After the SIDe Symposium
After the SIDe Symposium

After the Inclusive Shares
The SIDe Symposium

SIDe (Sustaining Inclusive Design) is a collaborative project supported by the British Council’s “Newton Fund - Research Environment Links Program”. In this project, Loughborough University (School of Design and Creative Arts) and Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (Faculty of Architecture), with five partners (Spinal Cord Paralytics Association of Turkey, Six Dots Foundation of the Blind, Cambridge EDC, FixEd, and Design Research Society) are working together to create collaborative platforms where collaborations on inclusive design research and education can be carried out sustainably. Within the scope of this research, the Sustainable Inclusive Design Virtual Symposium, in which “inclusive design education, practice and research from the perspectives of various stakeholders” were discussed, was held online between the 25-26 September 2020. 


The symposium was started with the opening speech of Prof. Dr. Cees de Bont, the Dean of the School of Design and Creative Arts, Loughborough University. The first keynote speaker of the Symposium was Prof. P. John Clarkson from the University of Cambridge. In his presentation titled “From Engineering to Inclusive Design and Back to Back - A Virtuous Cycle”, Prof. Clarkson underlined that systems engineering can be utilized in studies on inclusive design where the correct definition of needs and how to meet these needs are required to be identified. The presentation created a strong start in terms of the symposium theme.
Prof. Helle Marie Skovbjerg from Design School Kolding, discussed how to bring together the theory of play and inclusion in her presentation, titled as “Can I Join In? - Designing for an Inclusive Play Environment”. She drew attention to the three important areas in their research project, which was carried out with 900 children from different age groups, as "the development of a new theoretical approach for play", "the ways of how the marginalised child included in their research" and "the ways to evaluate the project with the child's voice".

Prof. Daniel Charny, from Kingston University London, highlighted the nuanced differences of cooperation and co-creation process in his presentation titled "Responding to real-world challenges through co-creative fixing". He shared experiences on the role of co-creation in design education and presented the Fixperts method to structure this process.

Prof. Julia Cassim (Kyoto Institute of Technology) draw attention to another important topic of the Symposium with her presentation titled “Using an inclusive co-design process to transform and evolve sheltered workshops into viable, integrated social enterprises”, and highlighted that inclusive design is also related to income inequality; and therefore, employment should be an important area to look at in this area.

Prof. Serpil Acar from Loughborough University, in her presentation titled "Safety and inclusive design for pregnant women", shared detailed and realistic simulation analyzes of a specific user group and their interaction with seatbelts, as well as presented the outcomes of her research with design proposals for possible case scenarios.

Prof. Ann Heylighen from KU Leuven, while discussing how to make design principles applicable, in her presentation titled “Inclusive design as a deliberative enterprise”, she also pointed out why we need people to see each other's perspectives, especially with empathy-based production.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Saadet Aytıs, Merve Kılıç and Hakan Kural (President of IZEV), on behalf of Istanbul Education and Solidarity Foundation for Mentally Handicapped (IZEV) gave information about creative awareness projects and educational activities carried out by IZEV, in their presentations titled "Designing the inclusive life". In addition to the inclusive design, the most important issue pointed out was the education of children, and the emphasis was made on the importance of training workshops developed especially for the acquisition of early creativity with social responsibility awareness.

The last Keynote Speaker of the 25th, Ms Valerie Fletcher from the Institute for Human Centered Design, made the closing of the first day with her presentation titled "Using the Potent Policy Platform of the WHO Contextual Definition of Disability to Affirm the Power of Design”.  Fletcher especially drew attention to the determination of constraints while defining how we move from universal design to inclusive design that is constantly improving. She also emphasised the sensitivity of the balance between traditional interview and ethnographic examination in designs that are specific for a subject and/or location.

The second day of the symposium started with the session themed "Accessibility and Inclusive Design from Local Government Perspective" and the Keynote Speaker, Atty. Turan Hançerli, Mayor of Avcılar Municipality, gave his presentation on "Avcılar, the city of wellbeing". Hançerli talked about the works of Avcılar Municipality that make differences in education, culture, arts and sports in line the principle of fair service provision for all. Hançerli expressed how Avcilar moved focus to the projects on child education and its importance for local administration.

On the other hand, Ebubekir Gündoğdu from Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Accessibility Unit of Superstructure Projects Directorate made a presentation titled “Accessible Istanbul For All” that provided information about the projects that are being developed and carried out in line with creating inclusive design solutions for Istanbul. The presentation, in which all the projects addressed from comprehensive ergonomic solutions to awareness studies were shared with their general frames, also included the information of the other projects planned to be implemented in the future.

Yaşar Adanalı, as from the Center for Spatial Justice, shared his important  perspectives on the topic as an NGO representative, in this presentation titled “Inclusive design with the spatial justice approach”. Adanalı emphasised that the spatial dimension of justice can be achieved in the circumstance when the services are delivered to the whole of the city, and reflected on the importance of coalitions to achieve this.

The symposium continued with the introduction of the SIDe Project by Selami Çifter, and then the presentations of the two NGO associate partners of the SIDe Project. In this context, Oya Sebük (President of the Foundation) and Seçil Arıkan on behalf of the Six Dots Foundation for the Blinds, and Ramazan Baş (President of the Association) and Ecesu Alyanak, on behalf of Spinal Cord Paralytics Association of Turkey presented their reflections and experiences regarding their involvement in the SIDe Project.  

The last invited speaker of the symposium was Professor Patrick Jordan from  Middlesex University, London. The title of his presentation was “Narrative Ergonomics - Products, Services and Self-Identity” and he focused the auto-ethnography approach and evaluated the importance of the narratives that we gained from using products and services in our lives.

The last session of the symposium was started with the presentation of Aylin Ayna, explaining the “MFA 300 - Social Responsibility Practices Course” (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University), and continued with the presentations of the projects designed by the students working in groups and co-designed with a design partner from our partner NGOs in the SIDe Project. During the course, 14 project groups were formed by students from different disciplines and 8 of them participated in the symposium to share their experiences and present the resulting projects. These projects (the projects can be seen from the “Gallery” section) were:

  • "Touch with Me" (museum for all)
  • "The helper" (kitchen for all)
  • "Accessible shopping" (shopping for all)
  • "Play without barriers together" (participation in public life)
  • "This side" (transport for all)
  • "Protective surface" (kitchen for all)
  • "Accessible spaces, independent lives" (independent movement)
  • "Route for all" (participation in public life)

The SIDe symposium, with intense interest and participation, reminded us once again that projects carried out with different actors providing initiatives at every scale, reveal a wider multiplier effect and the importance of collaborations in managing the process.

(SIDe Project Team)