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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

Adam Rallo is the Principal and founder at Catalyst Workshop, a Toronto based design & development consultancy. A proud Registered Graphic Designer of Ontario, he is the current President of the RGD Certification Board for Graphic Designers. He also teaches as part-time faculty at both Sheridan College and Humber College, while serving on the curriculum committee for the Bachelor of Design program at York University / Sheridan College. A vocal proponent of accessible and inclusive user-centric design, Adam is passionate about creating positive social impact through the interaction of design, pedagogy, and technology.

Adam has been practicing design professionally since graduating Cum Laude from the York/Sheridan Bachelor of Design program in 2002. His diverse body of work has included an invaluable three-month stint in Ghana West Africa, and designing one of the top ranked downloads at His work has been awarded and presented in various publications, exhibitions and institutions across North America including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. He is opinionated enough to have been invited as a professional speaker and writer on topics ranging from accessibility, design, education, entrepreneurship, and technology. He is also an active scholar on issues related to biology, gender, equality, human behaviour, and human nature. Adam spends whatever free time he has left pursuing his obsession with music.

Rezvan Boostani

Rezvan is a passionate Graphic Designer with extensive work experience in both Visual Communication and Illustration as well as Surface/textile design.

She has received her bachelor degree of Textile design from Science and Culture University and graduated from Art and Architecture University with M.A in Illustration in Iran.  She worked in these fields for several years before moving to Canada.

She has experienced working in different companies from working in a lighting product company with engineers being responsible for all the advertisements including magazine, website mock ups, catalogues, banners, major translation, gathering information and research for the aforementioned ads; to working as an icon designer for an online commerce company, and working with an industrial printing company as a visual designer.

Rezvan is an experienced photographer with an insatiable passion for music.  She joined an all-female Rock Band in Iran - Chameleon band - as a guitar player, and has been a member for the past two years.

Coming from a diverse artistic background she likes to communicate to a larger community through art. She has a deep interest in influence of art on society and international affairs. She is passionate about designing inclusively and using the variety of artistic media to develop ideas and solutions through which the world becomes a more accessible place.

Cindy Dong

Ahmed Ghalib

My name is Ahmed Fahar Ghalib, I am an architect working in the construction field since 2008.

When I graduated from Ajman University in summer 2008. The global economic crisis was already spreading through the world, So I tried to look for a job in the architectural field but it was all in veins, because at that time architecture firms was already releasing their architects for the lack of projects in another word the lack of funds because at that time banks stopped funding projects, they said and I quote (there was no more cash in the banks).

So I worked as Quantity Surveyor and it was the closest thing I found related to architecture line of work. After two years I start working as site engineer for several projects mostly Villas, then I have been promoted to work as Project Engineer for SAIF Zone Mosque Project, which is the biggest mosque located in Sharjah Airport Free Zone.

Last year I worked in Ajman University Buildings Facilities Dept. as an Architectural Designer and Site Inspector.

Through eight years of experience in the field of construction. I always felt the lack of commitment to the small important details that associated with accessibility in focus and the whole notion of inclusive design in general.

So when I knew about the program of Inclusive Design in IDRC, I hoped that I could have better understanding of Inclusive Design and I would be able to apply inclusive design concepts in any upcoming future projects.  

Cathy He

Cathy come from Xi'an China and graduate from the Xi'an University of Technology in 2008 with a B.A. in economics. Co-founder of Momi Forest-the first Cat Cafe in mainland China. During that time she started a stray cat rescue plan based on new media saving over 200 cats till Jan. 2016 and the plan still running by her and her friends in China now.

Since 2014, she deeply involved with Inclusive Design community and participant several major events such as DEEP 2015 and IIDEX Canada 2015. And also a volunteer in Aha project, working with a team in collecting date in accessibility level of Toronto small business. She also a voluntary social media specialist who are helping Aha project and IDRC's social media campaign.

Cathy's interests is 'the effect of the developing of social media on the traditional media and communications.' She wants to exploring the inclusive way of communication both on the traditional media and the new media.

Aniyamuzaala James Rwampigi

Aniyamuzaala James Rwampigi is a humanitarian action professional and researcher in the field of Age, Disability rights and diversity inclusion. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics Degree from Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda, a Master of advanced studies in Humanitarian action from University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland and Human rights advocacy training from Columbia University institute of study of Human rights, New York, U.S.A. Aniyamuzaala  was a co-researcher for UNICEF research study on situation of children living with disabilities in 2014. He was also a Co-researcher for CARE International: Women, work, and war, Syrian women and the struggle to survive the five years of the conflict, March 2016. Aniyamuzaala addressed the 65th UN General Assembly high level meeting on youth in July 2011 on issues of inclusion of all categories of youth with disabilities in all decision making processes and programmes.

He is among the co-founders of the African Youth with disabilities Network (AYWDN: and African Disability Forum and a member of the Uganda National council for Disability (2012-2016). He advocated for representation of organizations of persons with disabilities not represented especially individuals with; intellectual, Albinism and psychosocial disabilities in the decision making structures of the National union of Disabled persons of Uganda (NUDIPU:  between 2012 and 2014.He drafted an NUDIPU inclusive youth policy. Aniyamuzaala facilitated the general assemblies of Uganda Albino Association (UAA) in 2013 and Mental Health Uganda (MHU) in 2014 to strengthen the voices of the most vulnerable categories of Uganda’s disability movement. 

Caitlin Jordan

Fatemeh Kafaei

Teresa Lee

Teresa is always curious about what motivates people and how she can use this understanding to help people change their behaviors to accomplish virtually anything! As a behavior analyst, she gets to experiment with this idea daily.

While completing her Honours BSc in Psychology and Human Biology at University of Toronto, she discovered her passion of working with children with developmental disabilities. After the graduation, she continued to work for various recreational, clinical and research programs for children with autism while furthering her studies in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) at Florida Institute of Technology. Teresa currently works for Toronto Autism ABA Services at Surrey Place Centre, developing and delivering short-term, ABA-based treatment to children and youth with autism and their parents.

Teresa loves meeting new people and hands-on learning experience. Her other current projects and activities include, restructuring volunteering experience at +Acumen and serving as a teaching fellow for an intro computer science course, CS50, at Harvard University.

Over the last 8 years, Teresa has met incredible people from all ages, abilities and backgrounds who have made small and big changes to build an accessible and inclusive community. However, she finds that there is still much work to be done in Toronto and around the world.

Teresa is very excited to join the Inclusive Design community because she believes in the limitless and magical possibilities when motivated people come together.

Annie Levy

M McLean

Vanshika Sarin

I am an architect by profession, graduated from Sushant School of Art and Architecture, IP University, India. My interests in design and aesthetics grew further while working as a team member for high end corporate interiors projects. This experience helped me imbibe a sense of professionalism while working with team members, understanding the client needs and achieving appropriate solutions of the complex needs.

As a part of my undergraduate curriculum, I did my research paper on City and the Third Gender- Exploring the cases of conflict, negotiation and celebration of Hijra Identity in Indian Metropolis. My scope of study focused on male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals also known as hijra in the city of Delhi. The study was primarily analytical based on documentaries and recorded opinions which helped to examine the personal and social experiences of transgender in Relation to right to the city. I carry forwarded my research for my thesis where I architecturally proposed a Centre of Third Gender Empowerment and Public Sensitization to counter the issue of transphobia in our society.

As we step into an era where the technology has taken over and our approach as architects and planners have become inclined towards sustainability. I believe that we are somewhere forgetting the true meaning of sustainability. For me, sustainability does not only mean green buildings, saving energy and cost, but also designing to ensure the space must be inclusive i.e. accessible, approachable and working irrespective of any social, physiological, physical barriers. As an architect, I thrive to design something meaningful and impactful keeping in mind the context. For me, while designing the form of the building and the functionality of the building should co -relate.

I believe this course would definitely give me the freedom to learn in depth about different aspects associated with Inclusive design and explore to achieve complete inclusion in the physical built environment. I am looking forward to express, explore and evolve through this course.

Felipe Sarmiento

Felipe has been the lead designer for global corporate events for companies like Sony, Xbox, Mitsubishi and Alibaba in Toronto, Cincinnati and Beijing. Currently, he works as a remote freelancer. Felipe enjoys working with diverse communities and NGOs to raise awareness of social injustice. As an Inclusive Designer student, he aims to bring new ideas to his corporate events and also to broaden his scope of social justice. When he is not working or studying he likes to keep updated with all soccer games, transfer rumours and history of soccer clubs. Felipe holds a BDes in Graphic Design from OCAD University.

Jen Serdetchnaia

Jen is fascinated by human motivation. She wants to understand how people think so she can design technology to help them do things on the Internet, in the Internet of Things, and with offline things. She thinks that products must inspire emotional engagement to be relevant. Jen believes that it is interdisciplinary engagement—with art, psychology, engineering, ergonomics and computer science—that creates inventive solutions.

Jen is currently a User Experience Architect at Klick Health, where her mission is to empower patients and physicians to attain the health care tools, support and information they need through accessible design.

By completing her Master of Design in Inclusive Design, Jen wants to support open expression, so anyone can create, discover and share. Through her graduate studies, Jen is planning to explore virtual reality therapy and the link between visual perception and cognitive ability.

Dana Shalab Alsham

Rylan Vroom

Yao Wang

Yao comes from China and she is an art teacher for kids in Montreal now. Since childhood she has created art, one of her dreams was to be an artist. However, she became a fashion and travel journalist for 8 years after graduated. In 2013, she moved to Canada to pursue the artist dream again and tried to be a professional artist. In recent years, she held many associated painting exhibition in Montreal from 2014 till now.

She is interested in combine oriental culture and western culture together. All her work has its roots in symbolism and she pursues the intersection-point of the different culture and art type. Her work stays within the transcendent fantasy style and plays with the negative space and details. The need to depict the art piece requires attention to all historic reference and the facts of life around her. Keep creation, imagination and practice are her key to improve herself. The medium she used often is ink, pastel and colored pencil. They allow her the precision to catch the all details in her work. She also add Chinese traditional medium into to her work and combine them with the western modern medium. Recently, Yao is an art teacher for kids from 4 years old to 14 years old, and she is very excited to join into the inclusive design community to develop her skills in art education, and she knows there is still much more work to do in this field.


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.


Doreen Balabanoff, Architecture, Environmental Colour and Light, Architectural Glass

Philippe Blanchard, Animation, Drawing & Painting, Digital Media
Annette Blum, Corporate Graphic Design, Wayfinding 

Stuart Candy (On Leave), Strategic Foresight, Experiential Futures, Design Fiction
Ian Clarke, Sustainability/Biology 
Peter Coppin, Inclusive Design, Perceptual-Cognitive Approaches to Design, Visual Art and Design
Maya Desai, Urban and Ecological Design, Health, Culture and Human-Environment Interaction, Technology in Urban Design and Planning
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/EnvironmentalBehaviour 
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 MusicalExpression, 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
Haim Bresheeth
Sambhavi Chandrashekar
Juan 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