that speculate the issues facing all workers in the workplaces of tomorrow.

2022 - Gaining Resolution when Creating Imagery of Aging ︎ 

Sheahan., J.

Frontiers in Sociology
In seeking to support healthy ageing, designers have struggled to reduce their assumptions and biases towards older adults, interpret the worlds of later life through unfiltered imagery, engage with stigmas, and ultimately diminish the technologies they construct. Towards this, I proposition ‘resolution’ as a concept indicative of the level of detail and fidelity that representations of later life have. Thhis subject is explored through a cultural probe study that investigated the sentiments of several older Australians on social technologies.

I acknowledge the peoples on whose lands I conduct my work, and respectfully acknowledge  Ancestors and Elders, past, present and emerging.

©2023 Jacob Sheahan