Diabetes has been around among humans a long time. There are many people around the world who suffer from diabetes – 171 million in 2000 going up to 388 million in 2030. A lot of people work in and specialize in working in the area of diabetes: diabetes for them is a source of employment. This is one aspect of the phenomenon of diabetes and what is worrisome is that a few of these people may be keen to get diabetics become dependent upon them. A doctor may be keen to have the patient dependent upon her, a pharmaceutical company may be keen to have large populations of patients become dependent upon their drug formulation, a product manufacturer may be keen to see diabetics become dependent upon expensive technology and even the diabetics associations have their own notion of the ‘right way’. Many feel this ‘fostering of dependency’ has had a detrimental effect upon the quality of life of diabetics. Some have said that this ‘culture of dependency’ is a recent phenomenon, a fact of modern life where we have grown accustomed to giving ‘experts’ control over our body, our lives.
There exists therefore a Need (!) and something has to be done to improve the situation.
Complex problems such as Diabetes tend to be fuzzy and messy (and confronting). Often these are also contested territories dominated by experts. Designers very often have to hear disparaging comments from experts saying ‘what can YOU do’. This is also what makes this area exciting.
This project – project diabetes – is a space to work, a live project with real people and real outcomes.