Finding ways to enhance and extend the participation of disabled people in the design process has been a central aim of the Challenge Workshops programme. The opportunity to trial a new way of doing this came on September 16 when Senior Research Fellow Julia Cassim was invited to run a one-day workshop in Seoul as part of the 2010 Korea Disability Culture and Art Festival. The aim was to introduce inclusive design thinking and show how disabled people can work actively with designers to redesign their environment.
The area chosen was Insadong whose mixture of traditional buildings, crafts and modern shopping opportunities makes it a main tourist destination in Seoul. To disabled visitors, although it is historic and picturesque it presents many challenges.
The workshop was unique in that the seven designers were outnumbered by the 21 disabled participants. After a briefing session in a nearby hotel, they all took to the blazingly hot streets armed with cameras and notebooks and a determination not only to document problem areas but to find ways of improving the unsatisfactory status quo.
Back at the hotel, they worked directly on large-scale panoramic photographs of Insadong, mapping in sketches using post-its and words to show how small and large changes could transform the Insadong visitor experience for all visitors.
At the end of the workshop the four teams presented their ideas that will be the basis of recommendations by the DPI to Seoul City Hall.