(Culturally) Inclusive Design

In this video, author and designer Kat Holmes takes us through her practice of inclusive design. I consider myself a purpose driven designer with a keen eye on what I thought was inclusive design and working towards sustainable cultural and social practices. However, Holmes shows us how design can lead to exclusion, but also remedy it.

By definition inclusive design is meant to create for disabilities, but where does that leave those who are excluded because of culture or even geographical location.

Could one say something as profound as ‘cultural disability’? Would this be ethical?

Holmes starts off by explaining the root of the word inclusive to give understanding to her argument. Therefore, in order to make sense of the question I pose, I looked at the root of the word disability. Being from a continent where the current systems have left many people behind, I see a connection between this kind of design practice and what it is I want to achieve, however perhaps it is about reframing the disability.

The use of ethical language and jargon is so important in including and excluding groups of people in discussions.

If disability is seen as a disadvantage or limiting condition, I would like to argue that within the realm of inclusive design more attention be paid to communities who have been disadvantaged by the current system and have limited access to opportunity and knowledge because of it. To this point, I agree with Holmes in her practice that designing with those who are excluded is better than designing for them.

The topic of inclusive design is something that I would like to look at in more depth and get a good grasp on throughout the duration of my design research. My current understanding of this design practice is that it is very much geared at designing spaces and technological developments, which are both relevant themes within my design research, but what if we take it back into a more analogue or indigenous space?

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