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Leicester families sought to design homes of the future

Families across Leicester are being sought to help researchers design the homes of the future.

The project, called Living Innovation Leicester, is being run by computer ethics specialist Dr Catherine Flick, of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) with support from DMU’s public engagement team, DMU Local.

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, LivinLeicester is part of a Europe-wide project that works with families, residents and businesses to imagine what life could be like in 2030.

The DMU team is looking for a minimum 10 families with at least one child aged between six and 12 who live in Leicester to work with researchers for four weeks. Every week, they will be asked to do a fun art activity that lets them imagine innovative digital devices that could make their lives easier, but don’t exist – yet.

Each family is challenged to create three artworks over the four weeks – brainstorm a problem in the home, and create a solution for that problem, and then swap designs with a different family, to come up with a solution to that family’s problem.

“We could have designs for a robot that sorts your recycling (and rinses it first) or something completely different – that’s what’s so much fun about this project, we just don’t know what our families will come up with,” says Dr Flick, who is leading the work for DMU.

“It’s an activity that requires the whole family to work together to talk about a problem and come up with some cool ideas to solve it. We think that we’ll get a diverse range of problems and solutions.”

Artworks will be part of a showcase sent to technology experts, such as hackers, futurists and product designers.Dr Flick hopes that the technology industry will see the value in engaging families with artistic methods that could help to create products that meet people’s needs.

Living Innovation is co-ordinated by the Institute for Managing Sustainability at Vienna University of Economics and Business. DMU is one of 14 partners from 10 European countries, including nine leading companies working in smart health and smart homes.

DMU Local is helping support the project through its Saturday art club artist Jonjo Elliott and StudionAme, a collective of artists based in St Matthews, Leicester, who are running each workshop online. There will be gift vouchers for families as a thank-you for taking part.

•    Do you live in Leicester, and have a child aged six to 12? Would you like to take part? Get in touch! Contact

Posted on Thursday 18th June 2020

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