Designing for and with the Vulnerable


Co-design and participatory design have been gaining popularity in recent times, but what does this process look like when the end users are disenfranchised or feel voiceless How might design practitioners empower them to be part of the design process to shape a better future for themselves?

In this workshop, ThinkPlace will introduce the “Sensitive Facilitation” methods they use when engaging members from various vulnerable communities, including but not limited to (at-risk) children, migrant workers, persons with disabilities, elderly, low-income families, families in the family court system and social service system, etc.

Why is Sensitive facilitation important?

ThinkPlace believes Sensitive Facilitation can equip design practitioners to design better for, and with the vulnerable in the following ways:​

  • Sensitive facilitation as a means to give a voice to the voiceless – creating safe spaces for them to share their experiences meaningfully, empowering them to be part of the design process.​
  • Sensitive facilitation as a tool to navigate difficult and “taboo” topics and conversations – topics such as family abuse, violence, workplace discrimination, and addiction are highly sensitive and can be trauma-inducing.

What can participants expect to gain from of the workshop?​

In this 3-hour workshop, participants can expect to learn and have discussions around:

  • How to conduct meaningful research while respecting participants’ boundaries and ensuring no harm to them, without skirting too much around the topic.
  • How to get deep insights around lived experiences of the vulnerable.
  • How to ensure participants’ dignity is protected when discussing sensitive topics,
  • What some risk management considerations are when facilitating topics that can be emotionally charged and trauma inducing.
  • How to design and set up the entire process, from recruitment to the physical engagement experience, to ensure participants’ comfort.

At the end of the workshop, participants will gain:

  • An understanding of what Sensitive Facilitation entails and how they can apply it in their design practice, or work that they do.
  • Hands-on practice on designing activities for Sensitive Facilitation.
  • Cross-learnings with other design practitioners around engaging with vulnerable communities.


Shubaashini Vijayamohan
Lead Designer (Stakeholder Engagement Practice Lead)
ThinkPlace Singapore

Shubaashini was at the forefront of exploring deliberative and participatory engagement methods in the Singapore public service before joining ThinkPlace three years ago to extend her impact. She is an individual driven by heart, passion, and the intent to provide suitable approaches for individuals from all walks of life to contribute to conversations that matter to them.

Eunice Siow
Senior Designer
ThinkPlace Singapore

Eunice is an experienced facilitator and designer at ThinkPlace, specialising in engaging vulnerable user groups and creating safe spaces for conversations with them. She is a designer by training and her approach towards co-design is in tailoring methods to meaningfully engage different users in the design process.


ThinkPlace Singapore

ThinkPlace is a global network spanning 12 studios across seven countries. Using design-led, human-centred approaches to tackle the world’s most complex challenges, their work often involves pioneering change and partnering local and global organisations to bring across sustainable impact, empathetic outcomes and ethical results. ​ ​

Learn more at


Name: Eunice Siow
Email Address:

Image courtesy of ThinkPlace Singapore.



30 Sep 2023


9.30am – 12.30pm


ThinkPlace Singapore
GB Building Singapore
143 Cecil Street
Singapore 069542






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