I see a project as an enterprise. I see design as direct action to make change.
Effective change. Each project is a startup that begins with a dream, a vision, an idee fixe.
The Autopsy of the Project
This year I completed 2 x 3 year long projects at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Funded by Cancer Australia these projects take my work in peer to peer learning (which is the foundation for the My First 6 Months Project) into hospital settings.
- PanSupport is a project for Pancreatic Cancer Patients. LINK
- Older and Wiser is a project for all older people cancer patients. LINK
- The Pitch “App” to secure collaboration to do PanSupport. LINK
In these projects I had a proposition that people who have cancer know in their bodies about what cancer means. Their bodies know. Their knowing makes them experts in the journey of cancer. The medical specialists – doctors, surgeons – have knowledge, medical knowledge. But not bodily knowledge. So why not get a peer to peer conversation going?
To get the hospitals and surgeons to collaborate with me I built an app – #3 – and pitched the idea. I pitch many ideas, my success rate is very low. This is a pitch from 2014 to the Chemotherapy team at ONJ/ Austin Hospital – LINK. Successful? No. But #3 got up, and then we submitted a grant application to Cancer Australia. Which won a grant.
Yes, it is possible that this is a slow way of working. It takes years to get a project up. But these are projects that have changed medical practice. So I know what my goal is. It is to make a small change.
My current project is at Baker Institute, Alfred Hospital. I have a vision for the body-with-diabetes. It is a Cuban Health Care vision. I ask; Why don’t we just make this body the commons? So like how we manage and look after Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef, we can all collaborate to manage these bodies. Proactively. Over the lifetime.
This vision is now a 10 year long project – which I have titled the Second Pancreas Project. LINK
- I take joy in naming my projects. I make concatenated words – PanSupport, ChemoExplore, Hunting Wajima. I make maternally, ecologically and culturally inspired descripters – Fifth Goal, My First 6 Months, Second Pancreas.
- I stretch my projects out into 5 or 10 year long periods. So that I can build something, gradually refining it as I go along. You would have hated being a students in MF6M when it began 2018. Or being in my class in 1986. I practice Transformative Learning. LINK.
- Then because I want to go straight into implementing a vision I have cooked up. Because I want the freedom to develop the idea without having to research it, justify it. Because I want to privilege the idee fixe (LINK). Because of all these; I work in secret. “Nothing to see here”.
- I see my projects as an enterprise. I see design as direct action to make change. Effective change. Each project is a startup that begins with a dream, a vision, an idee fixe.
- Each project aims to be an acupuncture. A small project. With only local relevance.
- Each project has to have an ecology, a sustainability built in. Hard wired. So it can sustain, then go on and on.