ELIA Life Technology talk at the IDRC

Two hands with finger tips running along red symbols printed onto a page.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - 2:30pm

Join this presentation as part of the weekly community meetings hosted by the IDRC.

Location: Room 220, 205 Richmond St. West
Remote attendance can be accessed via this link.

ELIA Life Technology (ELT) is a public benefit corporation that develops assistive technology for people who have a visual impairment. The company’s flagship product is the ELIA Frames™ font: an intuitive tactile font for people who are previously sighted. Designed with independence in mind, the ELIA Frames™ font has been developed with funding from the National Institutes of Health. Are you interested in learning more about ELIA and talking with the team? Sign up to participate in the web workshop.

ELIA Frames™ were formally introduced to the world with a successful Kickstarter Campaign and debuted at the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. The company is a member of the NEW INC. cultural incubator, affiliated with the New Museum.

Andrew Chepaitis is the president and CEO. Byron Johnson is the Research and Operations Manager. ELT is based in Brooklyn, NY.

Website: www.theeliaidea.com

Venue & Address: 
Room 220, 205 Richmond St. W.
416-977-6000 x. 423

Inclusive Design Research Centre Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) is celebrating 25 years of advocacy, change, collaboration, community, creativity, education, exploration, inclusion, innovation, progress, sharing, and teamwork. For two and a half decades an international community of people have come together to tackle some of the hardest problems we face: creating an accessible Web and world, pushing the boundaries of inclusive practices, transforming education, disrupting existing economies, power dynamics, and biases. Over the years, there have been hundreds of projects and partners. The team has changed and the thinking has evolved, but the focus has been the same — create practices, tools and techniques for those not being heard.

On Saturday, October 13 the IDRC will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary at 49 McCaul St. The event will include presentations, performances, hands-on demos and CAKE. Be part of the future of change!

BIG IDeA partners with Entertainment District BIA to enhance accessibility for customers

Toronto Entertainment District BIA logo
BIG IDeA logo
Monday, June 18, 2018

OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Centre is pleased to announce a new partnership between BIG IDeA, OCAD University’s business accessibility innovation project, and The Toronto Entertainment District BIA. The partnership features the implementation of the BIG IDeA platform, Ontario’s first end-to-end platform on accessibility for businesses and their customers, allowing businesses to offer an inclusive customer experience. 

The BIG IDeA platform provides a space for businesses to set up a customer feedback account, learn about accessibility solutionsfrom similar businesses, getresources and training on providing an inclusive customer experience, and be promotedon Accessibility Cloud and in the BIG IDeA Showcase. Businesses can also earn badges for accessibility achievementsto display on their premises and websites. 

Everyone is included in BIG IDeA’s process for accessibility innovation. OCAD U’s Inclusive Design Research Centre leads a consortium that is developing and implementing the BIG IDeA platform. Anyone can submit an accessibility challenge and participate in inclusive design challenge events, where solutions are created by a diverse mix of customers, designers and business owners. 

As the John Street Cultural Corridor undergoes improvements, BIG IDeA will work with local businesses to help them upgrade their accessibility-readiness. BIG IDeA teams will be visiting the area in June and July, and organizing a special John Street Inclusive Design Challenge to help keep John Street accessible, both while construction is underway, and afterwards. 

Businesses and customers can register on BIG IDeA’s website to prepare for these challenges together. Visit www.bigidea.one to participate. 

About OCAD University
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) is Canada’s university of the imagination. Founded in 1876, the university is dedicated to art, design and digital media education, practice and research, and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. 

About the Toronto Entertainment District BIA
Established in 2008, in support of the businesses of this area, the Toronto Entertainment District BIA’s (http://torontoed.com/) mandate is to promote, improve and preserve this dynamic area of Toronto. Benefitting from economic, environmental and social factors driving downtown growth, the Entertainment District has established itself as a thriving and vibrant district for living, creating, working and entertainment.

About the Inclusive Design Research Centre
The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) (https://idrc.ocadu.ca/) is a research and development centre at OCAD University where an international community of open source developers, designers, researchers, advocates, and volunteers work together to ensure that emerging information technology and practices are designed inclusively.

Initiative co-led by IDRC and The New School receives $1M Google grant

Platform Co-op Funding Graphic
Platform Co-op team at work
Platform Co-op staff at work
Friday, June 1, 2018

OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Center (IDRC) and New York’s The New School's Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC) have received a Google.org grant of $1,000,000 for their joint project supporting platform co-ops.  

The grant supports the economic development of cooperatives in the digital economy. It focuses specifically on creating a critical analysis of the digital economy and designing open source tools that will support platform co-ops working in sectors such as child care, elder care, home services, and recycling​ in the United States, Brazil, Australia, Germany, and India. Platform co-ops are web and app supported organizations that are owned and democratically governed by workers and/or users. The initiative is jointly led by PCC founder Trebor Scholz at The New School with Jutta Treviranus, who leads OCAD U’s IDRC. 

The partnership is centered around developing the Platform Co-op Development Kit, a platform to help interested people start platform co-ops. The Kit will include a map of the ecosystem, a resource library about platform co-operativism, as well as tools that can ease the legal process for these startups, help democratic decision-making, and a customizable labor platform. By making these tools freely available and open source, The Platform Cooperative Consortium aims to lower the barriers to entry for co-ops.

“Platform co-ops offer a powerful way to counter economic exclusion and corrosive disparity — a global challenge the Inclusive Design Research Centre has been tackling for 25 years,” said Dr. Treviranus. “This inspired partnership between the Platform Cooperative Consortium at The New School and the IDRC at OCAD U will empower individuals and groups that are currently economically marginalized to co-design a more inclusively prosperous future.”

“This grant is a big win for the cooperative movement and for platform co-op pioneers all over the world," said Scholz. "This kit will make it easier to start and run platform co-ops. It will also provide an interactive map of the co-op ecosystem and essential community-edited resources.”

“Google.org has provided funding to develop the kit, which will combine the research of the PCC and the practical knowledge of the thriving platform co-op community with the inclusive design and development strengths of the IDRC,” explained Scholz. “But to build out this critically important and timely project into further territories and sectors, additional funding will be needed.”

The grant will also allow the PCC to engage other leading organizations committed to creating jobs with fair pay and good working conditions for diverse populations working in the digital economy. By applying the cooperative model to digital labor, the Platform Co-op Development Kit offers a compelling alternative to the otherwise extractive and on-demand digital economy.


OCAD U professor talks to CBC about AI and accessibility

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre, Jutta Treviranus, is featured on the latest edition of Spark, CBC Radio’s program on technology in our rapidly changing world. Titled “AI's problem with disability and diversity,” the episode looks at how machine learning doesn’t take into account people who don’t fit into the “norm.” Treviranus’s work focuses on creating more inclusive and accessible technology, and how we can improve artificial intelligence systems so they can better serve everyone, including people with disabilities.

You can listen to the episode on CBC Radio One on Sunday Sept. 10 at 1:05 p.m. and Wednesday Sept. 13 at 2:05 p.m., or listen online

Secretary of Cabinet visits OCAD U

Steve Orsini with Sara Diamond and Ana Jofre looking at a table
Friday, June 2, 2017

On Friday, June 2, OCAD University hosted Steve Orsini, Ontario’s Secretary of the Cabinet, Head of the Public Service and Clerk of the Executive Council.

During the visit, OCAD University senior administrators, faculty and staff heard about Mr. Orsini’s efforts to transform the Ontario Public Service (OPS), including through digital and open government.

President Sara Diamond highlighted the specialized and unique art, design and research produced by OCAD U students and faculty, and its alignment with the Government of Ontario’s priorities.

Several researchers and lab directors, including Jutta Treviranus, Dr. Nabil Harfoush, Dr. Greg Singer and Dr. Ana Jofre presented their work, demonstrating OCAD U’s leadership in creativity and innovation, with expertise in the areas of design, visual analytics, strategic foresight and innovation and inclusive design.

The tour concluded with a visit to the Imagination Catalyst, OCAD University’s business incubator.


Two seated men  point to monitor
Two men standing
Two men shaking hands

Design for the Other 90%: A Panel Discussion

Design for the Other 90%
Saturday, November 8, 2008 - 12:30am

The Professional Gallery of the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) present Design for the Other 90%: A Panel Discussion, in response to the Smithsonian’s touring exhibition of design solutions addressing the basic needs of poor and marginalized populations not traditionally serviced by professional designers, on now at the university.

The panel, which will be moderated by OCAD Curator Charles Reeve, includes:
Cynthia E. Smith, Curator of Design for the Other 90%, of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (New York, U.S.A.);
Vikram Bhatt, Professor of Architecture, McGill University School of Architecture, where he teaches courses in Housing Theory and Housing Project, and directs the M.Arch. in Minimum Cost Housing (Montreal, Canada) and
Modesta Nyirenda-Zabula, Project Manager with Godisa Technologies Trust (Gaborone, Botswana), designer/manufacturer of “SolarAid”, a solar-powered hearing aid (exhibited in Design for the Other 90%).

Design for the Other 90%, on exhibit at the OCAD Professional Gallery in Toronto until January 25, 2009, is the only Canadian stop for the touring exhibition. An extensive website, including a blog, discussion forum and additional resources is available at http://other90.cooperhewitt.org/.

Design for the Other 90%: A Panel Discussion is held in conjunction with the Universities Art Association of Canada’s annual conference, held November 6 to 8, 2008 at York University in Toronto. For complete conference details, visit www.yorku.ca/uaac.

Venue & Address: 
Auditorium 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario