Projects Social Narratives

Neutra: A tool for a better future

Our project stemmed from a personal interest in gender, particularly the way it’s communicated and perceived through language. Language is one of the most powerful vehicles through which gender discrimination is reproduced. Gender stereotypes dictating that women should display communal/warm traits while men should agentic/competent traits trickle through to society through the lexical influences of everyday communication. Consequently, language also produces and reflects the societal asymmetries of power in the favour of men and their attached societal roles. Gendered language is so common that it’s difficult for some people to even notice it. From job postings to laws, the omnipresence of gendered language can affect a wide range of behaviors and lead to indoctrinated biases. The gender stereotyping and discrimination perpetuated by the English language is unnecessary. Our mission is to dismantle these stereotypes and combat the discrimination.

The most common practice for dismantling stereotypes is the reversal of the binary: taking the inferior side having it supercede it’s opposition. This technique highlights how harmful and unnecessary these implemented structures can be to the non-marginalised. However, our project is too subtle and our binary too complex to simply reverse. Pronouns can’t just be flipped, they needed to be neutralised in order to create a truly equal society. We achieved this by creating Neutra, a web browser extension that neutralized all gender pronouns on the internet pages our users visited.


Neutra provides users with a unique opportunity to engage with genuine cultural change. As an interface, Neutra is easily accessible to a wide demographic of internet-users. Furthermore, it is one of the most relevant ways to spread the concept of gender neutral language, as the internet is by far the most efficient way to spread information in our day and age.

Neutra’s focus on natural language allows for cohesion and a seamless reading experience. The subtlety of the extension is one of its strongest points: its a non-disruptive and simple solution to a pervasive cultural problem. In the same way that we don’t notice the bias and sexism inherent to the english language, people won’t notice when that language is removed.

Another important benefit of Neutra is it’s message; allowing people to see the world from a different perspective, separate from the confines of gender. We hope Neutra will provide our society with an illuminating view on the way language interacts with gender.

Despite it’s subtlety, Neutra has given us a unique opportunity to enact genuine cultural change. As women, we were both hyper-aware of the impact gender has historically and institutionally had on females. Working on this project has been an empowering experience that has further deepened our understanding of not only the english language, but also of the roots of feminism. More so than our own experience, this project has also allowed us to research and explore the male perspective more thoroughly. While our understanding will never be as comprehensive as that of a man, we made particular effort to ensure our product was inclusive and relevant to their own experience. Despite the fact that our entire intention was to remove gender from mainstream media, we have both vastly expanded our knowledge and understanding of the constraints gender inflicts on men, women and everyone in between.

Please view our final product and video here:

Social Narratives Project – Ladina Brunner and Natalia Gulbransen-Diaz

Social Narratives

Breathe Respirator V1. ‘The New Pay as You Go Home Healthcare’

Breathe Respirator V1 is a speculative product from Ben Manders and Christian Hardman that comments on the morals and ethics related to the privatisation of the NHS. It tells a story of how multinational healthcare companies can take advantage of those least fortunate. Through the use of an ECG controlled by the user’s bank balance, we’ve explicity linked money to health to create a disconcerting undertone.



With the promenenant nature of debate surrounding  the privatisation the NHS it’s difficult not to become passionate about the subject. The NHS is being systematically failed as an attempt to make money out of the the public’s health. This led us to highlight the immoral nature of using in individual’s misfortune to make money for the multinational cooperations.

March calling for universal healthcare in New York, October 26, 2011. Physicians, nurses, community groups and supporters of healthcare marched to call for an end of corporate greed in the health insurance industry.





We feel healthcare is a human right and not something that can be monetised. By monetising someone’s health  it’s monetising their life.







Breathe Respirator V1 is a Pay as You Go home healthcare product for people with asthma, asbestosis, and other lung diseases where additional oxygen would be beneficial. The piece comments on the monetisation of a person’s health through the use of a bank card combined with the ECG. As the user increases the levels of oxygen they find it easier to breathe, but for an additional cost.

Social Narratives

On The Other Hand, an exercise in Brexit

The troubles each of us deal with on a daily basis are seen nowhere more than in how we treat others, because of Brexit there has been a strain in having conversations about the future of the country, what might be done, how we might do it. This project is an attempt at streamlining that conversation, leaving less room for pointless arguments, and allowing more discussion to be had between people of opposing views. Have you had conversations that allowed you to voice your opinions, hopes, and fears for the country? If not, this might be the product for you.

Projects Social Narratives

How sustainable is an electric car?

The common conception of driving an electric car is that people think to be using an eco-friendly vehicle, however, this is not entirely true after our research. The main problem with this misconception is due to a lack of information given, the battery and energy source to run the car’s production are very polluting. A Swedish study proved that the manufacturing of an entirely electric car’s battery is as polluting as driving a fueled car for about 8 years. Additionally to the production pollution, if the car is charged with non-renewable energy, the production of it produces CO2 emissions into the air. The interfaces we designed are to make people conscious about energy production and the car production’s pollution. Our product consists of 3 parts: the dashboard, an interface for the charging station and the car. The dashboard has a design showing how much the car has been driven in correlation to the 8 years of production pollution. Secondly, we also designed an interface for the charging station. These interfaces show a graph with the different energy sources and a precise percentage of the energy that is available at the station. This allows the users to know the provenience and the sustainability of the energy and having the choice of making a conscious decision. Finally, the car interface is an expansion of the charging station interface and the dashboard showing the two, recording each history and having an explanation for each part.

Social Narratives Project – Shannen Tioniwar and Micol Zardi

Social Narratives


It is undeniable that Scotland, as a country, has a severe drinking problem. There have been many attempts to find a solution and so far, all have failed and we still have one of the highest alcohol related death figures amongst other countries and as if this wasn’t bad enough, the figures have raised 20% since last year.

Recently the Government has released news they are going to raise the minimum unit pricing of alcohol up to 50p per unit. Our argument goes against this by suggesting that taxation of alcohol is unfair and not the right way to go about fixing this serious problem.

Our solution, DrinQuit.

An app that provides users with non alcoholic activities near by and rewards them for partaking in the events. It works by allowing the user to like and dislike suggested activities and locations. After viewing the activity via web browser and maps, the user can like, and add the event  to their smart phones calendar, and view later on.

The users are ranked based on the amount of events or activities they take part in and appear on the “soberboard”. This is ranked globally and provides users with a sense of accomplishment and motivation to partake in more activities.

As well as this, users can also add their own events. The events have to meet a criteria and cannot be related to alcohol in anyway. The user also completes a checklist to help other users identify the activity.

Undoubtably, Scotland’s drinking problem needs to be over come. We believe providing the users with an alternative, allowing them to socialise and meet new people in a different way, will most definitely help and make a small dent in overcoming alcoholism.

Please follow this link to our video of DrinQuit in use:

Design social narratives project – Brad findlay and Katie McGroarty


Projects Social Narratives

A detached Population

Social media has connection users with the wider world and enabled the population to explore new cultures and follow people of interest.

However, these platforms have become our second nature, evident in the way we commute to university or our places of work. Looking at our mobile devices, messaging or scrolling our Instagram feeds.

This has negatively impacted our ability to form new contacts in the physical world, limiting us to our digital identities and detaching us from the physical world.

Anxiety, depression and lowered self-esteem has increased by 70% of the past 15 years, which is in line with the increasing number of social media platforms emerging from the world wide web.

IunGo, our mobile application uses environmental ques to engage users with their surroundings in order to reach their destination. We feel this is more beneficial for the user due to studies of which have highlighted how the use of linear directions dis-engages part of the brain used for problem solving, whereas manually planning routes stimulate memory and enable the user to gain much more knowledge of their immediate environments.

Our application uses techniques from Eco-Therapy which helps to combat patients suffering from depressive tendencies become mentally fit once more. By immersing users in their surroundings, we hope to reduce the increasingly level of depression and anxiety within our society.

Please follow this link to watch our short promotional video:

Social Narratives Project – Findlay Macdonald, Amos Wheeldon 


Projects Social Narratives

La Moment

Video Link:


Author:Yifu Liu

Social Narratives

Modern Surveillance


Surveillance has changed and become an almost integral art of our lives – from monitoring all our bodily functions with fitbits to having smart appliances in our houses, the art of surveillance has subtly shifted. It’s now all about the data. But not just any data, Metadata; data of data, the seemingly harmless information which we’re continually reassured that ‘those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear’. Though the evidence seems to point elsewhere; the former director of the CIA and NSA has stated that ‘We kill people based on Metadata’ with evidence to support that.

Data is at the heart of it all, so how can I make data meaningless? I thought of means of blocking it, but reasoned that would simply result in an increase in its value. Eradicating a need for data, having everything out in the open is simply unfeasible and removing yourself to a cabin unknown to anyone in the middle of nowhere isn’t an appealing option. So I thought of muddying the waters – maintain what data is there but pollute it with other data so as you know it’s corrupt, but can’t distinguish it. Collecting your data and but exchanging it with someone else to no longer make it relevant to yourself.

The infeasibility of this soon became apparent – metadata is a two way process, we cannot tamper or change it as its not only on our side, but on the side of the network providers, website owners, etc. which have the information that their site was visited. Like a phone call; deleting it from your call log doesn’t remove it from theirs. So how could I make it more tangible? Well cookies are small data files which track our online activities and even location, which can easily be found on a mobile/computer. So I can up with something that captures your cookies, physically showing them for you to then exchange with someone else when you’ve collected enough. The Cookie Jar.

The idea is simple really; a phone case with removable ‘Jar’ which stores cookies. An app comes with it, synchronising your device to the case. The more you browse, the more cookies you collect, then simply exchange them with someone else.

This video roughly demonstrates how the Cookie Jar works.


Social Narratives

Cultural Tourism & Globalisation

Globalisation is the process of the world becoming more interconnected as a result to the increase in cultural exchange and trade between different countries.

From globalisation as the starting point of this project, it branches off to the many aspects of cultural diversity, eventually leading to my topic, Cultural Tourism.

Within cultural tourism, I have explored several issues in regards to the relationship between the host countries/ communities and the tourists themselves.

(Brainstorms Using Post-It Notes)

(Visualise the thought process through using mind map)

But What is cultural tourism?

According to Melanie Smith (2010:30), cultural tourism can be defined as a type of tourism that focuses on cultural attractions, activities and practices, allowing the exchange of different cultures and gaining cultural experiences, hence celebrate cultural diversity. Which are the major motivating factors for cultural tourists to travel. There are also sub-sectors within cultural tourism, including the heritage tourism, arts tourism and indigenous tourism.

All the research leads up to my own narrative on cultural tourism. Cultural tourism is already the trend in the travel industry which leads to longer stay. Long stay leads to increase in quantity of tourists, whilst lowering the quality of their travel experiences not to mention the decrease in quality of life/ community in host countries.

In this design project, I intend to create a design where it recreates that time and space constraint resulting in lowering the damages done to the host community and the improvement in travelling quality.

My initial idea was to visualise time to recreate the time constraints. However, this is not sufficient enough to express my narrative, which leads to my final design.

The finalised idea is a wearable/ attachable device where it tracks the users’ (which will be tourists) time and location, using instant feedback collected from the local community to determine the flow/ amount of tourists.

The main functions of Watcher are:

a) Visualises Time – Provides an alternative method to create time constraint

b) Visualises Crowd/ Flow – Provides real-time feedbacks on how congested the area is to creates space-constraint

Social Narratives

Humanity in space – The fate of the new frontier.

In a world plagued by pollution and greed, humanity begins its search for a new home and new possibilities in space.

Yale Universities Environmental Performance Index ( is a system that awards countries a score based on factors that include climate, energy, biodiversity and agriculture. Countries that rank higher on the index are awarded larger and more valuable portions of Mars. This is an incentive to make conscious environmental decisions on Earth and an assurance that the future of Mars will be well protected by those with good environmental intentions.

Ice is recognised as a vital asset in the development of humanity in space. The globe shows accurate geographical representations of both surface and subterranean ice. This is considered in the allocation of land in conjunction with Yale universities ‘EPI’ statistics.

Social Narratives

Ectogenesis, and the future of reproduction

With a large number of topics under the umbrella of genetic advancement in modern medicine coming into the public forum, questions of morality and ethicality come with them. One of these issues is ectogenesis, or the possibility thereof, and how it’s perceived. Media and pop culture have made it easier for people to imagine these technologies impacting us in fantastic ways. The concept of an artificial womb, though not possible with today’s technology, seems more like science-fiction than it should, perhaps.

Ectogenesis, a term coined by J.B.S. Haldane in his seminal work Daedalus; or, Science & the Future, refers to the gestation of a human embryo in an artificial womb. He predicted that by 2074 only 30% of births would be human births. The process involves IVF, with the fertilized embryo being implanted into the artificial womb instead of back into the mother’s uterus. Many people see it as playing god. Many more would benefit from one, were it to exist.

As Jessica H. Schulz states in her paper in the Chicago-Kent Law Review, “Ectogenesis could help those who cannot carry a pregnancy have genetic children without a surrogate and could also save the lives of premature babies.” Surely the gay community, those suffering from infertility, and mothers unable to give birth would be interested in the notion of an artificial womb. The issue is very complex in it’s social, economic, and political implications. What’s more, the importance of a physical bond between child and mother can’t be forgotten, as well as the what this would mean politically, with current views around the world on abortion and religion. 

Were you to google the topic, many of the top results question, or at least mention that others are questioning, the ethics of ectogenesis. It’s the same story with most new genetic advances in medicine. During the gestation of the first IVF baby in 1978, Louise Brown’s mother received hate mail and death threats from around the world regarding her decision to use IVF. When Louise was born, healthy and normal, it showed the world that things weren’t so black and white. 

Ectogenesis exists at a complex, highly contreversial intersection of medecine, bioethics, and reproductive politics. The advent of the artificial womb would change these arenas of medicine and debate forever, as well as the people given the opportunity to use one. In professional climates, too, where women feel social pressure to hide their pregnancies, ectogenesis would allow women to have babies on their own timetable, away from the prying eyes of supervisors and co-workers. As new data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows, pregnancy discrimination continues to affect women in all professional fields. If artificial wombs became an affordable option for working women, pregnancy discrimination could be avoided altogether by rendering gestation and childbirth completely invisible to employers and prospective employers alike. This seems perverse, but can’t be ignored as an implication of the artificial womb.

We are currently unable to fully and successfully gestate a child outside it’s mother’s womb, and there are major advances that need to be made before we can. Much current research is aimed at saving premature babies, lengthening the time embryos can survive outside the womb, which counts as indirect research into artificial wombs. Dr. Teruo Fujii’s “womb-on-a-chip” experiments are an example of that indirect research. In July 2007, Dr. Fujii and other researchers at the University of Tokyo reported that they had designed a “womb-on-a-chip,” lined with endometrial cells, which could hold fertilized eggs until they are ready for implantation. Studies with mice suggest that the womb chip could increase IVF success rates compared to the current system (embryos held in microdroplets). Dr. Fujii next plans to test the device with human embryos.

At least 12 countries, including the United Kingdom, bar scientists from working with embryos older than 14 days. The US government drew up guidelines suggesting the limit in 1979, on the basis that 14 days marks the beginning of gastrulation in humans. It is also around the latest point at which an embryo can split into identical twins. After this time, the logic goes, a unique individual comes into being. It’s easy to imagine the floodgates opening and public perception changing once the first child is born fully independent of it’s mother’s womb.

Regardless, we are living in a time when the mystery shrouding reproduction has lifted and the fetus is no longer inaccessible.

Nature has set a precedent for incubation; birds and reptiles and their eggs. Penguins, such as the rockhopper, are hatched and then protected/ kept warm by their parents while they incubate. This connection, regardless of the egg being outside the mother’s body, is seen as vital and natural nonetheless. Snakes lay multiple fertilized eggs at a time, and stay with them until they hatch.

Though there are examples of out-of-body- incubation in nature, they are all natural processes. The idea of an artificial human womb is strange, as it’s a departure from our normal birthing process, but research brings us closer every day. Were humans to incubate their children in a similar way, would it be all that strange? If it were at first, would it eventually be normalized, as IVF was? Imagine a future where the concept of an artificial womb was not only normal, with some percentage of the population opting to use one as opposed to a surrogate mother or adoption, and the concept of your child gestating in a machine not seeming as strange as it does now. My design is a critical look at this future, in which I’ll try to depict and humanize the alien concept of an artificial womb, and how future couples could/ would interact with one. 

The artefact is meant to stir debate, through an intentionally alien look, and commercial, sterile depiction of the child-rearing process. The negative and positives of it are for the viewer to decide upon, but the artificial womb of my design is undeniably fascinating concept, and something that we may be more comfortable with as time passes and medical technology and science-fiction begin to merge into one. 

Social Narratives

A.I. Nutritionist

In this critical design project I choose to critique machine learning and artificial intelligence by creating a smart food dispenser, which analyses the human body to create the healthiest meal for that person, but upon trying the food it tastes disgusting. Thus demonstrating that the logic of machines (nutritional perfection) is incompatible with the emotional logic of humans (good taste), and therefore we should be prudent towards the recommendations of algorithms.