Swipe Inwards

The Technicities of Care in a Psychiatric Precinct


  • Professor Laurene Vaughan RMIT
  • Dr Melisa Duque
  • Professor Sarah Pink
  • Associate Professor Shanti Sumartojo




Door designs, psychiatry hospital, autonomy, security, sensory design , ethnography


Infrastructures of accessibility have a significant impact on people’s sensory experience of privacy, autonomy, and security in a psychiatric hospital. This is the case for patients and staff. Through an examination of the material and social interactions that staff and patients have at four inpatient psychiatric units, we have identified some of the affective aspects of using a variety of technologies. From locked and alarmed doors, to swipe cards, keys, and individual wristbands used to allow secure access and privacy within the units, each of these infrastructures afford different and sometimes paradoxical experiences. Through this analysis of the ways in which the embodied experiences of accessibility exist in relation to the interior technicities, this article discusses some of the implications for the design and use of physical environments that are dedicated to care, specifically, for psychiatric wellbeing. 


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How to Cite

Vaughan, Laurene, Melisa Duque, Sarah Pink, and Shanit Sumartojo. 2020. “Swipe Inwards: The Technicities of Care in a Psychiatric Precinct”. Idea Journal 17 (01):170-86. https://doi.org/10.37113/ij.v17i01.328.