A Dundee student is working with local primary school pupils to create a positive atmosphere as part of the Tayside Children’s Hospital upgrade.
Melissa Mathieson, a fourth year interior and environment design student from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), wants to provide “distractions” to help patients and their families when they spend time in the ward.
She chose to work on the project as part of her final year thesis after the major redesign of the hospital caught her attention during the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail last summer.
Her efforts have been acknowledged by the official design team for the hospital, which she has now been invited to join.
As part of her collaboration with the ARCHIE Foundation, Melissa held a co-design workshop with Primary 5, 6 and 7 classes at Newtyle Primary School.
She said: “What I’ve been looking at is distracting the patients, which doesn’t nice at first but it’s distracting them from the prospect of surgery.
“That’s why I ran the workshop, to get a firsthand opinion from the children to see what they would enjoy doing and what makes them feel better when they’re ill.
“I was also looking at the journey through the space and what would take most of their attention away.
“There were so many crazy ideas, and I was so pleased with the results. Something that surprised me was that they realised that loved ones, friends and families, were what they wanted most.
“Things like video games and bean bags were expected, but the most common thing was visitors.”
Melissa explained the focus was on the idea of home, a place where everyone feels comfortable and safe.
She added: “The students’ responses were conveyed through collage and 3D making, getting the children’s thoughts on how they feel when they are poorly, what makes them feel better in this situation and how this might translate into a physical space.
“Oor Wullie, as the mascot of the project, made an appearance to help the children think outside of their own experiences and add a bit of fun.”
Melissa is currently involved with design team for the project, but is also carrying out her own version of the brief that will be show cased at this year’s DJCAD Degree Show, opening on May 19.