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Architectural Access, Code and Care
 
The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) outlines requirements for architectural accessibility. While the adoption of this code was monumental for disability rights, serving as minimum requirements for architects who might otherwise not consider the needs of disabled people, it unfortunately frames “access” as a primarily architectural concern and inhibits experimentation or negotiation. As Marta Russell points out in her 1998 Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract, ramps—non-ambulatory access to buildings—have been privileged over other issues including socioeconomic access. Further, the code has no provisions to accommodate evolving conceptions of difference, disability, and neurodivergence shaped by the burgeoning output of disability scholars and activists of the past thirty years.
 
This two-week workshop will feature a series of duet-style evening lectures with artists, activists, code experts, and technicians whose work involves disability. Students will be encouraged to analyze terminology from each speaker/author, working toward a comparative view of each discipline’s conceptions (and assumptions) of disability. Students will leave equipped with a critical vocabulary to incorporate disability concerns into their practices, and will be exposed to leading voices in disability design and theory.
Schedule
Tuesday November 6th, 6pm – Body Extensions, Environment Hacks
(with Wendy Jacob and Sara Hendren)
Wednesday November 7th, 6pm – Accessibility and/or Preservation
(with David Gissen and Institute for Human Centered Design)
Thursday November 15th, 6pm – Disability Tech
(with Mara Mills and MIT Biomechatronics)
Friday November 16th, 5pm – Universal Design and its Discontents
(with Aimi Hamraie and David Mitchell/Sharon Snyder)
Contact Emily Watlington (emilywat@mit.edu) or Gabriel Cira (gabriel@mit.edu) if you have any questions.
Workshops are open to the public.
Courses may be taken for credit.

 

Events are open to all community members. We welcome people of every identity, ability/disability, and background, and will strive to meet all needs for full participation.