Constructions Topic Theme

Kat Holmes

Kat Holmes is the Director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft, where she is recognized for her thought leadership in reexamining disability and diversity as a source of innovation. Holmes was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2017. At Microsoft, she leads a team of designers, strategists and researchers to improve the inclusivity of products such as Windows, Cortana, Xbox and Office.
Photo: Kat Holmes

The Built Environment

What would it take for our cities and towns to be inclusive of everyone’s needs? For the estimated 15 percent of the world’s population living with a disability, this is the crux: basic urban infrastructure, services and facilities are either difficult to use or out of bounds altogether. The need for sustainable solutions is ever-more critical considering that two-thirds of the world’s population are expected to reside in urban environments by 2050.

Technologies for All

More than ever, people work, play, learn, research, receive health care, transact commerce, experience community participation and conduct personal communication through technology. For the nation’s 57 million people living with disabilities, and the billion plus worldwide, access to the virtual landscape is as important as equal access to physical spaces and facilities. Cyber reach is a critical means of civic engagement and economic opportunity. Without it, persons with disabilities lack the same prerogatives that their fellow citizens are free to enjoy.

Disability Studies: Cultivating Critical Narrative Consciousnesses

Disability Studies cultivates a critical narrative consciousness to unlock understandings of disability in the context of multiple disciplines, experiences, and perspectives. This topic area will explore and investigate ideas of cultural identity, social conditions, and social justice, including historical, socio-cultural, political, and economic perspectives about impairment; politics and legislation; diversity; and education.

We are interested in a variety of presentations offering contemplation, critical reflection and analysis. See below for some questions to spur ideas.

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