Newcastle University

Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne, GB

Rethinking relationships between disability and architecture - APL Public Lecture Series

Thu, Feb 2 '17 - Thu, Feb 2 '17

APL presents Dr Jos Boys and Professor Rob Imrie. 

Rethinking relationships between disability and architecture

Thursday 2 February 2016 5.30pm


The first part of the lecture – by Professor Rob Imrie - will outline thoughts from a recently finished European Research Council project entitled Universalism, universal design, and the designed environment. It contends that architects rarely relate their design conceptions to the human body and its multiple forms of embodiment. Where the body is conceived of, it is usually in terms of a conception of the ‘normal body’, or a body characterised by geometrical proportions arranged around precise Cartesian dimensions. How should architects, and built environment professionals, respond to the dominance of bodily reductive conceptions in architecture in ways whereby the complexities of bodily interactions with (in) design are placed at the fulcrum of the design process?

The second part – by Dr Jos Boys - will explore how disability studies scholars and disabled artists are suggesting creative alternatives for thinking differently about both disabled and abled bodies; not as oppositional and fixed categories, but as dynamic and ambiguous relationships. Critiquing concepts of accessibility as a form of ‘retro-fitting’ (assumed) normal built space, Jos will suggest that design can instead start from human difference and the richness and variety offered by taking notice of bio and neuro-diversity. She will discuss examples from her recent book Doing Disability Differently: An alternative handbook on architecture, dis/ability and designing for everyday life(Routledge 2014) as a well as a forthcoming anthology Disability, Space, Architecture: A Reader.

The session will conclude with a discussion between Rob and Jos, and between both of them and the audience.

Further details can be found here:

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