In their second term of the READi program, students work in groups on Action Team Projects (ATPs), an 8-month interdisciplinary learning experience, through a project focused on real-world accessibility issues, identified by an external READi partner. Students work closely with external partners, learning how to employ co-design rather than a traditional designer-client relationship. In their ATPs, READi students are not expected to fully solve complex accessibility issues. Instead, they help move the needle forward, narrowing the gap presented by accessibility issues, while participating in a journey of learning.

Action Teams present their work at the READi Retreat in the spring and the READi Symposium in the fall. Groups outline what they have learned about accessibility, personal revelations, issues and opportunities, as well as their ideas and concepts.

2018-2019 Cohort

Computer Wise

Team Members: Emma Farago, Hasti Khiabiani, Connor McGuirk

Summary of Project: ComputerWise is an organization that seeks to foster computer-based employment readiness and skills for adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities. The objective was to assess ComputerWise for accessibility, and identify points of strength and challenges that ComputerWise clients face. READi students conducted open-ended interviews with present and past ComputerWise clients to learn about their motivations, favourite activities, goals, and challenges. They found that clients overwhelmingly felt positive about ComputerWise and recommended future work to continue building client confidence and increase networking to build community relationships.

Ottawa Art Gallery

Team Members: Patricia Berube, Jacob Booth, Emily Harmsen, Cynthia Morawski

Summary of Project: This group of READi students worked to improve the accessibility of the OAG’s website. They also considered best practices to develop a more user friendly and accessible archive database interface. Through a literature review, as well as a review of the online presence of galleries around the world, they were able to develop recommendations to make the OAG’s physical and online space more accessible to people with a wide range of disability presentations.

Oasis Senior Support Living Program

Team Members: Katie Van Til, Caryn Vowles

Project Summary: The Oasis program is designed to support seniors living within their own homes and keeping their independence. The members of the Oasis program determine the types of activities and events held within their building. The main goal of the program is to foster connections among seniors, especially those at risk of social isolation. The focus of the Action Team Project was to evaluate the environment that the Oasis program provides and how it incorporates social engagement and individual well-being into the lives of members. Through reflective journaling and interviews, READi students were able to identify the qualities that make the Oasis environment engaging and collaborative, highlighting the importance of communication and the value of keeping people who are aging safe within their own homes.  The participants become inventors of their own accessible methods, based on necessity. The project also identified areas for further research, suggesting follow up interviews to better identify how and which interactions occur outside the comfort of the residents’ own homes and a thorough qualitative evaluation of the journals kept by the researchers.

2017-2018 Cohort

Canadian Science and Technology Museum

Team Members: Elizabeth Hoskin, Adrian Schneider, Aditi Singh, Nicola Oddy

Summary of Project: The goal of this project was to access and share insights for improving the museum’s accessibility for people with autism, aimed to determine what barriers people with autism face when accessing the museum, what accessibility features facilitate or could facilitate their access, and examine the effectiveness of exhibits. Through observation and interviews, the team provided recommendations to the museum.

Bruyere Hospital

Team Members: Nicholas Berezny, Maham Farooq, Alicia Gal, Ebic Tristary

Summary of Project: This group of READi students investigated the accessibility of Arts & Wellness activities at Saint-Vincent long-term care hospital through observation and interviews. With the help of Jesse Stewart, they brought an accessible music session to the hospital which engaged the residents with a variety of interactive instruments, including the AUMI. The project found that providing one-on-one sessions to bed-bound patients who could not access the common space improved accessibility. They also learned the importance of spreading awareness for accessible programs and technology.

For further information or questions about the READi Action Team Projects, contact create-readi@carleton.ca.