The Programme Director for Product Design at ECA, Arno Verhoeven, is part of an exciting joint project to improve the lives of young disabled people.

The project, Wheels of Change, has been awarded £1 million from the People’s Postcode Lottery and will be led by the charity Whizz-Kidz, Duchenne UK and researchers from the University of Edinburgh.

Arno will be leading on design research and collaborating on the development of current power wheelchair technology with the aim of enhancing mobility equipment and experience.

“Freedom of choice, dignity and personal control are hallmarks of Scotland’s ambition to ensure that all citizens are able to live independently. A key part of our vision is making a socially responsible contribution in promoting health and wellbeing, both locally in Scotland and further afield,” said Arno.

Design for Change ECA students postgraduate design
Edinburgh College of Art
Students in Studio

""This award will allow us to move from dreaming to demonstrating the powerful impact interdisciplinary research and development can have on the lives of everyone, making things better.”"

Arno Verhoeven, Programme Director in Product Design

Arno will be assembling and leading a team of highly motivated Design students, along with Professor Ian Underwood and his team of students from the University of Edinburgh School of Engineering.

“We are delighted to be working with Whizz-Kidz and Duchenne UK as a lead partner in this ground-breaking research project intended to enhance the quality of life of young wheelchair users. Our participatory approach will put young disabled people at the heart of the project by listening to their needs and aspirations,” said Ian.

For students, the project acts as an introduction to the newly launched postgraduate programme at ECA: MA - Design for Change. In this programme, students have the opportunity to bolster their design skills in order to do social good, by addressing complex, global challenges such as disruptive technologies, ageing populations, economic instability, conflict and displacement and environmental degradation through design-led interventions.

The programme will be running for the first time this year, starting in September 2018.

Are you interested in studying Design For Change - MA at Edinburgh College of Art?

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