I am thrilled to see how the Breaking down Barriers Project is taking off – well done Christina, Jeanne-Louise and the rest of the BdB team.
The University of Reading is leading the way in its approach to embedding inclusive design into the built environment teaching and learning programmes and is a real support for the Government’s Built Environment Professional Education project (BEPE).
BEPE aims to embed inclusive design teaching and learning into all built environment programmes so that every newly qualified built environment professional has the skills, knowledge, understanding and attitude to deliver accessible and inclusive buildings, places and spaces in their future professional lives. The work at Reading can really help to make inclusive design business as usual.
I would like to remind all built environment students that Inclusive Design wins prizes! The RSA (Royal Society of Arts) Student Design Awards includes a brief called Inclusive Cities this year (see the RSA SDA Inclusive Cities brief). The competition opened for submissions on 27th January and closes on 10th March. Built environment undergraduate and postgraduate students can submit a design, project, plan or strategy that demonstrates an understanding of inclusive design principles and processes – do please enter.
I am looking forward to the attending the School of Architecture event next week to participate and discuss ideas for a shared curriculum – education, practice and industry – and to discuss how the new architecture programme starting this autumn is embedding inclusive design.
BEPE Project Lead
Office for Disability Issues
Adrian Tagg, a lecturer in SCME and an experienced practising Building Surveyor is our latest BdB adopter. Adrian recently introduced Access Audits into the core second year Building Surveying module which he now leads, using case studies from continental Europe. This session followed presentations to Building Surveying students from Geoff Cook and Christina Duckett on inclusive design basics, and workshops similar to those previously undertaken by Typography students, allowing students to appreciate the impact of visual impairment on everyday tasks by simulation exercises. Students on SCME’s optional third year Inclusive Environments module also participated in the sessions: this module is open to students of all disciplines within SCME.
Adrian’s engagement with BdB means that Inclusive design is now embedded into a core module within an undergraduate programme in SCME run by a member of staff who is not part of the core BdB team, which is great news. We’re keen for other Reading colleagues to join us as adopters. If you’re interested in finding out more about becoming a BdB adopter, please contact Christina Duckett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our BdB project team has expanded and now encompasses representatives from the School of Systems Engineering at the University. We’re pleased to welcome Faustina Hwang and Nic Hollinworth to our team.
Faustina’s research interests are in human-computer interaction, particularly the design of technology for older adults and people with disabilities. She has been working in this area for 15 years, following her PhD on cursor control for people with motor impairment. Since then, she has been working with older adults on technology to address malnutrition, people with aphasia on computer applications to support language therapy, and people with learning disabilities on multisensory approaches to museum engagement. She collaborates with colleagues from a range of disciplines including art, built environment, clinical language sciences, human nutrition, psychology, and typography. She is an Associate Editor for the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Transactions on Accessible Computing. You can read more about her projects here.
Nic Hollinworth is a researcher who works on the Interactive Sensory Objects project. He also conducts research into improving computer interaction for older adults, and making accessible electronics. He is a computer scientist, engineer and designer with an interest in creating novel interaction experiences and making objects active through the use of embedded microcontrollers.
Our BdB team are busy planning our next inclusive design workshop collaboration between SACD and SCME. The focus for our next workshop is digital inclusivity. Typography students will be engaging with user experience of digital platforms in relation to issues like manual dexterity and colour blindness. Christina Duckett and Jeanne-Louise Moys will co-facilitate the workshop, which feeds directly into an assessed project for which typography students are designing recipe apps.
Our BdB team is thrilled to have been awarded funding for a field visit to an inclusive urban design project during Enhancement Week this term.
This proposal contributes to our strategy to embed inclusive design teaching and learning within relevant programmes across the University. It involves a structured site visit to The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London hosted by David Bonnett Associates, an inclusive design consultancy which advised on the redevelopment project. The visit will include an introductory lecture on inclusive design principles and practice by David Bonnett and colleague, followed by a group exercise to explore the accessibility issues that faced the project team during the design and development of the project.
The visit will support the inter-disciplinary ethos of the BdB project by allocating spaces to students from real estate and planning, building and construction and graphic design, and prospective students in architecture. The project work at the Roundhouse will be organised in similar inter-disciplinary teams, and involve design analysis, creative problem solving and group brain-storming and discussion. The project will offer undergraduate students from SBE, SACD and REP an exciting opportunity to collaborate and broaden their understanding of how different disciplines engage and contribute to the production of inclusivity in design.
Another innovative aspect of the proposal is that offer-holders for the new BSc programme in Architecture will also be invited to attend the site visit, thereby introducing them to aspects of inclusive architectural design and inter-disciplinary working before joining the course.
Congratulations and thanks in particular to Joe Doak who put forward the proposal and is organising the visit.