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28300 : Disability and Design

Description: Disability is often an afterthought, an unexpected tragedy to be mitigated, accommodated, or overcome. In cultural, political, and educational spheres, disabilities are non-normative, marginal, even invisible. This runs counter to many of our lived experiences of difference where, in fact, disabilities of all kinds are the "new normal." In this interdisciplinary course, we center both the category and experience of disability. Moreover, we consider the stakes of explicitly designing for different kinds of bodies and minds. Rather than approaching disability as a problem to be accommodated, we consider the affordances that disability offers for design. This course begins by situating us in the growing discipline of Disability Studies and the activist (and intersectional) Disability Justice movement. We then move to four two-week units in specific areas where disability meets design: architecture, infrastructure, and public space; education and the classroom; economics, employment, and public policy; and aesthetics. Traversing from architecture to art, and from education to economic policy, this course asks how we can design for access.

Instructor(s): Michele Friedner, Jennifer Iverson

Offered: Winter 2020, Winter 2022

Category: Elective