The presentation zooms in on 10 years of designing for and together with people with dementia, their (professional) caregivers, family and friends. While challenging, participation of people with dementia seems crucial, not only to the person with dementia, but also for the way society perceives dementia.

Is participation feasible? The way participation is portrayed is intense both in time, effort and because of the (emotional) burden it can place on the designer/design-researchers?

Why does participation of people with dementia ‘still’ seems to fail? What are structural challenges to tackle?


(re)designing for the moments in-between: a participatory design approach in creating ‘books’ for people with dementia

The workshop asks for a reflection on how to (re)design a book for people with demenia for the moments when a person feels upset, alone, etc. The workshop is open for designers with or without expertise to design for people with dementia.
This workshop will be held in Belgium, Canada and Portugal and is part of a larger project searching for ways to support the transformation of the existing catalogue of the make-industry to better suit people with dementia.

Co-host of the workshop: Lieke Lenaerts

How will you envision a design for a person with dementia?

How would you take the material qualities of a children’s book to people with dementia


Niels is the research coordinator of the research unit Inter-Actions and also a design researcher and lecturer at LUCA School of Arts (University of Leuven, Belgium). His interest domains are in interaction and product design, participatory design and design for health. He worked on several projects on online journalism, internet of things and designing for and together with people living with dementia. is the lead researcher of the cluster on ‘Health, empathy and well-being’ and is also the co-founder of the Dementia Lab which clusters research and educational activities and the name of a conference on dementia and design. He has been active in Belgium, Hong Kong, Denmark and Germany, both in education as well as in research.

3 recommended readings or other media
  • To better understand dementia, without looking at it from a too negative or too optimistic perspective but more of a brutally honest view on it, I would recommend watching ‘Extreme Love: Dementia’. This is a part of Louis Theroux’s series called Extreme Love which also tackles autism.