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Exploring the relationship between disability and architecture

IO: inside out

Discursive Spaces

Introduction

In line with Inside Out’s intention to provoke and encourage new and creative partnerships between the educational sector and Disability arts, ‘Discursive Spaces’ is a new initiative and joint partnership between the School of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Brighton, Arts Council South East, and Inside Out. The project aims to develop a creative and constructive engagement between deaf and disabled artists concerned with the built environment and architecture students. The students and artists will focus on a design project for artists’ studios in Brick Lane, London. As the work develops, so students will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue from a deaf and disability perspective. The intention is to provide creative ‘discursive spaces’ around architectural design, between disabled and deaf artists and students. Through debate and design development the two groups will integrate issues not just of accessibility but also of diverse sensory and physical perceptions and experiences of space. Rather than clients or just potential users, Project Manager, and BA (Hons) interior Architecture tutor, Jos Boys sees the input from the Inside Out artists, as that of creative individuals offering practical and conceptional insights into the building design process. Crucially, these collaborative stages will be captured by participants and communicated via the Inside Out website. This will be supported by other events, including an exhibition, so as involve wider audiences and to inform future work.
“I have been interested in how to make the built environment work better for everyone for a long time; but have always found it a difficult subject to teach creatively to architecture and interior design students – accessibility is so often dealt as if it were merely a dull, technical issue.”
What the Inside Out artists offer is the possibility of a more constructive and interactive dialogue.This can be as much about relations between artistic and design practices, or different personal and social interpretations of architecture as about accessibility per se. (Dis)abilities are here embedded in everything – but are not the only thing. The Discursive Spaces project is a first test run to explore and reflect on how collaborations can work.

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