Cultural background – your hidden bias

A globe atlas of the world sits on a desk and lined up in front are small dolls representing different countriesWe need to be aware of our biases if we are to become more inclusive in our thinking, designing and planning. Dr Belina Liddell argues that culture may affect the way your brain processes everything. And that is important. The term “culture” is a very complex web of dynamic systems – beliefs, language and values, and also religion, socio-economic status and gender may play a part too. Dr Liddell says, “Broadly speaking, Western-based cultures focus on an independent and unique self that values autonomy, personal achievement and an analytical style of thinking. This is known as individualism”. But non-Western cultures value collectivism. The article goes on to explain how culture makes a difference to the way we not only perceive things intellectually, but visually as well. All this is from the emerging field of cultural neuroscience.  Now we have new acronym to deal with, WEIRD – Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic. The article also discusses refugee populations. See the ABC science website for more on this interesting article. 

Resistance to accessible architecture and design

Disability and qualitative inquiry book coverDisability and Qualitative Inquiry: Methods for Rethinking an Ableist World includes a chapter using autoenthographic techniques. The authors are designers: Carla Corroto is an interior designer, and Lucinda Kaukas Havenhand an architect.They explain the method of collaborative autoethnography and how it was applied to the study of design professionals. Most of the information available to design professionals about accessibility and inclusion rests on dimensions for circulation spaces for wheelchair users. The authors’ interactions with design professional sought to include aesthetics as well as usability. As both authors live with disability, their individual narratives bring to life some of the realities of their interactions. The chapter is titled “Institutional resistance to accessible architecture and design: A collaborative autoethnography“.

The chapter can be viewed in Google Books which gives some or most of the pages. The e-book can be purchased from Google Books.