Skip to main content

Today at OCAD University, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, announced several initiatives to support youth leaders in their efforts to build a more accessible Canada. At the event, Minister Qualtrough announced that OCAD U’s Inclusive Research Design Centre (IDRC) will receive $1.7 million in funding from the Accessible Technology Program. This announcement, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, will support the Coding to Learn and Create project. Coding to Learn and Create will develop new inclusive educational coding tools that will support the participation of students with complex learning needs, and will share critically-needed teaching resources and strategies to help educators teach more inclusively. The program is led by OCAD U’s IDRC, in partnership with Bridges Canada.

As a university that values accessibility, cultural diversity and equitable global citizenship, OCAD U is proud to support the IDRC, under the direction of Dr. Jutta Treviranus. The largest centre of its kind in the world, the centre’s goal is to make sure that everyone can participate in shaping and using the systems and networks that are transforming and connecting our society.

Research Inclusive Design (INCD)
Image
l-r: Dr. Treviranus, Colin Clark, Associate Director, IDRC and Minister Qualtrough. Photo: Martin Iskander.
Keywords
Poster
Heather Robson, Acting Director, Research Services, Colin Clark, Associate Director, IDRC, Dr. Treviranus, Minister Qualtrough,
Date
Body
OCAD U researcher explores drawing as a way to process change after brain injury

Josephine Guan’s 2022 graduate thesis in the Inclusive Design program at OCAD University focuses on the use of drawing as a healing form of expression following a brain injury.  

Prompted by her own experience after a bike accident at a busy intersection in Toronto’s Chinatown neighbourhood, Guan’s research is, in part, a way to reshape her own identity after being diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome.  

“After a few years of recovery, I am in no way back to before, but I am not limited by my impairments either. Where does this leave me? How can I process what I went through to move forward?” asks Guan in the introduction of her thesis document, which can be read online.  

“Through the lens of the Inclusive Design program I came to realize that although I had impairments, much of the internal struggle I had experienced was due to society’s inability to accommodate. I had always felt like I needed to fully recover or return to my previous self in order for life to continue. Why do I have to adjust to fit my environment, instead of the other way around?” she continues.  
 
These questions are also at the centre of National AccessAbility Week, which runs in Canada from May 29 to June 4 this year. The event highlights the work of individuals like Guan, organizations and communities who are removing barriers for people with disabilities while reflecting on Canada’s ongoing efforts to become a better, more accessible and disability inclusive country. 

One in five Canadians have a disability. Brain injury is often an invisible disability in that its effects are not obviously manifested on the physical body. Injuries to the brain have the potential to affect cognition, sensory processing, communication, social behaviour, as well as overall social, mental and physical wellbeing. 

“Brain injury impacts our communication, specifically our ability to verbalize things so drawing was a good way to supplement traditional one-on-one interviews. By mailing blank postcards to participants and asking them to respond to certain prompts I got a really good understanding of how different people experience a change in their identity and relationship after brain injury,” Guan explains. Participants' drawings can be viewed on a website Guan has created.

The use of artistic methods including storytelling, dance and drawing in health as a therapeutic intervention has become increasingly popular in the past 20 years, especially where patients experience conditions that threaten or alter their lives. For Guan’s research, she asked participants to use drawing as a way to express and reflect on their experiences.  

“It is prudent that disability is not only dealt with by the individual, but by all levels of the system. This is not to discount the importance of medical research to innovate on treatments to improve quality of life for people, but our shared meaning around disability and identity need to be challenged as our society is shifting to embrace diverse human ability.” 

Guan was recognized with a 2022 OCAD University Medal in the Inclusive Design program for her research. Since completing her graduate degree Guan continues her practice as a researcher, illustrator and designer. She is currently working as a research assistant in the Department of Aging, Health, and Society at McMaster University. 

Department
Keywords
News Summary
During National AccessAbility Week we look at Josephine Guan’s thesis that applies the arts in health research.
Date
Banner Image
A photo of two hands holding an open book on a green background.
Body
Pui Yee Nikkie To
Pui Yee Nikkie To

OCAD U medal winner and Master of Inclusive Design grad, Pui Yee Nikkie To, has been awarded the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Master’s.

To was recognized for her innovative work to help the more than 74,000 children and youth with special needs in Ontario by ensuring complex sensory needs are met when designing children’s treatment centres — a first for the sector.

Mitacs, a national innovation organization that fosters growth by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions, presented the award in a virtual ceremony held today.

To, who studied at OCAD University under Associate Professor Maya Desai, was recognized for her novel design guidelines that show how sensory considerations can be incorporated within children’s treatment centre environments to promote positive experiences for those dealing with sensory processing disorder. The results of her research are filling a gap in the industry, she said.

“Most building codes deal with mobility and physical access but fail to address sensory and cognitive needs,” said To, who found that as many as 90 per cent of children with autism spectrum disorder, and five to 16 per cent of neurotypical children experience sensory processing disorder, which can negatively impact their balance, motor coordination and response to stimuli.

“My goal is to promote independence, diversity and respect within these centres by allowing children who have different sensory abilities to access spaces and information equally,” she added.

What’s unique about To’s approach — which is based on literature, as well as observation, interviews, and co-designs conducted at the Grandview Children’s Centre in Oshawa — is that it applies sensory attributes such as sight, sound, smell, position and touch.

Targeting five main categories — wayfinding and navigation, public gathering spaces and amenities, transitional spaces, treatment spaces and recreational spaces — her design recommendations include details such as well-placed multi-sensory maps to augment signage in hallways, painted floor areas or movable maps to help associate specific activities to specific spaces, and sensory walls, colours and murals to create learning opportunities outside of treatment rooms and classrooms.

“When you walk into a children’s centre and you’re trying to get from point A to point B, it’s not just about including a sign with an arrow pointing right. It’s about ensuring the information is presented through a variety of modalities,” she explained, noting that a navigational sign might provide auditory or visual feedback, or use colour or touch to help get the message across.

This past summer, To presented her Sensory Design Guidelines to Grandview Kids, their design team B+H Architects and Colliers project managers, who are responsible for planning Grandview Kids’ newest centre in Ajax, Ontario, as well as to Empowered Kids Ontario, Infrastructure Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. The guidelines will be incorporated as requirements for consideration in the new building's design. She is also working to create a simplified and more accessible version of her guidelines that can be used to inform the design of existing centres or construct future centres.

The Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Master’s is presented to a Mitacs intern who has made a significant achievement in research and development innovation during their Mitacs-funded research.

To is one of eight Mitacs award winners nationally, chosen from thousands of researchers who take part in Mitacs programs each year. The remaining seven recipients were recognized for outstanding innovation, commercialization or exceptional leadership in other areas of research.

In congratulating the winners, Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director John Hepburn said Canada benefits from innovation derived from strategic partnership between industry, government and academia, ultimately helping to retain top talent on our home turf and spurring economic recovery.

“Whether our researchers study abroad and bring their expertise back to Canada, or develop groundbreaking ideas by tapping into resources across our country, their breakthrough work is changing the way we live and work,” Hepburn said. “Mitacs is honoured to play a role in supporting this important research and helping to advance innovation for the benefit of Canadians.”  

 

 

 

Department
Keywords
News Summary
A recent Master of Inclusive Design graduate, Pui Yee Nikkie To has been awarded the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Master’s. Mitacs is a national innovation organization that fosters growth by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.
Date
Body
Co-designing inclusive systems at the IDRC.”
Co-designing inclusive systems at the IDRC.

Accessing healthcare information and services can be a challenge during the best of times.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many health units have moved to virtual care. With this transition, vulnerable individuals and communities are at risk of being excluded.

This is where OCAD U comes in.

A partnership between OCAD U’s Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC), under the direction of founder, Dr. Jutta Treviranus, Professor, Faculty of Design and the National Research Council (NRC), will address such risk.

Numerous health services are being delivered remotely during the pandemic because of constraints on travel and face-to-face contact. Many people who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 require health services.

These services include diagnostics and health advice, health monitoring and check-ups, specialist consultations, mental health services, and even tele-surgery. Given Canada’s demographic and distribution, tele-health has been a growing practice.

The IDRC and the NRC will be working collaboratively in co-designing guidelines for inclusively designed virtual health applications and user interfaces that are personalized to meet diverse needs.

“This pandemic has highlighted that our well-being is determined by how we treat everyone in our community, especially people who are most vulnerable,” said Dr. Treviranus. “It has also shown that the risks and barriers are not evenly distributed. It is critical that we shift our focus from the average experience to the experience of people who have the greatest difficulty with our current services.”

“We are very pleased that Jutta and her team at the IDRC will be collaborating with the NRC to conduct this valuable work during this critical time,” said Ana Serrano, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. “The ingenuity and creativity of OCAD University’s makers and thinkers will help us find a way through this post-COVID-19 world that makes room for everyone, including the most vulnerable.”

The IDRC strives to work with individuals who are missing or overlooked in standard design practices. This includes people living with disabilities in rural and remote areas, people who speak neither French nor English and are aging, people who have memory loss and are isolated, and many other individuals who are falling through the cracks or are stranded at the edges of our healthcare delivery systems.

“We at the NRC are pleased to be working with OCAD U’s worldwide experts in inclusivity. We anticipate that the accessibility guidelines we develop and the tests we conduct will improve the lives of all Canadians,” said Denis Laroche, Team Lead, Bio-mechatronics, Medical Devices Research Centre, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).

The IDRC brings more than a quarter century of experience in accessibility guidelines and the application of personalization to address accessibility barriers; as well as an iteratively refined practice of co-design that supports the participation and consideration of people that are most often marginalized when systems are designed. NRC brings deep expertise in virtual health. The outcomes will be openly distributed and applied to a virtual health platform NRC is developing.

Work has already begun. “We are looking at existing standards and guidance from around the globe and any research related to the topic,” said Dr. Treviranus. “We are also reaching out to communities to find co-designers with lived experience of barriers.” The project timeline extends through to July 2021.

Department
Keywords
News Summary
Accessing healthcare information and services can be a challenge during the best of times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many health units have moved to virtual care. With this transition, vulnerable individuals and communities are at risk of being excluded. This is where OCAD U comes in. A partnership between OCAD U’s Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC), under the direction of founder, Dr. Jutta Treviranus, Professor, Faculty of Design and the National Research Council (NRC), will address such risk.
Date
Body

Interested in applying for CGS-M (SSHRC, NSERC) and/or an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)? This session will provide students with further information about competitions, timelines and best practices. These are prestigious awards, and all full-time graduate students are encouraged to apply.

For further details about scholarships and funding please see our website here

This session will be held two times in October:

  • October 7, 2020 - 9:00AM to 10:30AM, Eastern (Toronto) time
  • October 9, 2020 - 1:30PM to 3:00PM, Eastern (Toronto) time

The information sessions will be held on Microsoft Teams. To sign up to participate, follow this link to the registration page, then select the date and select the time. Fill in your name and OCAD U 365 email address and submit.

Date
-
Department

Interested in applying for CGS-M (SSHRC, NSERC) and/or an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)? This session will provide students with further information about competitions, timelines and best practices. These are prestigious awards, and all full-time graduate students are encouraged to apply.

Banner Image
OCAD Momus_ECR.jpg
Event Display
Hide when event is over
Body

The 2021 Graduate class of Inclusive Design at OCAD University has worked hard this summer to create a virtual exhibition communicating their Major Research Projects (MRP). During an unsettling and unpredictable time, the class came together twice a week to explore what the gallery space is, what it has been historically, and what it entails post-pandemic. They heard from wonderful guest speakers working in a range of fields such as medical, accessibility (CNIB and Surrey Place), and curatorial. The guest talks and following discussions allowed the students to advance their own research projects, as well as collaborate and develop a virtual exhibition. Their work will be displayed in Pressbooks, a digital publishing site, beginning August 9th. Here, you will be invited to explore an array of projects, each with a unique inclusive position.

We hope you will join the Inclusive Design class for the opening of the exhibit, hosted on Zoom. Arrive online August 9th at 1pm EST to meet the designers and participate in live co-design sessions.

We strive to host an inclusive, accessible event that enables all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact erin.lee@student.ocadu.ca

Date
-
Venue & Address
Zoom
Cost
Free!
Email
erin.lee@student.ocadu.ca
Website
Type
Department
Keywords

Inclusive Spectrums: an inclusive digital exhibition featuring the major research projects from OCAD's Graduate class of Inclusive Design

Banner Image
Inclusive Spectrums: A Digital Exhibition.
Event Display
Hide when event is over
Body

During the COVID-19 crisis, or any crisis, clarity, speed and accuracy are key to effective communications. This is where OCAD U’s Dr. Kate Sellen and the Health Design Studio step in.

Dr. Sellen, Canada Research Chair in Health Design, OCAD U, and her team, are working with a group of physicians at assessment Centers and ERs in Toronto and Alberta  to create the Covid-19 printable project.

“We were working together on another project when COVID-19 started, faced with hundreds of people coming to the ER, and no appropriate handouts, we decided to start the printables project,” said Dr. Sellen. “We wanted to meet the needs of physicians and patients by collaborating on a solution that addresses access and inclusiveness for a diverse population.”

That is why Dr. Sellen and her team developed the Covid-19 printable project with self-management resources, available in more than 27 languages, which at the moment includes three patient handouts: ‘self-management of COVID-19’, ‘self-isolation’, and ‘why am I not being tested.’ Centers and clinics are now downloading and adapting these all over the world, and new languages are added daily, and more printables are in the works.

The resources are updated daily, based on public health guidelines and can be edited by staff at hospitals and clinics to adapt to their local guidelines and protocols.

Students from the Design for Health Master’s degree program have been integral to the project, as well as medical students from the University of Toronto. It’s truly an interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Health Design Studio at OCAD U, works on bringing an inclusive and interdisciplinary design approach to healthcare design challenges.

Much of the work focuses on design for safety critical and high sensitivity topics, including the dosing, ordering, tapering, and management of opiates, and communication at end of life.

Department
During the COVID-19 crisis, or any crisis, clarity, speed and accuracy are key to effective communications. This is where OCAD U’s Dr. Kate Sellen and the Health Design Studio step in. Dr. Sellen, Canada Research Chair in Health Design, OCAD U, and her team, are working with a group of physicians at assessment Centers and ERs in Toronto and Alberta  to create the Covid-19 printable project.
Date
Banner Image
Covid-19 printable project
Poster
Covid-19 printable project

OCAD U alumni, Alwar Pillai and Abid Virani, co-founders of Fable Tech Labs, were named in Forbes Magazine’s latest Top 30 under 30 list.

The annual list includes innovators from Canada and the United States featuring 600 trailblazers in 20 industries. Pillai and Virani, were named to the list in the “Social Entrepreneurs” category.

Graduates of OCAD U’s Masters of Inclusive Design program, Pillai and Virani founded Fable Tech Labs in April, 2018. As a social enterprise, the company provides flexible employment for people with disabilities while offering an essential service to companies that are required to comply with digital accessibility standards.

Inclusive Design (INCD)
Image
Abid Virani and Aliwar Pillai, co-founders, Fable Tech Labs (photo courtesy: Forbes)
Keywords
Date

connection_found is an online group exhibition organized by feelSpace featuring works by Ronnie Clarke, Taylor Jolin, Leia Kook-Chun, Madeleine Lychek and Paula Tovar, Noelle Wharton-Ayer, and Becca Wijshijer. At times humorous, and other times tender, these meditations illustrate the quirks of navigating intimacy in the digital realm as it inadvertently relates back to the body in the physical world. As the name connection_found implies, the works within this exhibition understand connection and intimacy in broad subsets: a found connection between an individual and their complicated cultural history (Wharton-Ayer), between lovers separated by an ocean (Lychek and Tovar), between strangers online (Kook-Chun), between the corporeal and the digital (Clarke), between where we are and where we’ve never been (Jolin), and with alternate versions of ourselves (Wijshijer). Together, these works trace and re-trace digital intimacy, touch, and the body as it moves and navigates towards the virtual realm.

 

More literally, connection_found also suggests the curatorial alignment of these works in a digital context which, in and of itself, requires finding connection. At the core of the exhibition, connection_found simultaneously expands, individuates, and links the collective experience of existing on the internet.

 

curated by feelSpace

feelSpace is an ad hoc interdisciplinary curatorial collective based in Tkaronto at OCAD University. The collective is interested in the implications and potential of curatorial practice within, through, and around digital spaces.

 

Image credit: Madeleine Lychek & Paula Tovar

Featuring works by: Taylor Jolin, Ronnie Clarke, Becca Wijshijer, Leia Kook-Chun, Noelle Wharton-Ayer, Madeleine Lycheck & Paula Tovar

 

Opening Reception Thursday, December 5th, 6PM-8PM

Graduate Gallery, 205 Richmond St. W. Level G

 

feelspace.cargo.site

Cost
Free
Website
feelspace.cargo.site
Date
Venue & Address
Graduate Gallery 205 Richmond St. W. Level G
Type
Department
Image
ocadu
Poster
Connection_Found: An online exhibition curated by feelSpace
Keywords

What is Digital Futures OPEN SHOW?

The Digital Futures OPEN Show is an annual exhibition where we show our best and most interesting work that’s happening RIGHT NOW. The collection of work presented is intended to represent a survey of current ideas, concepts, themes, theories, tools, techniques, and trends being explored by the Digital Futures community. Last year’s inaugural OPEN Show was a big success and we’re excited to do it again.

OPEN comes from the fact that this call is open to our whole community. The show will include works from current Digital Futures undergraduate students, graduate students AND faculty. Works include physical computing prototypes, data visualizations, digital entertainment, games, wearable technology, interactive installations and performances. For anyone who has asked the question “What IS Digital Futures anyway?” - we’re hoping this exhibition will continue to provide some answers.

What is Digital Futures?

Digital Futures is an undergraduate and graduate program at OCAD University that combines creative approaches to emerging technologies and critical thinking to prototype possible futures. Digital Futures faculty and students are world leaders in physical computing, data visualization, digital entertainment, wearable technology, smart materials, music technology and games.

When is it happening?

Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 6:00-9:00PM

Where is it happening?

An assortment of rooms on the Ground ("G" on the elevator) and 7th Floor.

This event is free and open to the public.

Cost
Free all welcome!
Date
-
Venue & Address
OCADU Graduate Gallery & Digital Futures HQ
205 Richmond St. West
Ground Floor & 7th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1V3
Type
Department
Image
ocadu
Poster
Digital Futures Open Show December 2019
Keywords

Pagination

of 0
Subscribe to Inclusive Design (INCD)