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Inclusive Design (MDes)

Offering graduate students a unique opportunity to become global leaders in the emerging field of inclusive design in information and communication technologies (ICT) and practices.

Tools from OCAD University's Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) labs. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Kate Sellen

Kate Sellen used to work as an interactions designer for tax and banking systems. Then, her dad got sick. Sellen’s dad waited six months to get into hospital with an aneurysm and she had to intervene and act as his advocate “This lead me to think what can we do differently here,” she says.

Sellen switched fields to focus on design for healthcare and inclusive design. “At OCAD U, I can engage with designers and healthcare specialists to make things happen,” she says.

In OCAD U’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation graduate program, Sellen teaches how to design from a human perspective.

Sellen also advises students on thesis projects – she focuses on techniques on bringing people into the design process. “Co-design is so important,” she says. “Traditional design privileges the designer but co-design democratizes the process and privileges the people you’re trying to help.”

Sellen is now working on design techniques for understanding end of life needs. She’s exploring how medical professionals and families can communicate better across distances. Sellen is working with Saint Elizabeth to help caregivers get people talking about the information needed at end of life.

Sellen’s also working on a typeface project around alternative displays of type. She’s developing algorithms to distort typefaces to make the shapes of words appear differently to help people avoid mistakes in medication names, and for people with diverse vision and language needs.

Learn more about Sellen’s professional experience and publications.

Geoffrey Shea

Geoffrey Shea is currently creating a series of video profiles for Akimbo with his son who has cerebral palsy. “My experience with inclusive design stems from knowing my son’s experiences of non-inclusivity,” says Shea.

Shea teaches a summer intensive course exploring art methodologies to enhance the design of inclusive solutions. He brings the ideas of art to inclusive design.

Shea’s focus is digital media, video and installation. His artwork has been exhibited widely and was featured at two recent Nuit Blanches in Toronto and the exhibition “Talk to Me” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“I support the principles of inclusivity,” says Shea. “The road to making the world more accessible is by changing attitudes more than building ramps. And, changing those attitudes is a big part of this program’s objectives.” Shea focuses on the role of artists to change attitudes.

Shea has worked extensively with artists with disabilities including organizing artist residencies in the past. “We celebrate cultural differences and understand these differences enrich us,” says Shea. “But disabilities are about integration – ‘I’m blind but I can do whatever you can’. This sweeps differences under the rug instead of embracing them. Artists with disabilities can help us celebrate these differences.”

Learn more about Shea’s professional experience.



Elizabeth Morris

Elizabeth Morris is a professional deaf actor, American Sign Language coach/consultant for theatre and film and an elementary teacher. She was born in England and has also lived in Japan and the United States. As a teenager, Elizabeth was part of the Young Scholars’ Program at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. It is the only liberal arts university for the deaf in the world. She became part of a touring theatre of the deaf, “Quest for Arts,” in Washington, DC, during which time she performed in Romania, South Africa, Japan, Australia and Mexico. Later, she returned to study as an undergraduate at Gallaudet and graduated with a BA in elementary education and educational drama. Elizabeth was also a member of The National Theatre of the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. Growing up with a hard-of-hearing brother and also a deaf autistic brother, Elizabeth has always been keenly aware that no two people with a hearing loss are exactly the same. Accessibility to theatre and media presents different challenges for each person with a hearing loss, and the problem of accessibility in these areas is something she would like to address in her graduate research.


Kaveh Ashourinia

Monique Desnoyers

Keshia Godin

Chad Lesch

Nellai Manickvasagam Arumuganain

Alwar graduated from Symbiosis Institute of Design, India in Communication Design, specialising in User Experience Design. She was drawn to the field as it involved making applications according to requirements of users. The field gave a perfect balance of analytical and creative thinking. After completing her course, Alwar went on to working in the industry as a UX designer. She had the opportunity to work on multiple projects in the span of 10 months, designing websites, portals in the field of travel, project management and inventory management. Her role in the project was to design the information architecture, task flows,wireframes and prototypes for the application. She worked with teams ranging from 5-30 people. She learnt the value of punctuality, communication and the responsibility of managing a team. She also learnt the importance of her role as a designer and the loop holes in the process currently in the industry. Alwar chose to go back to school to strengthen her foundation in UCD (user centric design) and develop a holistic approach to designing products. Alwar was fascinated by the Inclusive design program at OCAD U as it makes applications accessible and usable for a diverse range of users. She is looking forward to learning and collaborating with a diverse group of motivated individuals inspired to bring change in their respective fields.

Hana Park

Ather Shabbar

Anna Stranks

Anna Stranks is Principal of STUDIO A Design Collaborative, a design firm focused on Human Centered Design Solutions. Her portfolio of work includes design in national and international markets for corporate, large scale residential, Institutional, and healthcare sectors. In 1998 Anna received ARIDO’s Gold Award for Designer of the Year.

Anna is a LEED Accredited Professional, actively involved in promoting sustainable design as well as universal design principals to interior environments. She has been a guest speaker at IIDEX on the subject of LEED on behalf of the CAGBC and on Healthy Environments sponsored by Azure Magazine. 

As a registered member of ARIDO and IDC, Anna has held a past role as President of the ARIDO GTA Chapter and has participated on ARIDO’s Continuing Education Committee as a course reviewer. In 2006, She represented ARIDO and Canadian practitioners on a task force to help develop a Masters Program for Interior Designers across North America. Anna was a founding team member of ART x Designers Exhibition (AXD). 

After graduating from Ryerson School of Interior Design (RSID) and recognizing the importance of knowledge sharing, Anna has been a part-time instructor at RSID and is currently an adjunct professor at Humber College School of Applied Technology. She has participated on the RSID Advisory Council from 2002 to 2005 as President and Chair of Strategic Planning and currently participates on the Advisory Board at Humber College.

Deidre Tomlinson

Deidre (often introduced as Dee) has a colourful sense, both personally and professionally. She has graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Urban & Regional Planning from Ryerson University.

Dee has worked at various organizations, during which she has demonstrated comprehensive capabilities in the arts, humanities, and natural/physical sciences. She has also presented work in a range of creative areas, such as music, architecture, and dance.

Overall, Dee’s interests fall within the ‘interactive’ dimension of cities. Using her interdisciplinary background, she advocates for more playfulness and (participatory) public art in urban places. During the course of the MDes Inclusive Design program, Dee hopes to continue exploring the intersection of aesthetics and psychogeography, while developing spaces and experiences via inclusive design strategies.

Kyrie Vala-Webb

Abid Virani

Desiree Walsh

Has a B.A in Philosophy from Brock University as well as a post grad diploma in Human Resources Management from Centennial College. She currently works for the Toronto district School Board as a Temporary Clerical Staff. She is passionate about accessibility and access for all and has been an advocate for making the Toronto District School more accessible for both students and staff. In her spare time she enjoys going to the cottage and spending time with her family’s cat Max

Zheyu Wang


Adam Antoszek-Rallo

Rezvan Boostani

Cindy Dong

Ahmed Ghalib

Cathy He

Aniyamuzaala James Rwampigi

Caitlin Jordan

Fatemeh Kafaei

Teresa Lee

Annie Levy

M McLean

Vanshika Sarin

Felipe Sarmiento

Jen Serdetchnaia

Dana Shalab Alsham

Rylan Vroom

Yao Wang


Most courses will be team taught, engaging experts in the field, researchers in the Inclusive Design Research Centre as well as program faculty members at OCAD U.


Philippe Blanchard, Animation, Drawing & Painting, Digital Media
Annette Blum, Corporate Graphic Design, Wayfinding
Ian Clarke, Sustainability/Biology
Peter Coppin, Inclusive Design, Perceptual-Cognitive Approaches to Design, Visual Art and Design
Maya Desai,
Cheryl Giraudy, Architecture, Research for Inclusive Wayfinding, Facilities Planning
Bruce Hinds, Environmental Design/Architecture
Sandra Kedey, Strategy & Brand Design, Art Direction/Integrated Design, Creative Direction/Convergent Communication
Jana Macalik, Exhibition Design, Interior Design, Design Research
Isabel Mireilles, Information Design, Visualization Communication Design
Gayle Nicoll, Health Design, Environment-based Health Policy and Practice, Human/Environmental Behaviour
Neil Pradhu,
Ryan Rice,
Ala Roushan,
Job Rutgers, Innovation Design
Kate Sellen, Design for Healthcare, Interaction Design, Design Research
Geoffrey Shea, Digital Media, Video Installation, Mobile Media
Adam Tindale, New Interfaces for Musical Expression, Music Technology, Creative Programming
Sarah Tranum, Strategic Design
Jutta Treviranus, Inclusive Design, Inclusive Education, Accessibility
Karin Von Ompteda, Data Visualisation, Typography, Graphic Design
Alia Weston, Creative Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise and Informal Economy, African and Latin American Management Practices


Alonzo Addison
Lillian Allen
Haim Bresheeth
Sambhavi Chandrashekar
Cristobal Cobo Romani
Leslie Conery
Una Daly
Victoria Dickenson
Mick Donegan
Sher Doruff
Denise Doyle
Brian Duffy
Deborah Fels
Axel Leblois
Jacquelyn Morie
Pauline Murphy
David Pereyra
Patricia Rockman
Jeremi Sudol
Lynne Teather
Stuart Walker
Jeb Weisman
Huw Williams


Ron Baecker
Kathryn Church
Lizbeth Goodman
Clayton Lewis


Anastasia Cheetham, Software developer
Colin Clark, Software
Deborah Fels, Interface design
Greg Gay, Web accessibility
Hajer Chalghoumi, Technology assisted teaching for students with disabilities
James William Yoon, Information systems, computer science
Jan Richards, American sign language
Jorge Silva, Haptic navigation, engineering
Joseph Scheuhammer, E-learning
Justin Obara, Web-user interface
Kevin Stolarick, Information systems, creative economy
Michelle D’Souza, Software
Rhonda McEwen, Mobile technology
Sambhavi Chandrashekar, Accessible design, human-computer interaction
Vera Roberts, E-learning