Designvetenskaper | Lunds Tekniska Högskola

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Communicating Universal Design

Welcome to two open lectures on August 7, 2018!

Place: Stora hörsalen, IKDC, Sölvegatan 26, Lund
Directions to IKDC

At 13.15–14.15

Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability
Aimi Hamraie, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society and American Studies, Vanderbilt University, USA

Universal Design, a late-twentieth century movement initiated by disabled architect Ronald Mace, is usually understood in terms of flexible features, wide doorways, curb cuts, and kitchens designed with aging in mind. This talk proposes instead that Universal Design is a contemporary manifestation of ”access-knowledge,” one of the most politicized, yet subtle, epistemic and discursive shifts in twentieth-century material culture. This shift from design for the average user to knowing-making for a diverse range of users, particularly disabled people, sought to redesign not only buildings and products, but also the structures of knowledge that architects rely upon to know and anticipate the user. Drawing on materials from the archives of Universal Design’s founders, as well as materials from the material culture of Universal Design, this talk will show how this movement invites to re-examine the influence of scientific, military-industrial, and political understandings of disability on the figure of the architectural user.

At 14.30–15.30

The Precarity of Disability/Studies in Academic Life
Margaret Price, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Disability Studies Program, Ohio State University, USA

Disability studies (DS) has reached a point that Margaret Price calls a ”crisis of precarity” - a state in which neoliberal logics of wealth, privilege, and power are replicated within DS, doing material violence to some members of the discipline, while the discipline itself continues to flourish. Price outlines the ways DS has reached this crisis of precarity, and in response, offers a different way of thinking about disability, a theory of crip spacetime. To illustrate this theory, she presents findings from the ongoing Disabled Faculty Study, which includes a survey of over 200 disabled faculty members and interviews with 35. Price’s analysis of these findings illustrates ways that precarity manifests for disabled faculty, but also ways that, through collective accountability, we can push back against the neoliberal logics of the university. Through acts of micro-rebellion as well as efforts toward structural change, we can work toward greater justice, not only for disabled individuals, but also within the discipline of DS itself.


Contact information

Per-Olof Hedvall
Associate professor
+46 46 222 40 94


The lectures are arranged in collaboration with the University of Gothenburg and financed by Riksbankens jubileumsfond