Sensory Maps by Kate McLean

An image of the smell map for 'New York's Smelliest Block', Kate McLean

‘New York’s Smelliest Block’, Kate McLean

Recently on Twitter I saw links to sensory maps by Kate McLean. These put me in mind of Kevin Lynch’s work in the 1960s on the ways urbanites imagined their spaces. McLean’s work is beautiful, and draws attention to alternative ways of understanding the way spaces work. She’s also done work on tactile mapping, representing historic or natural spaces through touch.

An image of Mapping Paris by Smell

Mapping Paris by Smell


Interactive Fiction & Dyslexia

Just seen on Twitter:

Abstract: To overcome their substantial barriers to fluent reading, students with dyslexia need to be enticed to read more, and to read texts with carefully controlled lexical content. We describe and show examples from a prototype of the new R2aft story assembly engine, which generates an interactive text that has A) variable plot and B) lexical content which is individualized
by decoding pattern.


The Economist on Disability, Design, and Future Technology: You, Robot?

The Technology Quarterly of The Economist has a thought provoking article about the legal, ethical, and moral implications of the latest advances in what could be called ‘cyborg’ systems. Consider this quote by Hugh Herr:

[Herr] described disabilities as conditions that persist “because of poor technology” and made the bold claim that during the 21st century disability would be largely eliminated. What gave his words added force was that half way through his speech, after ten minutes of strolling around the stage, he unexpectedly pulled up his trouser legs to reveal his bionic legs, and then danced a little jig. In future, he suggested, people might choose to replace an arthritic, painful limb with a fully functional robotic one. “Why wouldn’t you replace it?” he asked. “We’re going to see a lot of unusual situations like that.”

In a world like that, the Humanities are only going to become more important, not less, when what it means to be human will be challenged like never before. Perhaps this is something we should be discussing at THATCamp?

Illustration from 'You, Robot?' story at the Economist, by Belle Mellor.

Illustration from ‘You, Robot?’, Technology Quarterly Q3 2012, The Economist, by Belle Mellor.


Game Accessibility Guidelines

Game Accessibility Guideline IconWe came across the ‘Game Accessibility Guidelines‘ website this afternoon. Like a good video game, it has recommendations for basic, intermediate, and advanced actions one can do to ensure the accessibility of a video game.  The site is ” a collaborative effort between a group of studios, specialists and academics, to produce a straightforward developer friendly reference for ways to avoid unncessarily excluding players, and ensure that games are just as fun for as wide a range of people as possible.”

If you’re designing a game, have you thought about accessibility? What about these guidelines? Are they feasible? What kinds of issues do they bring up? There’s a vibrant game design community here in Ottawa: are those folks thinking about accessibility?


Registration is now open

Sketch of thumbs up, called 'Awesome Doodle', by Evan Hahn

“Awesome Doodle”, cc Evan Hahn

Registration is now open. We will close registration on September 21st. Registration closes on October 20th! We ask, as you fill in the registration form, that you please indicate if you have any particular needs that we can help to accommodate. We will do our best to meet them, as we are committed to making every reasonable accommodation we can.

Please pass the word, and we hope to see you in October!

Once your registration has been accepted, we will give you author privileges on this site so that you can propose ideas to your fellow campers, comment on each others’ ideas, and generally, get the conversation going before the date. In the meantime, feel free to use the ‘All Our Ideas’ poll to brainstorm.


All Our Ideas!

In order to kick start ideas about what we might discuss, we’re using ‘All Our Ideas’ as a way to get the conversation going. Feel free to vote, or propose new ideas, below! (Thanks to THATCamp NY for the example!)


Partner Profile: The READ Initiative

READ LogoTHATCamp Accessibility is pleased to be partnered with Carleton University’s new ‘READ Initiative‘. READ stands for ‘Research, Education, Accessibility, and Design’, and is under the direction of the Dean of Engineering. From their place-holder website,

celebrate and cultivate Carleton’s expertise in the fields of disability and accessibility. The READ Initiative will build on Carleton’s strong reputation as a leader in this area and will:

  • Increase Carleton University’s profile as a leader in accessibility research and design.
  • Support increased program emphasis in all faculties in areas of disability, universal design, accessibility and inclusion.
  • Support research and projects on accessibility in all disciplines and promote connections among varying approaches with an emphasis on solutions to issues affecting persons with disabilities
  • Engage students and faculty at Carleton with people with disabilities and the broader community locally, nationally and globally, offering interactive learning opportunities for students and support and solutions to the community.

The Initiative has great potential to provide experiential learning opportunities to students, both undergraduate and graduate, giving them greater access to academic and community expertise. At the same time, individuals with disabilities and the local, national and international organizations in the disability field will benefit from the research and participation of Carleton students and faculty in the development of new frameworks and solutions to the pressing cultural and practical issues they face every day.Sailing Through Time, by David Fels; a drawing of this sculpture serves as the READ Initiative logo

We are enormously grateful for the energy, enthusiasm, and wisdom of Dean Mellway and Dale Stevenson in helping to plan and carry out THATCamp Accessibility!


Coming October 27!

Save the date: October 27th 2012, at Carleton University! We hope to explore the areas of overlap between the digital humanities, technology, and issues of accessibility (broadly construed). Please join us by filling in the registration form!

A view of Carleton University

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