South Africa has one of the most forward thinking Constitutions in the world. Few countries have been able to define and legislate for equality in such an all-encompassing way. It is a challenge for design educators who must be aware of the likely future implications for design students, and who need to question their own views and current practice.
Designing for Disability has long been a specialism for a minority group. However, international trends are redefining it as a mainstream, user-lead concept. There is great potential for South African designers to embrace the meaning of equality for disabled people within the Constitution and use it to guide design practice.
This paper will examine:
- How we in South Africa can rethink and redefine disability, taking into account international developments, the situation in South Africa and the meaning of the Constitution.
- How we understand barriers that disabled people, and people disabled by design, encounter when trying to participate as equal citizens.
- The ways in which design educators can move from teaching ‘designing for the disabled’ as a specialist topic.