Save the Date: UD Forum in Adelaide

twilight picture of AdelaideA one day Universal Design Forum will be held in Adelaide on 26 October 2017. A venue, program, speakers, and potential pre and post events are yet to be decided. 

It is envisaged that the day will be structured around some expert presentations, some case studies, and having time for participants to network and explore ways of getting universal design principles understood and implemented in South Australia. The Office of Hon Kelly Vincent MLC will be closely involved. The built environment will be the focus for this event.

Let me know if you would like to be a sponsor, would like to suggest a speaker, or have some ideas for a pre or post event or session – email Jane Bringolf:


UD Forum in Adelaide

twilight picture of AdelaideThe UD forum scheduled for 26 October 2017 in Adelaide is taking shape with a draft program almost ready. The Hon Kelly Vincent MLC will be one of the speakers. Norwegian architect Kaare Krokene will provide an international perspective, and Nathan Crane will moderate an architecture and design panel session. Other speakers are being lined up and there will be a small trade display. Watch this space for more info coming, but put the date in your diary! The title of the day is, Designing and Building for All: Adelaide Universal Design Forum. It will be hedd at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Sponsorships and trade display opportunities are open. We are pleased to have The City of Adelaide as a major sponsor.


Tokyo 2020 Accessibility Guidelines

Tokyo Olympic and Parlympic Games logosJapan has committed to the adoption of universal design in preparing for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.  This has been well received by the International Paralympic Committee President, Sir Philip Craven: “Universal design will promote a barrier-free attitude among the people of Japan and make for more accessibility facilities. I hope through this place we will see the marrying of Japan’s strong traditions with the innovative culture that is world renowned for in order to make for a more inclusive society.”

As part of the preparations, the Tokyo 2020 Accessibility Guide has been published and can be acquired by emailing the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.


2nd Destinations for All Summit

Front cover of the tourism guide showing a hotel swimming pool with a vacant wheelchair poolsideThe press release for the announcement of the Destinations for All Summit to be held in Brussels in Autumn 2018 states, “With the Western population aging and the benefits of including disabled people in all facets of society, the tourism, culture and transportation sectors have no choice but to fully welcome and adequately serve all citizens, and to be particularly attentive to the needs of elderly and physically disabled people. … The second edition of the Destinations for All World Summit will provide the opportunity to assess progress made since 2014 and move closer to an international standard of accessibility, information sharing, practices and services for persons with disabilities.” You can read more from the press release and the guide and recommendations produced by the World Tourism Organization.


Disability Inclusion Access Awards

Three trophy cups representing Gold, Silver and BronzeThe Association of Consultants for Access in Australia (ACAA) in partnership with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) is proud to announce the inaugural Disability Inclusion Access Awards. The aim is to recognize achievements in enabling people with disabilities to fully participate in community life through the creation of an accessible built environment. Entries close 21 June 2017. You can download a PDF of the information. Some of the information is shown below. General enquiries to email:

Award Categories & Prizes
These Awards provide three categories with the prizes being awarded to a team that includes an Architect/Designer, ACAA Access Consultant and Builder. The three categories of development include: 
1. Residential development.
2. Public domain urban outdoor space.
3. Non residential development. 

Prize money 
There are three prizes of $3,000 for each of the three categories for total prize money of $9,000. The $3,000 prizes will be awarded to each team which are to be shared equally.

In addition to the major prize winners ACAAshall award the; 
4. Associate Members Prize in recognition of their work on an Access Audit, Access Study that involved research of various forms, Action Plan or Policy development in the field of enabling inclusive access for people with disabilities, which could be employment, education, accommodation or have a community access related focus. 

Eligibility Criteria 
Eligible projects shall be projects located in NSW and completed during the calendar years between January 2012 and March 2017.

All eligible projects must include an ACAAAccredited or Associate Member within the team and demonstrate their involvement in the project. The ACAA Consultant member may reside outside the state of NSW. All ACAAentrants shall confirm they are financial paid up members of ACAA

More information about the NSW Disability Inclusion Act and strategies can be found on the FaCS website


It’s Everybody’s House

Syney Opera House taken from a ship at sunset - the House glows yellow and orange“The Sydney Opera House is the People’s House” says the CEO Louise Herron. That’s why they have a commitment to inclusion and accessibility of both the building and performances. Further building upgrades are scheduled which will include enhanced physical access for audiences and performers. “Accessible performances” as they are listed on the website, include Auslan interpreting, captioning, and audio description.

Children are also well catered for with special educational programs that allow them to appreciate some of what goes on. For example, it is great for a blind child to talk to a ballerina and touch her tutu. There are also autism-friendly performances for families. Free Sing & Play sessions are offered in the Drama Theatre Foyer either before or after specified performances. It includes a range of fun play activities. The musical themes from the performances are facilitated by a Sing & Play music therapist.

For visitors wanting to know more about the building there are regular tours. Accessible tours cater for wheelchair users, people who are blind or have low vision, and people who are deaf or hard or hearing.

Economic inclusion has also been considered. Tickets for $5 are available for some performances for people who hold a Commonwealth Health Care Card.

You can download the Theatre Access Guide for more information about how to get around the building with the minimum of fuss. And the quick reference guide to the theatres, building tours, and availability of the shuttle bus.

If you type “Access” into the search function, this will take you to the relevant tabs and menus. Much thought has gone into accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of the House. They have set a great example for other leading organisations for the arts and other cultural experiences. This is also an example of how a heritage building, designed with no thought for people with disability, can be made fit for purpose.


Home Modifications Australia National Conference 2017

Home Mods Australia conference banner with their logoThis year’s conference will focus on quality and innovation within the home modification and renovation industry. With the new aged-care reforms and the NDIS, quality and best practice are becoming increasingly important in a consumer-directed market. Service providers, researchers and consumers can hear about the latest and best examples in home modifications from around Australia. The call for abstracts has closed. There are opportunities for trade exhibitors as well. 

The conference will be held 14-15 August at ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park. More information can be found on the MOD.A website.


Want to know more about AT?

logo for AAATE conference in SheffieldUD followers may not be aware of the size and diversity of the assistive technology field, and how its aims are very similar to universal design. In Europe, universal design, which they call “design-for-all” is considered a form of assistive technology. Both AT and UD are considered enablers – things that enable people to participate in everyday life.

AT is also a rich area of research and each two years people gather from around the world to catch up on the latest. The next European Conference, hosted by AAATE (Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe) will be held in Sheffield, UK, 11-15 September 2017. The call for papers is open until 10 February.  A quick look at their topic areas shows the breadth of this field of endeavour, which does include universal design. All papers from AAATE conferences are peer reviewed and published by IOS Press.

Australia has links with AAATE through ARATA (Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association), and also Assistive Technology Australia (formerly Independent Living Centre NSW) has made significant progress in linking their database to the European database EASTIN. Eventually there will be a worldwide connection of assistive technology databases.

Editor’s note: I have attended three AAATE conferences and presented on universal design. While not an expert in AT per se, I did find the other presentations fascinating and eye-opening in terms of what is now possible with new AT inventions. It was also great to meet so many people passionate about inclusion.