Impossible Inventions and Curious Tools
Amy Rose collaborated with Dr. Clare Short and writer Fiona Hamilton to create and deliver a 3-week project exploring loneliness in adolescents, with University of Bristol, 2nd year medical students. The workshop was delivered over Zoom. Clare introduced participants to the scientific and sociological underpinnings of loneliness and engaged them in study and discussion on the topic. Fiona led sessions in which participants drew upon personal experience to deepen their learning. Amy introduced a toolkit for connection and embodied play, including theatre games and ‘instant making’ processes from puppet and prop making.
Amy invited workshop participants to create ‘fantastical inventions for the eradication or treatment of loneliness’. Using paper and masking tape, each fashioned brilliant creations and presented them with humour and enthusiasm to the group. One participant built a hand-held device, with built in Siri-style counselling feature, that could transport the user anywhere on the globe. Another creation, worn as a headset, enabled the wearer to listen with patience and compassion and hear the speaker’s underlying need. One participant, who had been shy and quiet throughout the workshops, presented their invention with immense confidence and humour. Facilitated discussion enabled the participants to see how the inventions illuminated real concerns, needs and values. These insights helped them to define and take achievable, real-life actions which resulted in measurable, ‘life-changing’, positive impact on their understanding, behaviour and experience of loneliness.
At the core of Impossible Inventions and Curious Tools is the ‘fast prototyping’ of totally fantastical inventions out of simple, everyday materials, inspired by ‘chindogu’ (the art of making absurd, seemingly useless inventions which, nonetheless, illuminate some truth or insight). Although not intended to be realised as practical inventions, the inventions nonetheless reveal approaches to practical solutions, promote understanding and inspire behaviour change and innovation within a range of settings.
This creative workshop methodology is highly adaptable to a range of contexts, including consultation. It combines playful, creative, somatic activities and design-thinking approaches with sensitive facilitation and learning activities on a specific theme. Creative exploration and embodied understanding happens through writing and play. When combined with scientific and/or socio-economic information and research, the workshop provides a comprehensive approach to learning.
Amy is seeking new contexts for the Impossible Inventions and Curious Tools, embodied play and speculative prototyping workshop. Please contact her if you’d like to learn more.
Dr. Clare Short, Fiona Hamilton and Amy Rose, workshop creators and co-facilitators