OCAD University

OCAD University welcomes the Inclusive Design

Research Centre and the Inclusive Design Institute

(Toronto — October 12, 2010) OCAD University (OCADU) is pleased to welcome the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and the Inclusive Design Institute (IDI) to its campus. With world-renowned inclusive design expert Jutta Treviranus leading the two entities, OCAD University greatly strengthens its leadership in the fields of accessibility and inclusive design of information and communication systems and practices.

“Like sustainability, inclusive design is an essential cross-cutting perspective on design that will help propel OCADU as an international leader in innovation for our ever more diverse society,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD University. “Jutta and her world-class team of researchers bring a wealth of expertise, experience and networks that ideally complement OCADU’s agenda.”

The IDRC is the reconstitution of the 16 year-old Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) of the University of Toronto at OCADU. The IDRC, continuing the important international role of the ATRC, conducts multi-disciplinary, multi-sector research and development on the inclusive design of emerging information and communication systems and practices — or designing for diversity. IDRC research addresses the full lifecycle of information and communication systems and practices — from design to implementation to evaluation and policy. The IDRC research community values collaboration, broad participation, transparency, and openness. The Inclusive Design Institute is a regional research hub, led by Jutta Treviranus, funded by both the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation with 8 postsecondary institutions as core partners, namely OCADU, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Sheridan, George Brown College and Seneca College. The IDI shares the research focus of the IDRC. Both IDI and IDRC research projects engage a range of collaborating organizations from around the world.

“Accessibility and inclusion are not only rights to be protected, but catalysts for new ideas, design principles that lead to better design, business strategies that make good business sense, and economic drivers with ubiquitous social benefits,” said Treviranus. “OCADU has the agility, imagination and creativity we need to realize the promise of inclusive design.”

Recognizing the need for human capacity to meet the accessible design requirements in Ontario brought about by the imminent release of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Information and Communication standard, and the growing demand globally for accessible products and services, the move includes the development of an academic program in inclusive design at the undergraduate, graduate and professional development levels, complementing OCADU’s Digital Futures Initiative.

Treviranus and her team bring with them over 15 multi-partner research projects in the educational, cultural, health, economic, policy and international development domain. All projects are open source and open access, thereby enabling active student engagement.

About Jutta Treviranus
Jutta Treviranus has over 25 years of experience in the field of accessibility. She established the ATRC in 1993, leading it to its global stature. Treviranus has led many international multi-partner research networks that have created broadly implemented technical innovations that support inclusion. Recent projects include the Fluid Project (http://fluidproject.org), Fluid Engage, CulturAll, Stretch, FLOE and many others. Treviranus and her team have pioneered personalization as an approach to accessibility in the digital domain. Her team also leads several successful ongoing open source projects that attempt to infuse inclusive user experience design sensibilities into open source networks. She has played a leading role in developing accessibility legislation, standards, specifications and policies internationally, including WAI ATAG, IMS AccessForAll, ISO 24751, and the AODA Information and Communication standard.

About IDRC/IDI projects:

FLOE (Flexible Learning for Open Education) (floeproject.org), funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is creating a global infrastructure to address the learning needs of learners, including learners with disabilities, by matching each learner's individual accessibility needs and preferences with a learning resource that meets those needs. FLOE has many partners around the world and will also address accessible mobile learning delivery in Africa, Latin America and India.

The Fluid Project (http://fluidproject.org/) creates web application building blocks that infuse accessibility and inclusive user experience design into the software ecosystem. Fluid components are part of the software toolkits broadly used to create interactive Web programs, thereby ensuring they are accessible to users with disabilities.

The Accessible Digital Office Document project, supported by UNESCO and the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, is developing international guidelines for creating accessible office documents including spreadsheets and presentations.

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information, contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

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