Susan Douglas-Scott

Past, Present, Future: Thoughts on Disability and Things

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I’m a disabled researcher looking at how (we) disabled people use “things” in our daily lives to facilitate independent living usually designed/prescribed by others.  I am considering how we adapt and change “things” to our own ends (or perhaps create “things” ourselves).  I wonder if that can lead to less medicalised futures akin to the journey of wearing prescription spectacles.  I want to hear about what the future might look like if this journey occurs for disability equipment.  Making our lives our own.  In this journey I want to pause and consider and deepen the understanding of the importance of lived experience.  The power all too often lies with non-disabled experts, those who have studied the science of design and engineering.  This creates disadvantage which in turn can lead to prescribing equipment which are unsuitable, inappropriate, as they are designed for the average person.  Average people are usually white, heterosexual men.  I want to touch on this as part of the challenge for disabled people.  This is not a study of the engineering of design rather it’s about the issues and relationships disabled people have with the design of disability created equipment, with ‘things’, which facilitate independent living.   

Names of Supervisors:  

  • Professor Graham Pullin 
  • Teo Mladenov