[Art_beyond_sight_educators] Design Meets Disability

Lisa Yayla fnugg at online.no
Mon Dec 28 11:33:44 UTC 2009

book review of Design Meets Disability by Graham Pullin

Even the sighted often suffer from a sort of blindness. When another 
human being walks into their visual field with an "impairment," the 
immediate reaction is frequently either to stare or to look away. 
Whether witnessing genetic, geriatric or accidental injuries, healthy 
people have an aversion to being reminded just how fragile their bodies 
are. Consequently, a book called /Design Meets Disability/ 
isn't the first thing that a "fashionable" designer might pick up off 
the shelf no matter how sexy amputee/paraplegic Aimee Mullins happens to 
be, nor how gorgeous Cutler and Gross's eyewear advertisements appear 
... and that, um, short-sightedness is rather unfortunate. Although it 
was released a while ago, Pullin's book is worth a look.


Design Meets Disability

A talk with Graham Pullin

A WHEELCHAIR CAPE is a large, tent-like piece of waterproof clothing 
used by the wheelchair-bound to keep dry in the rain. A cross between a 
giant bib and a barber's smock, it's functional, but not much else. In 
some ways, says designer and researcher Graham Pullin, it further 
reinforces the disability of its wearer.

"It's certainly not streetwear," he says.

But what would happen if, say, an underground fashion company for bike 
messengers took on such a design? And what if the result not only lent 
some mainstream cool to the person using it, but sparked new ways of 
thinking about waterproof design and technology? Those unlikely 
marriages are the kind Pullin wants to inspire with his new book, 
"Design Meets Disability." Pullin, a lecturer in interactive media 
design at the University of Dundee in Scotland who trained as a medical 
engineer, makes a strong case that better design for disabled people 
could pay off in unexpected and important ways, not only for users but 
for society overall.

(Andrew Cook)
"Disability could actually be a source of incredible inspiration for 


Small towns need unique features, and this park featured a scented 
cottage garden designed for the visually impaired by a gift from a 
certain Myrtle Currie. It was an interesting request on Mrs. Currie’s 
part, one which I could appreciate and remember.

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