TEDTalks – Who has inspired me?

Over the last few weeks, I have been inspired by designers from across the world through viewing TEDTalk videos. There are all kinds of designers speaking openly about their work and how (if apparent) they use their disability to excel their thoughts and ideas, to help to make the design world a more accessible place.

Sinéad Burke @ TEDNYC – ‘Why should design include everyone’ (March 2017)

This is a capturing speech from Sinéad Burke. Standing at 105 1/2 cm or 3ft 5″, and living with Achondroplasia; ‘A hereditary condition in which the growth of long bones by ossification of cartilage is retarded, resulting in very short limbs and sometimes a face which is small in relation to the skull. – Achondroplasia Definition. Oxford Dictionary (2018). However, she describes herself as a ‘little person’.                                                                                                                               Sinéad Burke describes her journey through an airport and her everyday encounters and limitations she faces as a ‘little person’. Before Burke went into describing her experience through the airport I thought to myself that actually, it isn’t a suitable or accessible place for somebody who is so small. She feels this ‘inhabits her independence’ because everything had to be done for her because her surroundings weren’t accessible to her. She tells us how using a public bathroom is an “excruciating experience”, and how something as simple as ordering and collecting coffee becomes a “dangerous experience”. (Burke. S (2017)

Design greatly impacts upon people’s lives, all lives. Design is a way in which we can feel included in the world, but it is also a way in which we can uphold a person’s dignity and their human rights. Design can also inflict vulnerability on a group whose needs aren’t considered.” (Burke. S (2017)

Who are we not designing for? How can we amplify their voices and their experiences?What is the next step? Design is an enormous privilege, but it is a bigger responsibility.” (Burke. S (2017)

Elise Roy @ TEDxMidAtlantic – ‘When we design for disability, we all benefit’ (September 2015)

“I believe that losing my hearing was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received,” (Roy. E (2015)


John Hockenberry @ TED2012 – ‘We are all designers’ (March 2012)

“…exactly 36 years ago this week, that’s right, I was in a poorly designed automobile that hit a poorly designed guardrail on a poorly designed road in Pennsylvania, and plummeted down a 200-foot embankment and killed two people in the car. But ever since then, the wheelchair has been a given in my life. My life, at the mercy of good design and bad design.” (Hockenberry. J (2012)

This TEDTalk taken by John Hockenberry is a moving piece, he describes his life before and after his accident which led him to be wheelchair bound and how a small discovery from his daughters made such a big impact on his daily life, – people were able to see past Hockenberry’s disability once he has his multicoloured lights installed to the front of his wheelchair.






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