A 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 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: email@example.com
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.
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.
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
“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.
UD 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.