Inclusive Design student Elizabeth Morris stars in "Ultrasound"

Inclusive Design Logo
Friday, May 13, 2016 - 6:30pm

Elizabeth Morris, MDes (2016) student in the Inclusive Design program, has a starring role in Ultrasound, the debut play from Adam Pottle. The play explores the relationship between a hard-of-hearing wife and Deaf husband and their perspectives towards Deaf culture as they learn whether their child will be hearing or Deaf.

Ultrasound runs from April 28th to May 15th at Theatre Passe Muraille.

For further details, please see this review from Torontoist:

Diverse Directions: 2016 Master of Inclusive Design Exhibit

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 4:00am to Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 4:00am

About the Delta cohort, Masters of Inclusive Design, 2016: Unique in perspective and talented in a diversity of fields, together the cohort found synergies to inform their individual ideations as they embedded the three dimensions of Inclusive Design in their projects: 1. Recognize diversity; 2. Inclusive process and tools; 3. Broader beneficial impact.

Visit the Exhibit and learn how these promising inclusive designers are making the world a more diversity-friendly and inclusive place.

Opening Hours: May 12 to 15, 11:00am to 6:00pm daily

Venue & Address: 
Open Gallery, 49 McCaul St.
DIVERSE DIRECTIONS poster with event info and letter X made of triangles

Faculty recognized for excellence in teaching

Friday, May 6, 2016 - 2:00pm

At the Faculty Appreciation Event on Thursday, April 28, six faculty members were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the student learning experience at OCAD University.

The Price Award, in memory of Mamie and J.H. Price, and the Non-Tenured Teaching Award for excellence in teaching. This year’s recipients are:

  • Emma Westecott, assistant professor and director of the game:play lab
  • Suzanne Stein, associate professor and director of the Super Ordinary Lab

Non-Tenured Award:

  • Sambhavi Chandrashekar, Inclusive Design

The Faculty and Curriculum Development Centre’s Inspired Teaching Awards were given to three faculty members:

  • Teaching Assistant: Tatjana Petkovic, Graphic Design
  • Excellence in Teaching First-Year Students: Mary Porter, Faculty of Art
  • Leadership to Advance Teaching: Colleen Reid, Associate Dean, Faculty of Design

The candidates were nominated by students, colleagues and supervisors on the strength of their dedication and passion for teaching and student learning.



Inclusive Design Institute helps UBER develop accessible transport

Friday, January 8, 2016 - 8:45pm

In fall 2015, Jutta Treviranus, director of OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Institute (IDI), moderated consultations between UBER and its stakeholders to develop improved transportation services to people with disabilities. uberWAV, launched this week, provides accessible vehicles at no extra cost to UBER users.  

“Torontonians with disabilities experience many transportation service gaps,” said Treviranus. “Equitable transportation is essential to participating fully in our community.”

In addition to stakeholder meetings aimed at developing community-identified design criteria, the IDI organized a Hackathon at the IIDEX conference to address design challenges presented by UBER and hosted UBER’s general manager, Ian Black, as a speaker at the annual DEEP conference.


Inclusive Design alum wins Design Research Award

Masters of Design in Inclusive Design
Angela Bourne & Doaa Khattab (far right) - recipients of Design Research Award
Friday, October 30, 2015 - 4:00am

Doaa Khattab (MDes ’15), an alumna of the Inclusive Design graduate program at OCAD University, is a recipient of the first Design Research Award, presented in conjunction with the Interior Designers of Canada and Milliken.

This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and innovation through interior design research.

Her work on inclusive wayfinding for visually impaired shoppers in grocery stores was selected for its potential impact on the human experience, and relevance to the profession.

The award was presented at the IDC’s 43rd Annual Meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba on September 11, 2015.

Interior Designers of Canada - Design Research Award:

Inclusive Design Master's Program:

Aging 2.0 #30in30in30 | Toronto Pitch Event

Monday, September 28, 2015 - 9:30pm to Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 12:30am

#30in30in30 is an initiative supported by Aging 2.0 to encourage local communities around the world to host pitch events for new innovative products and services that stand to improve the lives of older adults. We are taking part in Aging 2.0's plan to host 30 Pitch Events in 30 cities around the world in 30 days.

5:30 – 6:00 Drinks & Networking
6:00 – 6:15 Welcome & Aging2.0 Introduction
6:15 – 6:30 Keynote Speech (Dr. Alex Mihailidis, AGE-WELL Scientific Director)
6:30 – 6:50 Round 1: Startup Pitches (3 Minutes Each)
6:50 – 7:20 Networking5:30 – 6:00 Drinks & Networking
7:20 – 7:40 Round 2: Startup Pitches (3 Minutes Each)
7:40 – 8:00 Senior Guest Designated Q&A
8:00 – 8:30 Audience Voting, Networking, Winner Announcement & Wrap Up

HOST: Mike King, Aging2.0 Toronto Ambassador

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street The Great Hall 2nd Floor

OCAD University grads honoured with Governor General's Academic Medals

Dermot Patrick O'Brien receiving his Silver Medal from President Diamond
Doaa Khattab addressing her fellow graduates at convocation
Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 9:15pm

OCAD University’s recent convocation ceremonies included the presentation of Governor General’s Academic Medals to two Class of 2015 students. The awards are given annually to the undergraduate and graduate students who achieved the highest academic standing.

The silver medal went to Drawing & Painting student Dermot Patrick O’Brien, who maintained a thriving career in the advertising industry while studying. In the words of Natalie Waldburger, the Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Painting and Print Media, “the insights, experience and self-reflection that Dermot brings to his work and his writing are a model for artistic practice.”

Doaa Khattab – a graduate of the Inclusive Design master’s program – received the Governor General’s Gold Medal. For her research project she designed an inclusive and innovative wayfinding system in grocery stores for visually impaired shoppers. “The Inclusive Design program urged us to think differently,” Doaa says, “so that we would understand users’ needs in order to proceed with the holistic thinking, ideating and creating process.”

OCAD University students win first place at provincial competition

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 4:30pm

Two OCAD University students have been honoured at CONNECT: EnAbling Change -- a province-wide post-secondary design competition.

  • Third-year Environmental Design student Xiaoyu Xu (Sherry Xu) won first place in the Architecture category.
  • Rickee Charbonneau, a student in the Master's of Inclusive Design program, won first place in the Industrial Design category.

CONNECT projects explore design that is accessible to the greatest number of people regardless of age or ability across all design disciplines.  

Open to all Ontario post-secondary design students, the competition called for “project ideas that remove barriers for people with disabilities and promote greater inclusion”.

The winners’ work will be on exhibit Friday, May 8, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., Toronto.



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


Inclusive developers collaborating while writing code in the IDRC. Image courtesy Government of Ontario.
Inclusive designers in the IDRC collaborate on a shared computer. Image courtesy Government of Ontario.

Were you aware that many of the innovations we take for granted today were motivated by a desire to design for someone with a disability? These innovations include email, the telephone, scanners and the smarts that know you meant to chose an “s” rather than a “d” on your smartphone.

This United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), consider designing for the full range of human diversity.

We are sparked to greater innovation when we consider more than the typical or average user. When we design for the full diversity of users, our designs are bound to benefit everyone. We are also tapping into the growing demand globally for inclusively designed products, a demand that is bolstered by an aging population. 

By the time you reach 75 years of age you have a 64 per cent chance of experiencing a permanent disability. Even if you are in the minority, without a disability, most of your family, friends and colleagues will experience a disability. This is not even counting situational disabilities such as when your hands are busy, your eyes are focused on something else, or you are in a very noisy environment.

A future-proof industry

This growing trend also means that if you want to join a new future-proof industry, you may wish to consider inclusive design. Not only is this new emerging industry highly likely to continue expanding but also, unlike many other industries, it is without negative social or environmental impacts. Inclusive design is a catalyst in the move away from mass production to more personalized design and production. It is part of a virtuous cycle that leads to greater economic inclusion. This means a happier, healthier and wealthier society overall.

Learn more

The OCAD U community is a great place to get involved in inclusive design. Among the university’s resources are the Inclusive Design Research Centre, a world leader in the topic, the Inclusive Design Institute, a regional research hub, and a MDes program in Inclusive Design.

Story by Jutta Treviranus, Director, Inclusive Design Research Centre and Graduate Program Director, Inclusive Design