TORONTO—The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will join with OCAD University president Dr. Sara Diamond to officially launch Reimagining Accessibility, an international student design challenge to replace the traditional wheelchair sign with a more encompassing and inclusive symbol (or symbols) of accessibility. The announcement will take place at OCAD U’s Inclusive Design Research Centre on Friday, September 20 at 11am.
Forty five years after the introduction of the International Symbol of Access in 1968, the contest seeks to replace or augment the familiar wheelchair sign with a symbol inventory emphasizing the multifaceted reality of disability. This competition has a practical purpose given that less than three per cent of persons with disabilities in Ontario use a wheelchair or electric scooter for mobility purposes.
Jointly supported by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and OCAD U, the contest will run from September 20 to October 25 and is open to post-secondary students. An expert jury will select three finalists whose designs will be unveiled on November 1 in the presence of Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex, who will then be undertaking a working visit in Ontario. The final designs will be presented to the International Standards Organization for consideration.
“So much has changed since 1968: TVs, phones, computers. But the wheelchair symbol has stayed the same despite our evolving attitudes and understanding of accessibility. I am proud to stand behind this important initiative. I encourage young designers to show off their designs on Twitter using the hashtag #AccessSign.”
Hon. David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor
“OCAD University champions inclusivity and accessibility as core values of our design, art, and media education. I’m delighted that we can facilitate this thought-provoking challenge through our Inclusive Design Research Centre, where an international community of open source developers, designers, researchers, advocates, and volunteers work together to ensure that emerging information technology and practices are designed inclusively.”
Dr. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD U
Who: Hon. David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor; Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U president
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