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Exploring Social Engagement around COVID-19 lockdowns with Older Pet Owners and Location-based Play (For Submission)

Sheahan., J. & Hjorth, L.

Frontiers in Computer Science, Post-pandemic Digital Realities of Older Adults
Responding to emergent social issues and challenges, serious location-based games can provide local communities with ways of navigating difficult topics in interactive and engaging ways, supporting diverse groups to explore complex social, digital and health realities. As COVID-19-related lockdowns and health restrictions demonstrated in Australia, older adults have faced the serious implications of extended social isolation and reliance on technology for social connectedness during this time, as their existing digital inequities shaped their opportunities for engagement. This article focuses on specifically how older pet owners lost daily interactions and support within their local communities during this period, detailing our development of collaborative gameplay to re-engage these individuals with their social connections and local places.


Gaining Resolution in the Creation of Images of Ageing (Under Review)

Sheahan., J.

Frontiers in Sociology,
Socio-Gerontechnology – New Perspectives on the Digital Transformation of Later Life


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, we proposition ‘resolution’ as a concept indicative of the level of detail that seeks to characterise the fidelity that representations of later life have. Responding to the inequities and social isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this concept is explored through a cultural probe study that investigated the sentiments of several older Australians.


Towards Re-Imagining Industrial Design Education for the Contemporary Period (Forthcoming)

Dim, W., de Vere, I., Sheahan., J.

23rd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (London, 2022)


As the field of Industrial Design moves beyond its industrial manufacturing roots, exploring curricula that anticipate diverse participation and complexity in creative innovation is still emergent in this era of education. This paper discusses the adoption of the RMIT University, My First 6 Months (MF6M), finding the approach required less teaching staff intervention and gave more flexibility to students, reinforcing notions of trust and self-efficacy in learning.


Designing To Enable an Ageing Workforce (Forthcoming)

de Vere, I., Dim, W., Sheahan., J.


23rd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (London, 2022)

An ageing workforce and a dwindling, itinerate manual labour supply have long-term implications for the commercial viability of industries that require sustained physical activities. These trends are driving two significant concerns for an ageing workforce: maintaining the health of increasingly older workers and dealing with the complications of participation in the labour force for these individuals. This paper details a teaching and research project conducted in collaboration between the Safeness by Design initiative and the Innovation Centre of WorkSafe Victoria, a government regulatory body that enforces health and safety policy.


Australia’s population is ageing, but with enhanced health prospects and insufficient retirement funds, and industries impacted by a dwindling itinerate manual labour supply, workers will want, and may need, to remain in the workforce for longer. This research, Enabling an Ageing Workforce, recognises the issues facing the older worker across a range of different workplace contexts, This project investigates ageing, wellbeing, and workplace safeness within specific industries to identify areas of concern, opportunities for design intervention, and the proposal of future-focused design solutions.


I acknowledge the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands I conduct my work. I respectfully acknowledge their Ancestors and Elders, past, present and emerging.


©2022 Jacob Sheahan