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Technology for All? A story of bias in design
Jude Brereton, Alice Courvoisier and Carolyn Dougherty

  • Tuesday 13 June 2017, 2.00PM to 3.30pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
  • The Lakehouse, Ron Cooke Hub, University of York (map|getting to campus)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

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We have a tendency to take technologies and infrastructures for granted: if they are designed as they are, then presumably, this was the 'best' possible option. Or was it?

This event looks behind the scene at how 'things' are designed from the end user's point of view.

During the workshop, you’ll explore examples of how seemingly neutral technologies or infrastructures have been - consciously or not - designed to favour certain types of users and the consequences this has for society as a whole.  In groups, you’ll be invited to discuss a piece of technology, its history and its design - in particular, looking at whether the design is inclusive and if this has wider implications.

The workshop sessions are led by Jude Brereton and Alice Courvoisier of the University of York’s Department of Electronics and members of the University’s student-run society, Supporting Women in Engineering at York (SWEY).

A talk by civil engineer Carolyn Dougherty will follow this event - please book separately.

About the speakers

Dr Jude Brereton is a Lecturer in Audio and Music Technology, with the Department of Electronics, University of York. Her research centres on the use of virtual reality technology to provide interactive acoustic environments for music performance and analysis. She is Chair of the Department’s Equality and Diversity committee and Athena SWAN convenor and is working hard to increase inclusivity and diversity in Electronic Engineering education.

Jude has extensive experience in arts and music administration and is active in leading research-inspired performances, installations and other events, which combine art and science for public engagement and outreach.

Dr Alice Courvoisier teaches Mathematics in the University of York’s Department of Electronics. Working with future engineers sparked her interest in engineering ethics and in trying to understand what motivates a society’s technological choices.

Alice strongly believes in public engagement. She has talked to specialised and lay audiences on topics ranging from sea kayaking to solar physics, and has been known to tell a story or two.

Carolyn Dougherty has been a civil engineer for around 30 years and currently works for Network Rail.  She specialises in, among other things, accessibility and universal design, developing designs to increase the accessibility of public buildings and spaces in the USA and UK.  She has taught universal design and given talks on the subject to many different audiences, including her eight-minute 'How to Design a Door' talk at the science comedy Bright Club in York. Carolyn is also a PhD student with the University of York’s Department of History.

Supporting Women in Engineering at York (SWEY) is a student-run society formed across various departments of the University of York to support, encourage and inspire female students within the engineering disciplines. The group organises and promotes a wide range of events, including careers and employability skills sessions, external speakers, outreach opportunities and discussion workshops, all with the aim of contributing towards improving the gender balance within engineering.


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