Co-designing with Care

Cara Wilson

A playful research tool for talking about healthcare, social care and design.

About the project:

The Co-designing with Care card deck is a participatory research tool that helps structure group discussions about healthcare, social care and how we might design better ecologies of care.

The deck is built to explore six interconnected care spectra that were identified during prior research by the Advance Care Research Centre:

  • Formal Care →︎ Informal Care.
  • Past Care →︎ Future Care.
  • Individual Care →︎ Collective Care.
  • One-Way Care →︎ Reciprocal Care.
  • Human Care →︎ More-than-Human Care.
  • Tangible Care →︎ Intangible Care.
The twelve care spectrum cards arranged into their pairs.

In the deck are three types of cards:

  • Care Spectrum Cards, which visualise the care spectra using abstracted illustrations.
  • Example Cards, which feature various people, places, things, times and qualities related to care.
  • D.I.Y. Cards, which allow participants to add context-specific examples to the deck.
A variety of example and D.I.Y. cards with annotations.

All of the cards have a dry-erasable surface, allowing them to be annotated and bundled together into care constellations that describe past, present and potential future scenarios of care. These care constellations can then be explored further by putting them into conversation with the six care spectra.

The front and back of five activity cards.
A publication about this work, Creating Resources for Designing With and For Care Ecologies in HCI (Wilson et al., 2024), is due to be published later this year in the conference proceedings of DIS 2024.


The Co-designing with Care card deck is a research output from the Institute for Education, Community and Society and the Institute for Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. It was designed by Dr Cara Wilson and Joe Revans; illustrated by Peter Tilley; manufactured by Ivory Graphics; and playtested by our peers at the university. With additional conceptual development from Prof John Vines, Dr Larissa Pschetz, Billy Dixon and the Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC).

This work was supported by the Wellcome-University of Edinburgh Institutional Strategic Support Fund (204804/Z/16/Z).

Copyright © Joe Revans 2024