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Cell Furniture Project. Design-Led Research in Prisons. Stint 1: Insight Worksheets

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posted on 2024-04-29, 09:58 authored by Lorraine Gamman, Adam Thorpe

Stint 1: What We Did

The Stint 1 data-gathering workshops took place in a 'Discover' phase of the project. Coordinating with HMPPS, DAC held three days of data gathering sessions over the span of one month at HMP Standford Hill. Approximately 30 prisoners participated in Stint 1. The goal of Stint 1 was to understand prisoners' experiences with cell furniture. As part of it's design-led research, DAC designed activities to create multiple ways for participants to discuss and express their knowledge and ideas.

The activities and tools used in the session:

Insight Worksheets

In the data gathering sessions, participants completed a set of worksheets asking them about their experiences, needs and aspirations relating to cell furniture. Taking into account the different and creative ways that participants express their ideas, the worksheets incorporated a variety of activities from straight-forward questions to more visual and artistic exercises. Group discussions were typically held after each worksheet page was completed.

Supplementary to the worksheets, DACRC created sheet of stickers containing all of the existing cell furniture items. These stickers helped prisoners recall what furniture they had used and were used by participants to visualise how they used, arranged and modified the cell furniture.

Worksheet Objectives

In order to understand prisoner experiences with cell furniture, DAC developed insight worksheets to facilitate this data gathering. The insight worksheets were designed such that the DAC designers could have structured conversations with the groups of participants that would touch upon the following:


  1. The prisoners' thoughts and opinions about the current cell furniture items;
  2. How they use the furniture and cell space and what characteristics they find important for the cell environment and their cell furniture;
  3. What their aspirations and desires are for their living space whether in the context of the cell or a setting outside of prison.

Other useful tools

We found that visual and physical prompts helped participants recall and explain their experiences with cell furniture. For the workshops we created sheets of stickers containing all of the existing cell furniture items. The stickers were used in both the worksheets and interviews. Also, stickers helped less artistic individuals find a visual means to express their creativity and ideas.

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