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De Verborgen Vervreemding (The Hidden Alienation)

An ongoing social designer’s investigation into the bodily alienation experienced by adults diagnosed with personality disorders.

Project details

Honours Programme
RASL Re-Imagining Tomorrow Through Arts and Sciences

‘The Hidden Alienation’ is the title of the ongoing social design research into the bodily alienation and emptiness experienced by adults diagnosed with personality disorders and how to make this experience more comfortable. To determine the elements and needs connected to bodily alienation and emptiness, focus groups, co-creation sessions, and interviews with those who are experiencing it as well as a range of experts were employed.

The Hidden Alienation

After an operation, I experienced bodily alienation myself, which was when the project began. After recognizing and hearing about other peoples bodily alienation in my own environment, I became invested to dive deeper in to the topic. This is where the focus groups and co-creation sessions started.

During the focus group, it became clear that there are different reasons for bodily alienation, but I saw the importance of defining a target group. It became discernible that people with a personality disorder, can feel a bodily alienation related to emptiness. This hit close to home – where I endure this as well. After the focus group, I came in contact with likeminded adults who endure the same disorder as well as the bodily alienation and emptiness to investigate the needs regarding this feeling.

^ A visualization of the bodily alienation endured by an adult with a personality disorder.

^ A visualization of the bodily alienation endured by an adult with a personality disorder.

The target group’s most crucial statements are that they want to feel recognized and acknowledged, that they don’t want to feel alone, that they don’t require a support group, and that their feelings of alienation are usual. However, they also want to feel¬†comfortable in the emptiness and alienation brought on by their personality disorder. Something reliable enough to hold on to. This led to the development of the following query: how can I, as a social designer, help individuals suffering from personality disorders feel less alone and more comfortable in their alienated emptiness?

To test how this recognition and acknowledgement could be felt by the target group, I started to illustrate what was mentioned during the different inquiries.

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The target group felt that it could be a little booklet, which you can open up when you are having a hard time during the bodily alienation and emptiness, which resulted in sketches for testing.

Following the testing of various spreads, feedback indicated that while a booklet would be nice, it would not ensure the desired effect of comfort. This inquiry is still ongoing in an effort to find a desired piece that will help the target group feel less alone and more at ease when dealing with the physical alienation and emptiness that can come with having a personality disorder.

I am eager to explore this topic from multiple perspectives. I am available to discuss potential collaborations, ideas, and insights, as well as personal experiences of the bodily alienation and emptiness that can accompany a personality disorder. Therefore, the work at the Graduation Show is a tool to explore further on to this topic. For more elaborate information on the research, such as the research document, you can always contact me.

You can find me on LinkedIn or you can e-mail me at


Lianne is a graduate of the Transformation Design bachelor at the Willem de Kooning Academie with Honours and awaiting her results for the International Bachelor of Arts & Culture Studies (IBACS) study at Erasmus University Rotterdam, which is part of the RASL Dual Degree. She conducted a qualitative study at Erasmus University on how social designers perceive their role for fostering sustainable community development in Zuid-Holland .

‘Er is werk aan de winkel’

Her motto is ‘er is werk aan de winkel’, which translates to that there is always work that needs to be done. Change happens every day, some with more urgency than others. Whether it is within yourself, for others, for the world, for ‘more than human’: the world keeps turning. As a trans-disciplinary social researcher and designer, Lianne would like to help bring about these necessary changes. She is an intermediary between the target audience, the experts (e.g. scientists), and the designers. For this reason, she does not want to bypass any (social) issue. Her passion for people and society drives her to enter into different types of collaborations – as she did showed during her graduation process. She has a passion for design thinking, co-creation, sociology, philosophy and psychology and is not afraid to get her hands dirty, which is shown in the research she undertakes or by getting additional training.