[community] Happy New Year and Thank you!

Treviranus, Jutta jtreviranus at ocadu.ca
Tue Jan 2 17:14:38 UTC 2018

Happy New Year to the Inclusive Design Community!

We have an exciting year ahead of us.

Last year put an end to the belief that things would slow down again soon and that there would come a time to catch our breath. The demands and opportunities for our community are growing exponentially. Inclusive design is now recognized as an urgent agenda.

I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to the all of you for all you contribute to this effort.

New Year is usually a time to reflect on the past year. There are too many events and occasions for gratitude to list in an email. However, on thinking back over the year, I wanted to share one insight. This community is a bold experiment in what Adrienne Clarkson called the “As If” philosophy, (in her Massey Lecture “Belonging”). We are engaging in the imaginative creation of an inclusively designed society. We have no borders, no formal membership, no delineated domain. Rather than a pre-determined end goal we have an evolving and continuously refined process. Our core is found at the intersection of difference. We thrive by keeping our survival precarious and remaining vulnerable and open. This is what keeps us inclusive.

I do want to share an incomplete sample of the things in store for us in the coming year.

The Inclusive Design Research Centre will be 25 years young this year. We plan to celebrate this at this year’s DEEP conference (https://deep.idrc.ocadu.ca).

Through many efforts we are working on a new approach to legislating accessibility, that encourages innovation and puts the focus on broad participation rather than just obligation. Much of this is confidential but very exciting. Associated with this is a standard that will wrest back sovereignty over personal data. This is far more tenuous but would be miraculous if we pulled it off. We have pulled off miracles in the past.

Together with a several efforts globally (Christine Ortiz and Station 1, Lizbeth Goodman, eCampus Ontario and others) we are moving toward launching a Lab School for Inclusive Life-long learning, to experiment in the transformation of learning. This will be a way to experiment in inclusive education outside the current academic constraints. Financial inclusion and student governance are two of the commitments. This complements our FLOE project (https://floeproject.org) which will renew efforts to support educators in adopting more inclusive education practices, and the newly launched inclusive education project we are embarking upon with CAST (https://floeproject.org/news/2017-12-11-cast-cisl.html).

We have recently teamed up with the Platform Co-op movement (https://platform.coop/), to realize the full aspirations of our Platform for Economic Inclusion. Together with Trebor Scholtz, the Platform Co-op Consortium and the New School, we will be developing a Platform Co-op Development Kit with the support of several foundations. The first implementation will be focused on care: childcare, attendant care and eldercare. “The work that makes all other work possible."

You may have heard some of the media interviews I’ve been conducting on AI data bias and people at the margins, especially people experiencing disabilities. We are partnering with a number of AI research groups to address this bias. This has implications for statistics, quantitative research and our notions of measuring impact to guide decision making. All of these fundamental practices and assumptions fail to address diversity and people who are outliers. The needed culture change is huge and the means to address the issue are still not completely clear. This will take some time and effort to address.

When we proposed the Social Justice Repair Kit to the Oak Foundation we did not anticipate just how relevant it would be (https://sojustrepairit.org). This year we are ready to greatly expand the number of youth initiatives we will be working with to ensure that social justice efforts are welcoming of youth with learning differences. If you know of youth groups focused on social justice, please send them our way.

Above all, thank you for being part of this precarious and perpetually vulnerable and thereby inclusive community. It is only with your participation in this “As If” experiment that we continue to thrive.

My heartfelt gratitude and wishes for this fledgling New Year,


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