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Histories of Disability Technologies

Welcome to the online home of Carleton University’s Disability Research Group. Founded in 2013 by three members of the Disability Studies Committee at Carleton, we are a thoroughly interdisciplinary team from a wide range of scholarly and professional backgrounds. Our group presently includes a biomedical engineer, a defence scientist, a social worker, a librarian, an independent living specialist and a handful of historians. Our mission is to investigate the ways in which disability studies, technology and history interrelate, largely through researching and designing virtual exhibits.

 

 

 

Envisioning Moves to Ottawa Public Library, Main Branch

Today we delivered and set up the Envisioning Technologies exhibit on the third floor of the Ottawa Public Library, Main Branch (120 Metcalfe Street). Thanks so much to Tony Westenbroek, Alexandra Yarrow, Dorothy Jeffreys, and others who helped make this happen. The exhibit will be up in the main branch until October 13th. Below are some images of today’s set up.

Above is an image of George Duimovich with Alexandra Yarrow and Tony Westenbroek, standing beside the panels and sitting area. The braille transcription and a brief exhibit description is located on a low table in between the chairs for casual reading.

#MuseumWeek 2017

The CUDRG participated in #MuseumWeek 2017 on twitter last week, highlighting stories from both A Wheelchair History of Disability in Canada as well as Envisioning TechnologiesScreen Shot 2017-06-28 at 12.14.13 AM

Above is one of the tweets of Dominique Marshall, in which she spotlights the story of Roland Galarneau – an entrepreneur and inventor of a machine called the “Converto-Braille” which he designed in order to facilitate the printing of inaccessible texts into braille.

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This next tweet, featured on Day 6 of #Museumweek and dedicated to the theme of “On the Road”, focuses on the development of wheelchairs for roadways and enhanced mobility.

On the Road: A New Travelling Banner Exhibit!

We’ve been busy over the last few months. With the help of ChapterOne Studios, we’ve reformatted the panel version of the Envisioning Technologies into a set of three lightweight and highly portable banners intended to go across Ontario and further afield. Its first location was the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University, which made it there just in time for Congress thanks to the support of the Director of the School, Kathryn Church.

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Above is a photograph of the newly developed banners at their new location for the next few months – the Harry Foster Boardroom of Disability Studies at Ryerson. If you’re in Toronto, feel free to stop by!

Places We’ve Been: Life Sciences Day

On May 5th, in the interim between more permanent locations, we displayed the physical version of Envisioning Technologies during Life Sciences Day. This was its first year, but we hope it will be an ever more popular and annual event. Life Sciences Day was intended to draw together a host of different scholars from across faculties and disciplines and we were happy to be part of it!

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The image above pictures Dominique Marshall, Beth A. Robertson, Adrian D.C. Chan and Sandy Barron sitting in front of three of the panels (the other three were around the corner), beside our touchable display of objects, including a talking book machine, a Perkins braillewriter, a stylus and selection of slates.

Envisioning Moves to MacOdrum Library

Yesterday, we began the move of the physical exhibit, Envisioning Technologies, from the Department of History to MacOdrum Library’s main lobby at Carleton University. As before, the exhibit panels are accessible via QR codes and braille transcriptions. Artifacts currently displayed as part of the exhibit include objects from the Canadian Science and Technology Museum (CSTM), the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), and the New Sun Joy Maclaren Adaptive Technology Centre of MacOdrum. Stay tuned for in the coming weeks, 3D prints of three objects from the CSTM will be made available for a touchable display to complete the exhibit. The exhibit will remain at the library until February 13th, and again after a short interim, from March 6th-April 30th. Below are some images from the install that show the panels and object display, as well as one more that shows Erin Secord from CSTM making 3D scans of the objects that will be printed over the next week.

Envisioning Technologies – some photographs from the October launch!

Some photos from the exhibit launch in October. What a great day!

The photograph to the left shows (from left to right) Adrian Chan, Roy Hanes, Dorothy J. Smith, Chris Stark (with Henry his guide dog), Beth A. Robertson and Dominique Marshall in front of the panel dedicated to the first talking ATM. The top photograph to the right shows (from left to right) Chan, Smith, Marshall, Robertson in front of the same panel, while the bottom photograph shows a section of the touchable display (with tape recorder and Perkins braillewriter) in front of the glass case display of objects from the CSTMC.

Envisioning Technologies Exhibit: October 14-December 15th

The exhibit Envisioning Technologies launched today (October 14th) at the Department of History of Carleton University (4th floor, Paterson Hall), following the second public Shannon Lecture, given by Dr. Melanie Panitch of Ryerson University. It will continue until December 15th – giving you lots of time still to please come and visit. It is the latest creation of Carleton University’s Disability Research Group and includes six panels, equipped with QR codes that can be scanned to access the text, as well as the virtual version of the exhibit. In the main office (400 Patterson), during working hours between 9-12am and 1-4:30pm, interested people can read the braille text of all exhibit panels (courtesy of Richard Marsolais), as well as engage with a touchable display of objects from the CNIB and the New Sun Joy MacLaren Adaptive Technology  Centre of MacOdrum Library. A glass-case display of objects from the Canadian Science and Technology Museum will also be present.  If you require additional guidance to the exhibit or have any questions, please let us know by emailing Dominique.Marshall@carleton.ca. This exhibit is also intended to travel. If you have any ideas of potential future locations, please be sure to let us know.

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The above image is a brief preview of the exhibit itself, including images of a user at the world’s first talking ATM in 1997, a red braillewriter hand-made by Roland Galarneau, a Quebec engineer who was blind, as well as CNIB teacher Elizabeth Rusk with Edna Sharpe in 1934. The introductory text reads, “Envisioning Technologies: An Exhibit on the History of Disability and Technology: Through stories of activism, ingenuity and engineering innovation, the exhibit considers how people who were blind or partially sighted reshaped broader discourses of disability, technology and access in Canada from 1860 to the present.” To access the rest of the exhibit text on this panel and others, read our recent posts, beginning with this.