On Wednesday, February 8, 2017, the Futures Initiative hosted “Accessibility, Mobility, and Design,” with presentations by panelists Sara Hendren (Olin College) and April Coughlin (SUNY, New Paltz). Several different kinds of mobility were described during the hour-long discussion, including rock climbing, skateboarding, wheeling, walking, and waffle-making.
- Watch a captioned video
- Check out the photos from the event
- Notes from the event are captured on our collaborative Google Doc
Sara joined remotely from Cambridge, MA thanks to the wonderful assistive nature of technology and presented a few examples her collaborative work with students and people with disabilities at the Adaptation + Ability Group at Olin College. She also presented some intriguing examples of how different types of disabilities open up possibilities for architectural space and business models built on capabilities and described some unexpected collaborations between users of different wheeled devices.
April shared memorable experiences as a wheeler and disability rights advocate and presented some of her dissertation research on the state of accessibility in the New York City public school system and the experiences of high school students with physical disabilities. Her presentation concluded with a similar question to one that was brought up in the film excerpt; do we want to make spaces accessible because the law compels us to, or do we want to design environments that include and welcome people with disabilities?