Design for Wellbeing. An Open Access Toolkit for managing stress and anxiety in performance context
The aim of this project is to identify and organize practical strategies for anxiety management and, by using design methodologies make them accessible and sharable. The project focuses on the positive routines that people can apply in order to improve their self-lerning skills on how to handle pre-performance anxiety. By ‘anxiety’, we mean a multidimensional somatic, behavioural, cognitive and emotional state found particularly in the artistic sector, and which is also a model for many other social and professional contexts.

In the performing arts, in the medical, sports and academic sectors, anxiety management is an essential factor for health development and enhancement, and also especially for the quality of a professional performance, at any level. The problem is not new, and is associated with the challenges generated by a society that is becoming more and more demanding. The pressure exerted by social expectations and by self-judgement impact increasingly on the performers’ emotional, sychological and physiological balance. According to the ‘World Happiness report 2017’, even in Switzerland, one of the happiest countries in the world, one fifth of health problems are related to malfunctions caused by overload, depression or anxiety. The project therefore arose from the idea that some people naturally develop their own strategies for dealing positively with anxiety situations, and that these behaviours, structured and illustrated by means of design, may be useful in many educational and professional contexts. By combining design with the world of performing arts and behavioural studies, the project aims to reach two main objectives: Design for Wellbeing. An Open Access Toolkit for managing stress and anxiety in performance context Interview with Vanessa De Luca, joint project director Axis 7 – The role of arts in life and well-being of citizens and their communities firstly, design a tool to make accessible and usable an exceptionally rich set of strategies and techniques for managing stress, anxiety and positive emotions can be made accessible and usable. This digital toolkit will be created by a partecipatory design approach. A second objective consists of identifying future design scenarios that integrate technologies for behavioural health. We view this project as an opening contribution to the design for wellbeing interdisciplinary research area, aimed at stimulating users experiences and interactions that can improve the quality of life.

» Interview with Vanessa De Luca, joint project director