Engineering the Imagination: Disability, Prostheses and the Body



Partners and collaborators

EatFish Design, Leeds


Professor Stuart Murray and Dr Raymond Holt collaborated on an award-winning project that explored the relationship between Engineering and Medical Humanities through the design of a prosthetic hand to convey empathy. The Engineering the Imagination project was designed to develop critical dialogues between the disciplines of engineering design and literary/cultural studies and subsequently work towards better provision of assistive technologies for those with disabilities. The team achieved this this through experimental and innovative methods designed to increase understanding of the ways in which literary and cultural narratives and theories about the body can be brought to bear on engineering practice and the design and production of prosthetic limbs. The project aimed to address the ways in which human/non-human relations are built through ideas of empathy, affect, interdependence and cultural imaginings, and especially how they are filtered through the optics of design, technology and use. The project led to the production of ‘deliberately’ disabled hands that were showcased at the British Academy in June 2018. Attendees were invited interact with the hands and explore the relationship between disability design and the use of prosthetics.The work undertaken for the APEX project has played a key role in developing further research plans around cultural narratives and engineering/design methodologies.