Universal Design Exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks on display December 2016 - June 2017 | Enable Ireland


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Universal Design Exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks on display December 2016 - June 2017

An exhibition of product designs created as part of The Community Design Challenge – a project by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Enable Ireland. 



How can design work for all people, regardless of disability? How do you design for all people and all needs? An exhibition on Universal Design on display at the National Museum, at Collins Barracks shows how design can be universally accessible. The designs were co-created by students and expert Assistive Technology (AT) users – people with disabilities who are highly skilled in the use of assistive technology.  

The exhibition goes on display this week in advance of Saturday 3rd December, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. On display is a range of recent student design creations, developed through a process where adults with disabilities and product design students collaborate to co-create design concepts which address daily living challenges.

“This collaboration was a great experience” said Elizabeth, one of the Expert AT Users, involved in the Community Design Challenge, “The students were very passionate about getting the product right for my needs. For me, it was really great to see students coming up with a really viable solution that would solve a lot of other people’s needs too.”

For the past three years, the Community Design Challenge has taken place at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks.  This year, the Museum invited the project partners to put the work on display in an exhibition entitled Universal Design, on display at the Museum until June 2017. 

The aim of the project was to co-create product design concepts based on AT users’ identification of the daily living challenges they experience. Through the meetings at the Museum with the expert users students worked to create design plans that address these challenges in creative, innovate and novel ways. New ideas emerged for Assistive Technology solutions ranging from letter opening devices to novel ways to improve wheelchair mobility. 

“The goal of this exhibition is to raise the profile of DIT students learning with the community through innovative co-creation,” explains Bernard Timmons, Lecturer in Universal Design at DIT, “and to promote this method of working to the designers and investors of the present and future, and ultimately refine this process to improve the potential of the best designs getting to market.”

Siobhan Long of Enable Ireland said “This exhibition highlights the importance of universal design as a means to removing social barriers for people with disabilities. Within this iconic venue, exhibiting these designs underscores the value of this work, and highlights creative ways in which challenges experienced by individuals with disabilities can be addressed through true collaboration.”

The Museum’s Director Raghnall Ó Floinn expressed how important this exhibition is, saying the “Access to the collections and exhibitions for all our audiences is integral to the Museum’s mission - this is why this project is so important and we’re proud to have this exhibition on display at the Museum - these designs and the collaborative processes by which they were produced are so relevant, inspiring and exciting.”

Notes for editors:
•    The Exhibition, Universal Design is on display in the Museum’s Four Centuries of Furniture Galleries until June 2017. Admission to the National Museum of Ireland is free. Opening times are Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 2 -2 5pm. Closed Mondays. 

•    Over the past five years more than 150 engineering and healthcare students from DIT and Trinity College Dublin, and Purdue University (Indiana, USA) have worked on creating universally accessible designs, collaborating with a panel of expert assistive technology (AT) users on design teams, supported by Enable Ireland and the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI).  

•    The official launch date for the exhibition will be Tuesday 24th January at  1.30pm. The launch will take place in the main reception of the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7. 

•    The Community Design Challenge is sponsored by Leckey, a Northern Irish company that designs and manufactures postural mobility devices. 

•    The goal of this exhibition is to raise the profile of innovative co-creation, and to promote their potential to investors and designers with a view to bringing some of the best designs to market. 

Read story on engineersjournal.ie here:  http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2017/01/04/students-expert-users-assistive-technology-design/ 

Find out more about Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology in the Workplace - A Practical Guide for Employers

Assistive Technology For People with Disabilities and Older People.