Minding the gaps: Disability culture + cultural competence in interior design

Rieger, Janice & Strickfaden, Megan (2015) Minding the gaps: Disability culture + cultural competence in interior design. In Hadjiyanni, Tasoulla (Ed.) Journal of Interior Design Symposium, Design + Culture: New Directions for Interior Design Scholarship and Pedagogy, 15-16 March 2015, Fort Worth, Texas. (Unpublished)

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Despite the increased attention to the relationship of disability and design, this area still suffers from terminological confusion, oversimplification and a positivist bias that continues to produce ableist space. Here, I am suggesting that space is not a fixed container or a pochéd plan that needs to be ‘altered’ in order to accommodate, but that space is a fundamental element of social life and that space continually reproduces the social and cultural relations of its production. This paper serves as a critical foundation for ongoing explorations into how disability culture is situated within interior design.

A shift towards disability as culture is necessary to move our understanding of how to design for those with disabilities out of the objective realm (prescriptive codes and guidelines) and into a subjective realm (the lived experience and embodied know-how of those with disabilities). By framing disability around a cultural model rather than a medical model it allows for epistemological and pedagogical shifts in our ways of knowing in interior design. In defining culture as “a way of life” it is important to look at disability as both a diverse way of living and a diverse way of knowing. Most significant, is that the everyday expertise of people with disabilities is recognized as knowledge that can inform the field of interior design. The urgency for defining disability culture is essential to our understanding of cultural competence in interior design education and practice.

The aim of this paper is to challenge our current understanding of how to design for those with disabilities and to shift our ways of knowing in interior design towards a deep understanding of the lived experience, embodied know-how and culture of those with disabilities. This paper will begin by analysing the different models of disability and how interior design education and practice has shifted to reflect these different models. Defining disability culture and all of its complexities is also an essential component of this paper. Finally, this paper will present best practices and case studies of how a cultural model of disability can shape interior environments and interior design pedagogy.

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ID Code: 91025
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 06 Dec 2015 23:46
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2015 23:46

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