“How people die lives on in the memory of those who live on.”
– Dame Cicely Saunders,
founder of the modern hospice movement
How do we prepare to die? Not usually a question we want to spend a lot of time thinking about, and yet, it's incredibly important. It’s often a question not answered until it is too late. This became very real for me with the sudden death of my grandfather. This was my first encounter with losing someone close, and I became acutely aware of how wildly unprepared we were as a family in dealing with death and talking about the end-of-life.
As a researcher and game designer, this event sparked me into thinking whether I could design an applied game that could help alleviate some of the challenges that come with talking about death and dying. I soon turned this idea into a design research project which I explored extensively during the 2 years of my Master Design program at Willem de Kooning Academy.
I designed and iterated the game over the span of many design cycles involving deathcare workers, graduate student design researchers, and subject experts in both deathcare and game design. I presented 'When My Time Comes: An End-of-Life Conversation Game' as the final prototype of the game in my graduation thesis (2022).
*Read about the design research journey behind the game in my Master thesis (93 pages)
'When My Time Comes' is a collaborative board game that offers individuals, families, and communities a light-hearted and connective way to talk about the end-of-life.
Through the game, players can reflect on the different aspects of end-of-life planning and gain clarity on what their wishes may be through peer feedback and storytelling.
I’m a game thinker and design researcher who is passionate about designing for social innovation. In my work, I like to explore how games can be used as tools for understanding, empathy, and social change. I do this by using design methods and approaches that are personal, iterative, and participatory.
Originally from Hong Kong, I studied and lived in the United States for 10 years before moving to the Netherlands in 2017.
Over the years I've designed and published two games, 'Empathic Wisdom Cards' and 'Cards for Couples', and been a part of the development of numerous applied game projects, including most recently, the award-winning “Beyond Design: the Game of Social Solutions” with Studio Renate Boere.
online and offline;
locally & internationally
an applied game developed during a Design Research
including the general public, deathcare professionals and their clients
3 design cycles
designed over 3 design cycles starting as a card game, to an online game, to finally a board game
How a conversation game about death can help us reflect on living and dying well.
Grief Support Practitioner
“We laughed the whole time, and all had something to contribute to the conversation at hand. It felt very comfortable and even fun to talk about an often challenging topic.”
"I'd recommend this game to anyone with a family! Or anyone who is in a death-curious space that wants to have a guided and playful way to be able to have difficult conversations."
Grief & End-of-life Doula
“It just felt so good to laugh and talk about things that we don't often get to talk about.
The conversations felt so nourishing. It was a real gift.”
Up until early July 2022, the game has been developed under the structure of the Master Design program. Now having graduated, I'll be taking the month of August and September to explore the future strategy and plans for the project.
This includes researching production and grant options, potential partnerships or collaborations that will enable me to share the game with a wider audience.
The game was selected as one of the project proposals by Mediamatic (an art organisation based in Amsterdam, NL) and I'll be giving a talk about the game on July 28th, 2022 (in-person & open to the public).
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