Ablevision is Triangle’s national award-winning television and media program created and produced entirely by people with disabilities. They have created a video on the Accessible Icon Project, an international project trying to change the handicapped sign to one of active accessibility. Feel free to share your comments below. Also, be sure to check out many other videos made by Ablevision on Youtube. With over 100,000 Youtube views and 55 broadcast affiliates, Ablevision provides many positive stories created for and by people of ability.
I was recently asked to write a guest blog post for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, a blog based in Chicago. The blog aims to provide opportunities to provoke dialogue, build community, and provoke change. My piece on The Accessible Icon Project was just published today. Feel free to read it here.
Being a member of The Accessible Icon Project, I was asked to write a short script to describe the accessibility symbol and the basic philosophy behind the new symbol. Nathaniel Perkins and Stevie Schweighardt directed and edited this short video for a class project around my script. For those who are new to my blog, The Accessible Icon Project is trying to change the “handicapped” symbol into one of active accessibility. So far, parts of New York City, Massachusetts, North Carolina, India, and the UK have switched over to the new symbol. Enjoy!
Below I attached a great overview article of The Accessible Icon Project, the project trying to change the old “handicapped” symbol into an active and engaged icon. I have been working with the project since February 2012 and have been excited to see how the project is growing and gaining lots of media attention. Just let week, the project was featured on Good Morning America and GloboNews, the main cable news station in Brazil. The Chronicles of Higher Education also wrote an article on the project a week before. Just this week, FastCoDesign wrote a piece that is one of the best articles I have seen.
If you have any questions about the project, I would be happy to answer!
Teachertalk4all is excited to announce our first guest blogger, Nate Perkins. Please enjoy his article below.
Redesigned Accessibility Icon Takes Center Stage on New Taxis of Tomorrow
For Immediate Release: May 1st: Nate Perkins
Wenham, MA – The fight to redefine the way in which people with disabilities are seen in today’s society continues as new accessibility icon makes its way more and more into our everyday lives. With the creation of the new, more accessible Taxis of Tomorrow, the new sign will now be seen by all those waiting along the curbside looking for a ride, both those with disabilities and those without.
During this year’s 2013 New York International Auto Show, Nissan unveiled their new wheel chair accessible NV200 taxicab. The van features a rear-entry ramp and an industry-first integrated restraint system that provides safe and quick securement of wheelchairs. To top off this newly designed vehicle, the taxi features an adapted version of the new accessibility icon, showing a figure in a wheelchair flagging down a taxi, an action that has not readily been associated with a person with a disability.
“This is a huge deal for the Accessible Icon Project because this taxi represents exactly why this non-profit was created.” Says Brian Glenney, co-founder of AIP. “This symbol is just another reminder to the public that there should not be a difference in the way people with disabilities are seen compared to those without disabilities. In most cases people with disabilities are able to do the same things, if not better than, those who are not disabled. Today, we can add hailing a taxi to that list.”
Despite the progress this new van has made for the Accessible Icon Project, and people with disabilities alike, there have been some controversy surrounding the creation of this new vehicle. A court suit has been filed by the Greater New York Taxi association claiming that the new taxi “violates a little-known section of the city’s administrative code because the vehicle, a Nissan NV200, is not a hybrid” according to the New York Times. This has been leading many to doubt whether or not the taxi will actually ever meet the road. However, this does not discourage the folks at AIP.
“While there is some controversy over the ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ program, I am just happy to see our symbol on the hood of the car.” Leah Serao, staff intern for Accessible Icon Project “Hopefully this symbol becomes more common as more companies take the initiative to represent people with disabilities as such.”
Much still needs to be figured out before the taxi hits the streets but until then things continually look brighter for people with disabilities and how they are perceived by the societies they live in.
For more information please contact media contact below:
Officially called the International Symbol of Access (ISA), the “handicap” symbol is one of the most recognized symbols in the world. While its service in accommodating those with physical disabilities is without peer, I argue that changes must be made. In its current state, the ‘passive handicap’ stick-figure pictogram portrays a stagnant figure constrained to the restraints of the wheelchair, representing at best an archaic conception of people with disabilities. Just as our language and terminology has evolved in describing disabled populations, I argue that our symbols must progress as well. The Accessible Icon Project proposes an evolved international ‘active accessibility’ symbol to better represent the progressive conception of current disabled populations as active and engaged in society, moving forward in our new century. This progressive symbol stimulates others to re-imagine the active role that those with disabilities play in society.
Website: www.accessibleicon.com Twitter: @accessiconpro
Since it is not always natural for people to analyze art for truth, most people do not become uncomfortable with the current International Symbol of Access until the negative connotations associated with the image is brought to light.
When asking people to describe the old symbol, words such as helplessness, immobile, static, lifeless,“cap-in-hand” dependence, constrained, and passive were terms used to describe the image and the message they felt the symbol was sending. The current symbol seems to reinforce and deepen these less-than-ideal misconceptions and possible prejudices we as a society are trying to escape from. Describing the new image with words such as: active, abled, engaged, ready-for-action, determined and motivated, the new image can be viewed as a symbol of hope and freedom since it provides a new representation and identity of people with disabilities.
While words are an important part of change and advocacy, I argue that imagery, or an image, is an even more powerful tool of influence in today’s technological and visual culture. As society evolves, the dependence on communicating with images will progress as technology advances and cultural norms change.
Officially called the International Symbol of Access (ISA), the “handicap” symbol is one of the most recognized symbols in the world. While its service in accommodating those with physical disabilities is without peer, we argue that changes must be made. In its current state, the ‘passive handicap’ stick-figure pictogram portrays a stagnant figure constrained to the restraints of the wheelchair, representing at best an archaic conception of people with disabilities. Just as our language and terminology has evolved in describing disabled populations, we argue that our symbols must progress as well. We propose an evolved international ‘active accessibility’ symbol to better represent the progressive conception of current disabled populations as active and engaged in society, moving forward in our new century (http://www.accessibleicon.org/). This progressive symbol, we argue, stimulates others to re-imagine the active role that those with disabilities play in society. This is suggested by both quantitative and qualitative survey data collected from locations where this new symbol has replaced the old. In addition, we argue that this progressive symbol becomes a new rallying-point for the advocacy of disabled populations by those who want to express support by replacing their handicap symbols with those of active accessibility.
Dr. Glenney, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Gordon College (also a graffiti artist and activist) and myself were invited to speak at the University of Tennessee on November 29th and 30th for a Disability Issues and Advocacy Conference to promote this issue. The keynote speaker for this conference will be Sam Sullivan, the former mayor of Vancouver with paraplegia. He will be talking about his experiences with the election process, urban and citizenship issues, and disability advocacy.
To learn more about this project, please visit:
Main Website: http://www.accessibleicon.org/
You can also follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/AccessIconPro
We appreciate your support! We would love hear what you think. You may comment below or send your thoughts to [email protected] .
Malden unveils a new citywide “handicapped” accessibility parking sign.
Harvard design student Sara Hendren and reformed graffiti artist Brian Glenney painted the new symbol in the Triangle Inc. parking lot on Aug. 10. The new logo features a bright orange stick person actively bending forward on a moving wheel.
Glenney, the philosophy professor at Gordon College, has a keen interest in how symbols influence society’s perceptions, and said the idea “was to create a dynamic change from the universal straight-backed handicap symbol, something that would show wheeled individuals as active and real people, instead of passive sticks with wheels”.
Changing social perceptions is a priority for Hendren which is why she begun collaborating with Glenney on the new symbol two years ago. Both hope to change the attitudes of people viewing the ‘handicap’ logo.
“He doesn’t sit on a chair,” said Glenney. “He rides on it like a skateboard.” The motto to this logo is that “we are all people with ability.”
The mayor Mayor Gary Christenson loved the logo so much he suggested to taking the new symbol nationwide.
Congrats to both Glenny and Hendren for their new creation! I personally love the evolved logo and hope to see this project continue.