Research Wednesdays: Inclusive Economies, Inclusive Cities 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Join designer Cheryl Li and software developer Alan Harnum of OCADU’s Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) to learn about the IDRC’s work, with a focus on two recent projects: the Platform Cooperative Development Kit and Co-Designing Inclusive Cities.

About the IDRC:

The IDRC 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.   The IDRC’s design research encompasses disability and accessibility, economics, social justice and other inclusion-related areas of design. 

Cheryl Li is a designer and user researcher who is passionate about using participatory and inclusive design practices to transform human needs into tangible digital experiences and services. Her practice includes the end-to-end design process, from exploratory user research all the way through to UX/UI design and user testing. 

Alan Harnum is a software developer and design researcher whose interests include accessible technology, multimodal content presentation and inclusive design practice for software development. 

For more info about the IDRC visit:


Research Wednesdays is a speaker series presented by the OCAD U Library. It's a forum for anyone (undergrad or graduate students, staff, or faculty) to present in a casual, supportive environment about research activities, collections and more. We apply a broad definition of research which includes a variety of activities within the domains of art, design, libraries and archives. This event is open to all members of the OCAD U community as well as the general public.

Interested in presenting about your own research experiences? Contact Daniel Payne at

Venue & Address: 
OCAD U Library's Learning Zone, 113 McCaul Street, Level 1. Also accessible from 122 St. Patrick Street
416-977-6000 ext. 217
Introducing the OCADU Inclusive  Design Research Centre (IDRC) with  designer Cheryl Li and software  developer Alan Harnum

CSD Office Now Located at 230 Richmond St. West 6th Floor

The Centre for Students with Disabilities Office is now located at 230 Richmond St. West 6th Floor.

Open Your Doors: A Multifaith Seminar on Developing Accessible Congregations

Our Doors Are Open logo
Saturday, September 8, 2018 - 9:30am to 4:00pm

Seminar Features:

Speakers from multiple faiths, Inclusion Training, Workshops, Exhibitors, Lunch and Refreshments, PoWR 2018 preview

Workshops and Panels:

  • Accessible Ministry Certification
  • Children with disabilities and their families
  • Accessibility Cloud
  • Accessible Places of Worship
  • Inclusion Initiatives
  • Understanding Accessibility & Inclusion
  • Building Relationships with People with Disabilities

This seminar will help all participants learn how to encourage and enable people with disabilities and their families to participate in all aspects of ministry and outreach. Faith communities are one of the most important social and religious connections in the lives of many people with disabilities. Our Doors Are Open invites you to build together communities of worship that are accessible for all.

Venue & Address: 
Sharp Centre, OCAD University 100 McCaul Street
416-977-6000 X4672
Seminar Event Details available at
Embed Video: 

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

Province launches strategy to connect people with disabilities to employers

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ontario is launching a new strategy to connect more people with disabilities to rewarding jobs and more employers to new talent to help grow their businesses.

Access Talent: Ontario's Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities will help increase employment for people with disabilities and connect businesses to talent by:

  • Supporting the development and employment goals of students and young people, including the launch of a new pilot through the Ontario Disability Support Program to provide individualized and coordinated services and supports.
  • Engaging employers as partners and champions through an online platform that will connect businesses, people with disabilities, and the public to share advice and lessons learned.
  • Streamlining employment and training services to better meet the needs of job seekers and employers through the introduction of a new Supported Employment program at Employment Ontario.
  • Establishing the government as an accessibility leader by raising awareness and changing attitudes through public education. 
  • Increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities and connecting businesses to new talent are part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

The government is partnering with OCAD University's Inclusive Design Research Centre to deliver the BIG IDeA, a collaborative pilot program that celebrates successes and promotes innovations in accessibility. As part of the program, major tech companies—including IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple—are helping to break down accessibility barriers in machine learning models.


Ontario Government Partnering with OCAD U to Improve Accessibility for Consumers

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

President Sara Diamond spoke at the 2017 BIA National Conference in Toronto on April 4 to help launch the BIG IdeA, a collaborative pilot program that celebrates successes and promotes innovations in accessibility.

The Ontario government is partnering with OCAD University's Inclusive Design Research Centre to deliver the BIG IDeA, which will help make inclusion top-of-mind for companies – and customers – so that accessibility becomes an integral part of Ontario’s culture.

Creating a culture of inclusion is central to OCAD University’s values and one that we uphold and promote on our campus and in our community.

At OCAD University, our Inclusive Design Research Centre, under the direction of Jutta Treviranus, helps to orchestrate a collaborative and connected ecosystem of businesses, consumers, designers, developers, researchers, public organizations and innovators to ensure that emerging socio-technical systems and practices are designed inclusively.

BIG IDeA Quick facts:

  • Ontario is investing $500,000 in the BIG IDeA through the EnAbling Change Program, which supports projects that promote accessibility standards in businesses and organizations.
  • The BIG IDeA is first being piloted in Toronto, and will eventually expand across the province.
  • Major tech companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple, are working within the BIG IDeA to solve accessibility barriers in machine learning models.
  • The BIG IDeA emerged as the leading initiative in an open government engagement process.
  • People with disabilities represent a market worth $25 billion in Canada.
  • With the passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Ontario became an accessibility leader, establishing standards in key areas of daily life and implementing them within clear timeframes.
  • Ontario is developing a Provincial Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities to help connect people to jobs and employers to talent.
  • Businesses and organizations in Ontario with more than one employee must comply with the Accessible Employment Standard. It requires employers to have accessible hiring practices and workplace policies that support staff with disabilities.





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ReelAbilities Film Festival screenings at OCAD University

Reel Abilities logo
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - 11:00pm to Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - 11:00pm

Tues. May 17, 7 p.m.:

The Rainbow Kid by Kire Paputts is a gritty coming of age story set in rural Ontario that follows Eugene, a teenager with Down syndrome, on the journey of his life. Followed by a panel discussion with actors and filmmakers.

​Runtime: 93 min.

Co-presenters: Down Syndrome Association of Toronto, OCAD University

Wed. May 18, 7 p.m.: 

Gabriel by Lou Howe. Rory Culkin delivers an electrifying performance as Gabriel, a vulnerable and confused teenager longing for stability and happiness amidst an ongoing struggle with mental health and recovery.

Runtime: 87 min.

Co-presenters: Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival, OCAD University

Ticket price: $12. To ensure the festival is financially accessible, community tickets for students, seniors and those on fixed incomes are $8. Tickets can be purchased in person at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King. St. W), over the phone at 416-599-8433 and online.

The auditorium is wheelchair accessible, any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will receive a free ticket for his or her support person. Service animals are welcome. All films have open captioning, panel will have ASL interpretation.

For additional information about accessibility please contact

Venue & Address: 
Auditorium 100 McCaul St.


Gordon Waller, Interstice, the Disability Gaze, acetate sheets and Mac Mini. Photo by Christina Gapic
Spirit Synnott, These Aren't Simply Portraits, projections. Photo by Christina Gapic
Elaine Stewart, Wunderkammer, sculpture. Photo by Christina Gapic
Erin Finlay Rococco Spy (left) and Gordon Peteran, Repair a Prosthetic, sculpture (right) Photo by Christina Gapic

“The whole act of art is to be more open than the rest of the world.” Judith Snow, visual artist and social innovator

It’s fitting that disrupting/Undoing, an exhibition and salon hosted by OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Institute was held at the Open Gallery — the week of art and events held April 2-5 was collaborative effort that brought together a wide variety of artists working in different genres from across the OCAD U community. 

According to David Pereyra, postdoctoral fellow at the Inclusive Design Research Centre, disrupting/Undoing was a landmark effort towards what will become a much bigger annual event, involving more partners and collaborators from the university and beyond. Pereyra helped coordinate the exhibition/salon together with Cathy Berry, OCAD U’s Accessibility Manager, graduate students from Inclusive Design and Criticism & Curatorial Practice and other volunteers.

The exhibition and salon posed a challenge to disrupt and reframe the concept of disability, with the goal to feature a diverse aesthetic experience. Works melded artistic practice with new technologies and explored the possibilities of the human condition. Towards the end of the Open Space workshop with Judith Snow and Mike Skubic, some of the artists and participants joined together for an impromptu round table discussion. There’s no better way to capture the full impact of this talk than in the artists’ own words:

“Inclusive design benefits everyone. One of our themes is that we’re all in this together — we need to change things so that we use creative tools to include everyone from the outset, not just add things later.” Jan Derbyshire.

“I like the concept of inclusive design but also open design, anyone can come in and out, it doesn’t matter what physical body they inhabit.” Elaine Stewart

 “Disability doesn’t have to be so scary, it can be engaging and thought provoking. We’re all involved in so many communities and the possibilities are like ripples, having the opportunity to engage with other artists, technology and knowledge.” Spirit Synott

“My goal was to figure out answers to questions about how to keep ourselves open and vulnerable. The theme that emerged from my workshop was forgiveness, acceptance and embracing fears that are a part of our human existence.” Sarah Crosskey

“Disability affects everything, but not everything is about disability. I don’t think there is any such thing as disability. If a car is disabled, it doesn’t function — you can’t drive it on the highway, but for a person that’s not true. No matter how odd or unusual we are, we still function as people.” Judith Snow

Learn more:
Inclusive Design Institute