Robert Djaelani

Robert Djaelani

An account of design research: Framing design practice in the UK’s health and social care system.

Poorly designed mental health services reinforce the inequalities and injustice already commonplace within the UK’s Health and Social Care systems. This research examines how Design Research can expose Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) organisations to design-led approaches as a methodology of developing fairer services for society. Using Action Research and a case study structure, the approach has been introduced and applied within multiple organisations in the North East of England. The research findings have provided valuable evidence and insight into design’s capacity to incite transformational change, and the challenges of doing so, at a critical time for the Health and Social Care sectors. The research presents an Art Studio community that is developing a fairer mental health service for their own community by utilising their existing creative skills. The research also presents a series of Design Labs that helped Health and Social Care practitioners consider the social, cultural and moral dimensions of their services and designing prototypes that highlight their new understanding. This Design Research is supporting disparate communities in shaping their own social systems, providing the UK with an alternative way of designing more just Health and Social Care systems.


Robert graduated from Product Design in 2007 and Design Ethnography in 2012. His work in the past has focused on integrating technology into the daily life of communities and understanding social and cultural barriers within healthcare systems. With a strong research methodology combined with design practise he aims to discover meanings, understand human behaviour and define future strategies and new products.

Robert has worked with research teams from organisations such as Intel, Microsoft, Brightsolid, Nesta, the UNODC and The Highland council. Through leveraging the right assets it has been possible to create significant changes within multiple different contexts. Through this work Robert has delivered valuable findings to charities, government, non-government organisations and businesses.