Mobilizing youth activists who learn differently through a Social Justice Repair Kit
The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) is committed to the inclusive design of emerging socio-technical systems and practices. Its grant funds the Social Justice Repair Kit project, which is helping organisations that support social justice activism for disengaged youth to inclusively design their processes, online tools, and resources, thus allowing diverse learners to participate more fully.
“Combine a passion for change and a supportive community, then a young person can leverage their unique differences to make a genuine difference in the world… and become re-enchanted with learning in the process.”
– Jutta Treviranus, Project Lead
ABOUT THE ORGANISATION
Founded in 1876, OCAD U is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The IDRC is a research and development centre at OCAD U where an international community of open source designers, researchers, developers, advocates, and volunteers work together to ensure that emerging socio-technical systems and practices are designed to address the needs of the full range of human diversity. The group promotes inclusion in a range of activities:
Inclusive design is design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference. Designing inclusively results in better experiences for everyone.
ABOUT THE OAK FUNDED PROJECT
With funding from Oak, the IDRC is helping leaders of social justice-related activities by and for youth around the globe authentically engage diverse learners. Youth-led social justice movements can be empowering experiences that build connection to community, self-confidence, and a more positive mindset within marginalized populations. However, social justice initiatives are not always designed to accommodate diverse learners, who are over-represented within marginalized populations. If these initiatives are designed inclusively, with the appropriate scaffolding and accessibility features, they can create a positive pivot point in the lives of youth with learning differences. The IDRC is not only supporting inclusive design in the online tools and software these initiatives utilize, but is also actively sharing resources, ideas and frameworks that help activists and leaders understand the needs and potential of different learners. Its toolkit will be a far-reaching, open-source combination of online resources, websites, web code, exemplars, hubs and tools that will remove barriers to participation to youth social movements for youth who learn differently.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
What have you accomplished through your Oak-funded programme that you’re most proud to share with your colleagues?
Our strength is designing for diversity in a way that benefits everyone. Our project is just getting started, but we hope to equip groups, around the globe, working for social justice, to unleash the power of diversity by welcoming and supporting youth with learning differences.
What’s the most interesting challenge your Oak-funded programme currently faces?
Our greatest challenge is to address the disillusionment and disengagement many youth with learning differences feel toward education; and to reverse the vicious cycles that often accompany youth when they are marginalized.
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Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa, India and North America, we make grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.
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