✕ Light pink text on blue background announcing the four WITH Fellowship partnerships: Sugandha Gupta WITH Pollack Textiles, Shannon Finnegan WITH SYPartners, Shaina Garfield WITH Frog Design, Tiffany Geigel WITH Gibney Dance. (Image courtesy of Christina Bull)
We are SO thrilled to announce the first cohort of the WITH Fellowship:
WITH is a program that places New York City’s creative disabled talent into the city’s top design studios for a 3-month Fellowship. The goal is to create new pathways into design for disabled people. We will be expanding to San Francisco in early 2019!
The life of a disabled person is spent cultivating an intuitive creativity that allows us to navigate a world that isn’t built for our bodies. It is a level of design thinking that has yet to be tapped in the design community, even though our ingenuity has led to the bicycle, the iPhone touchscreen and curb cuts.
There are many reasons why disabled people aren’t entering design fields. But what it mostly comes down to is narrative. If you Google the phrase ‘Design for Disability’, you’ll see it yields more than twice as many search results as ‘Disability Design’. The implication that things are designed for us, rather than with or by us keeps us from seeing our contributions as creative or valuable.
WITH will teach disabled people about the value of our creativity. WITH will allow designers to discover our ingenuity. And WITH will create a pipeline by facilitating a process of designing with rather than for disability.
There are short term and long term goals:
WITH will begin to cultivate this talent so we can begin building NYC into a hub for disability ingenuity. Imagine a fully accessible ‘sit lab’ at a local design school and innovative career opportunities through a community that fosters and attracts the most creative disabled people from around the world.
WITH will begin to carve out the pathways into design that we need to begin to live out this greater vision.
WITH is the first program of The Disabled List. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Image above courtesy of Christina Bull