The idea of accessibility in the built environment strongly expanded with the concept of inclusion.
The Italian Society of Ergonomics, Piemonte chapter, organized a webinar (available here), called “Ergowebinar” to allow professionals to learn more about accessibility and the role of accessibility consultants in the European context.
I had the honor to be part of a cohort of five speakers and share some of the recent research results from the project I’m leading at the University of Cambridge and have a conversation with other experts from all over Europe.
The speakers belonged to Spain (Delfín Jiménez Martín, Architect, EQAR), Austria (Monika Anna Klenovec, Architect, Access Consultant, legally certified expert), and United Kingdom
(Jane Simpson, Architect and access consultant, and me) and the webinar was moderated by an exceptional moderator from Italy: Isabella Steffan, architect and ergonomist.
During the conversation, Delfin talked about accessibility consultants in Spain and the challenges and opportunities of that role, while Monika told us about, her experience as a consultant on accessibility, sustainability, and standardization in Austria and at the international level. Jane, a bright access consultant from the UK, shared her professional experience as an access consultant and illustrated the regulations in place in the British setting.
I deep-dived into some recent research results about my studies and informed about the next steps to guarantee professionals with the right tools to create more inclusive and accessible environments.
Interestingly, accessibility is overall recognized and embraced in architectural practice, however, research highlights that the adoption of Inclusive Design is limited so far.
On the other hand, Inclusive Design, initially intended to look at functional interactions, finds nowadays a natural extension of its definition in equity and inclusion.
Finally, education and awareness are only one of the future themes to further develop to infuse an inclusive mindset among stakeholders.
There is still a lot of work to do to raise awareness about inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, but events such as the Ergowebinar are essential ways to share the latest advances to a large audience composed of technical and non-technical stakeholders.