“Handshake 52/365” by baggyjumper is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

itDf receives additional funding to develop Diversity & Inclusion and Public Engagement plans

Our project has received two new research enrichment awards from the Wellcome Trust that will allow us to further embed diversity and inclusion in our work, as well as being able to communicate it to a wider public. The new funding will mean that itDf will be more responsive to the need for disability inclusion and we will be able to showcase our research to new audiences.

Through the Diversity & Inclusion award, we will work with consultants Orla Cronin Research who will help train and mentor project staff in facilitation skills informed by a set of specific inclusion/diversity methods. This will allow us to work better with both our disabled participants and in designing our various symposia and conferences, in-person and virtual. Using these opportunities to establish new diverse relationships will enrich all aspects of our research.

Our Public Engagement award will allow us to showcase our work in three different settings.

We will design an interactive exhibit that explores the role of technology in disability futures. The exhibit is due to tour major UK science festivals between 2022- 2024 and will feature interactive robot demonstrations and a novel science fiction prototyping activity via a bespoke tablet app.

In November 2022, we will present a dedicated programme at the Leeds International Film Festival that will screen 12 films depicting disability technologies and include public discussions with represented filmmakers. The funding will allow for the hiring of a new researcher, working for the Festival, to engage with disabled audiences and improve access in specially customised venues.

Finally, the award will allow us to commission a moving-image artwork/essay-film by artist Sarah Browne. Sarah’s work will test and perform findings from the project’s different research strands, engaging especially with our work on Augmentative and Alternative Communication and companion robots. Her film will be developed through a series of workshops/creative engagements with members of the research team and communities of disabled artists and users and will screen at arts and film festivals across the UK and beyond.

In total, our new funding will allow us to engage with thousands of people, making possible multiple new conversations about disability, design, technology and their cultural meaning.

Both awards will run until the end of the project in January 2025.