Marianne McAra M.Des Design Innovation, BA Technical and Production Arts

Job Title:

Research Student


School of Design



The Bus Stop; Stereotyped Perceptions
work by Marianne

The Bus Stop; Stereotyped Perceptions


Marianne McAra

Young Scottish Adults Living at the Urban and Rural Edges – Interaction through Design Innovation

Supervisors: Dr. Lynn-Sayers McHattie and Dr. Maddy Sclater

A key objective of Scottish Government is promoting strong, resilient and supportive communities. Whilst Scotland finds itself at an exciting time of change, research shows some groups and communities are being left behind. My research interest lies in engaging, through the use of co-design methodologies, young NEET (not in education, employment or training) adults at the fringes of these communities, with a specific focus on the distinctions and similarities between urban and rural localities.
Government and academic research has identified the status and conditions of many categorised as NEET in Scotland. Highly vulnerable and socially excluded; certain groups are experiencing multi-layered adversities, high levels of poverty and are disproportionately involved in crime and drug addiction. This study aims to fill gaps in knowledge through constructing innovative methods of engaging these groups, as well as harnessing co-design practice to collaboratively explore a dimension of an experienced adversity with the aim of co-designing a proposed intervention. The value of this research lies in constructing authentic accounts of identity, culture, and of the lived experience of being classified as NEET. Building upon these insights, I aim to propose a solution that has been identified and designed first hand by the future users themselves, as means of enhancing community and individual wellbeing.
I am interested in the fractured, transitional, and in many cases, excluded nature of this societal group, whilst drawing further contextual insight from their physical environments. Through the use of collaborative design I want to explore typecasting, how stereotypical perceptions are formed, and how both are internalised, and externalised, through behavior. Subcultures and neo tribes are further areas of interest, as well as theories on social order, cultural norms and power negotiation. Designing creative, participant specific modes of engagement lies at the heart of my practice.

Broadley, C and McAra, M, 2013, Making, using and interpreting design probes: How subjective is participation? Conference Paper - DRS // CUMULUS 2013 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers