ProtoPolicyAsia: empowering local communities and Government in Malaysia in addressing social issues in ageing and disabilities

The 12-month project, ProtoPolicyAsia, aim is to increase local community participation in the Malaysian national policy-making process to work together with relevant government agencies on social issues that relate to older persons and persons with disabilities.

It involves the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development Malaysia, Petrosains – The Science Discovery Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Lancaster University, Sunway University in Malaysia and United Nations University – International Institute for Global Health in Malaysia.

The project has been funded by the AHRC as part of the GCRF Highlight Notice for International Development:  Follow on Funding for Impact and Engagement Scheme.

Design Clinic as Follow-Up on Workshop with Community Members

Following the Co-Designing Workshop with Community Members held on 3rd July 2019, ProtoPolicyAsia ran a Design Clinic with Older Adults (OA) on 16th October at Sunway University. Seven prototypes had been developed at the earlier workshop and were subsequently voted on by workshop facilitators and Champions. From these seven prototypes, the ‘travel kiosk’ were chosen for further development at the design clinic.

The OA group was given the task of building upon the travel kiosk idea to design objects, stories, and experiences that would help others understand how OAs experience travel and what it means to them. They began by exploring how young adults, middle-aged adults, and government actors experience and understand transport and the gaps in understanding OAs needs. From there, the participants considered two future scenarios:

  • Scenario A: 50% of the world’s population consists of OAs, and
  • Scenario B: To combat climate change, all privately owned transport has been banned and all travel is taken via public transport.

The participants considered what role the ‘travel kiosk’ would play in these future scenarios and how they would want to use such a devise. These explorations highlighted the importance of transport to OA’s social identity and self-perceptions of independence.

Using the preliminary designs and other inputs given by the OA groups, ProtoPolicyAsia is working on a portfolio of pieces that will tell their stories. When ready, the prototypes will be released to the public through a number of public events to obtain citizen’s and policy-maker’s response to these ideas. So stay tuned…

Small-Group Clinics as Follow-Up to Workshop on PwDs and Access to Education

Following the 17th September 2019 workshop with Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), we ran two design clinics on October 1st and 2nd at Sunway Clio Hotel. The first group included blind participants whereas the second group included the deaf. Both clinics put the participants through their paces by combining futurology methods with fast prototyping approaches. Further, the participants were asked to consider the social impact (and consequence) of their proposed prototypes.

The October 1 clinic centred on training teachers in the implementation of creative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education. A subsidiary of this project is a proposal for developing a master creative lesson plan. Much of the clinic time was spent considering the present probable and plausible (and some possible) scenarios relating to current policy implementations and existing policy possibilities.

The participants found that the lack of diversity in the teaching body and insufficient teacher preparation had led to the systematic exclusion of sensory-disabled students from STEM subjects at the school level, despite policies that suggest otherwise. They were interested in the realization of universal design in science education that could allow for a more inclusive approach to the teaching of STEM at all levels. The group of that there has not been much work done on STEM education and the disabled in the Malaysian context.

The clinic on October 2 focuses on education for the deaf. A key issue is a national policy of using of Kod Tangan Bahasa Malaysia (KTBM) instead of Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (BIM) in schools. BIM is a unique language developed by the Malaysian deaf community and is well-suited to their communication needs whereas KTBM is a code (not a language) that signifies Bahasa Malaysia. While KTBM was intended to help deaf students learn Bahasa Malaysia grammar, the deaf community finds it laborious to use, unintuitive, and less effective at communicating meaning than BIM—making KTBM an obstacle to teaching and learning.

Much of the clinic time was spent on helping hearing participants understand the differences between BIM and KTBM and the experience of their deaf counterparts in using the language and the code. The group continued to explore a process for transitioning to BIM, the needs of deaf students who have additional sensory or learning disabilities, and the integration of hearing and deaf students (including exposing hearing students to BIM from primary school).

The participants of both clinics have since taken their respective prototype proposals online as they continue to collaborate, where they will not merely be working with each other, but are reaching out to other stakeholders and experts with similar interests. Besides the original participants who continued from the September 17th workshop, we have additional participants, from both academia and Ministries, who were intentionally brought in to lend perspectives that would contribute to a deepened consideration and refinement of the proposals.

Watch this space for future reveals.

ProtoPolicyAsia September “Co-designing Workshop involving Persons with Disabilities – Accessibility and Education”

ProtoPolicyAsia successfully hosted a one-day “Co-designing Workshop involving Persons with Disabilities – Accessibility and Education” on 17 September 2019 at Sunway Clio Hotel. A total of 12 participants attended the workshop; with two participants representing the Deaf Community, two participants representing the Visually Impaired Community and one representing the physically challenged.

The workshop is centred on exploring how the PWDs and special needs education could be part of the educational mainstream, with proposals that could be developed for implementation at the policy level. From this workshop, we envision subsequent workshops that involve co-designing the adaptation of speculative design to participatory design involving specific PWD communities.

The workshop began with an introduction to speculative design and its potential use in disability research and education. Participants were provoked to identify main themes on disability that will be used throughout the workshop based on the questions that were provided to them prior to the workshop. Following that, they worked in groups to map out disability issues they have identified as unresolved in the consideration of accessibility and education.

Following the mind-mapping exercise, the identified issues were grouped into few pillars; Expertise, Infrastructure, Resources, Priorities, and Disability & Culture. Next, the groups moved on to co-design problem framing by co-creating problem statements that could be worked on with the use of speculative design. They were again challenged to think outside of the box using the 4Ps future cone concepts of the “Possible, Plausible, Probable, and Preferable”. At the end of the session, both groups present their prototype ideas.

What’s next?

We are planning to conduct a “Design Clinic” with the participants to further refine the prototypes that were developed during the workshop. We aim to showcase some of the prototype(s) in the upcoming public dissemination events.

More details to follow and for more information please contact Liza (lizaht[at]sunway.edu.my / 60137678897) and Dr Yong (mhyong[at]sunway.edu.my / 03-7491 8622 ext 7165).