Hilary Cottam is a founding partner of the London-based firm Participle, which is attempting to redesign social services in the UK by developing fresh approaches to education, caring for seniors, and other services. Cottam has also worked on the redesign of prisons. In 2005 she was named UK Designer of the Year.
In Glimmer: Cottam shows how the design of social networks for seniors can improve their lives and actually save money on government social services.
Currently working on: In addition to projects for the aging, Participle is trying to apply design in finding new ways to help so-called “chaotic families” in Britain (those dealing with extreme poverty, violence, health or drug problems).
Quote: “There’s been a lot of effort spent trying to reform institutions which are just so out of step with society. They can’t really perform any more because needs and issues that people are trying to deal with have changed so much. What’s needed is a real rethink if we’re going to provide social services that are suitable for the 21st century.”
Websites: www.participle.com, www.hilarycottam.com