Strategies for Incorporating Anti-ableism into Design Curriculum
Cheryl Fogle-Hatch,MuseumSenses, Founder and Chief consultant
Robin Marquis;Access Smithsonian/the Peale, Community Outreach Coordinator/Accessibility Manager
Abstract from 2021 SEGD Communication + Place
More than one billion people across the globe live with one or more disabilities, a number that is expected to increase. As we age, members of all demographics including race, religion, gender, socioeconomic class, and nationality will develop one or more disabilities. Ableism is the discrimination against people due to their differences in mobility, vision, hearing, self-care and independent living, cognitive abilities, and neurodiversities. As with other “isms” such as racism and sexism, ableism is a form of systemic and cultural oppression. If we are oblivious about the forms ableism can take, then we will (inadvertently) be creating inaccessible physical and digital spaces. As educators, we need to be preparing the next generations of designers and architects to foster inclusion.
Despite disability and ableism’s prevalence, we are reluctant to address it as a society and within design and design education communities. Search results show how the SEGD community has been addressing disability from a legal and policy perspective, but it is important to consider it from a human-centered, social justice one as well.
Using a recent exhibition project as a case study, we offer six insights for implementing disability and anti-ableism content into design curriculum. We include written responses from students and the lead author’s ethnographic field notes. Our results demonstrate how the disability curriculum reshaped the students’ approaches to their design projects
Read more in the 2021 SEGD Communication + Place journal and other papers at https://segd.org/academic-design-research.
Communication + Place is the official research journal of the Experiential Graphic Design community. Published online, the journal features articles from both academics and professionals advancing the XGD profession through creative research, curriculum development, project reviews, and user-centric testing.